Letters to the Editor

A lie arrived in the mail today

Aug 30 2022, 7:10 AM

At a time when the delivery of first-class mail has become very unreliable, a large, multicolored postcard arrived in my mailbox at home, purporting to be from someone calling itself "Vermonters for Good Government." 

The elaborately-illustrated postcard, with huge capital letters and unreliable punctuation, claims that Article 22 — which will establish the right to reproductive freedom in the Vermont Constitution — "is intended to put late-term abortion of fully-developed babies into the Vermont Constitution."

Punctuation and inconsistent capitalization aside, whoever wrote that postcard is spreading a lie through our community. You might even call it a "bald-faced lie."

Anyone who is actually familiar with reproductive medicine knows that abortion in the third trimester is extremely rare and occurs under desperate conditions. It is also not practiced in Vermont. For many years, pregnant people in this terrible situation (usually where continuing the pregnancy is expected to kill the mother or the fetus or both) have needed to travel to one of a very few clinics in far-flung parts of the United States where there is a physician adequately trained and experienced in providing this care. 

Dr. George Tiller, murdered by an anti-abortion gunman some years back, was one of those few. (In fact, only about 10 percent of all abortions in the United States occur later than 12 or 13 weeks gestation, and the percentage occurring at or after 24 weeks is minuscule.)

Contrary to the lie promoted by the mail that actually got delivered, the "intention" of Article 22 is to assure that in Vermont, the decision whether to continue a pregnancy remains between the pregnant person and their health care provider and that no politician can join them in the consultation room.

Maybe someone can tell me who these "Vermonters for Good Government" are, who are evidently well-funded enough by someone to stuff our mailboxes with lies, yet who are woefully ignorant of basic facts of obstetrics, gynecology and law-making. (Except maybe they aren't ignorant, maybe they are just lying and preying on citizens whose expertise lies in other areas.) Most of all, I would like to know whose are the deep pockets funding this "organization" — the postcard said a lot of things, but it didn't say that.

Victoria Rhodin

Montpelier