Four Physician Leaders: Article 22 Will Protect Individual Health Care Decisions

This commentary was authored by Dr. Simha Raven, President of the Vermont Medical Society; Dr. Rebecca Bell, president of the Vermont branch of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Dr. Katie Marvin, president of the Vermont Academy of Family Physicians; and Dr. Lisa Catapano-Friedman, president of the Vermont Psychiatric Association.

Let Vermonters continue to make their own health care decisions – vote yes on Article 22.

As a result of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, more and more people across the country are facing a sudden loss of the basic right of bodily autonomy and the freedom to make their own health care decisions.

In contrast, Vermonters have the opportunity to write their right to personal reproductive freedom into the Vermont state constitution by voting to enact Article 22 on our November ballot. By voting yes, we are not changing current medical standards, but rather protecting the fundamental right of all Vermonters to make their own health care decisions without government interference.

For more than 45 years, Vermonters have had the personal autonomy to make family planning decisions about abortion along with other decisions about pregnancy, infertility treatment, contraception, sterilization and the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. This must continue.

Members of the Vermont Medical Society, Vermont’s largest membership organization of physicians and the leading voice of physicians and physician assistants in the state, urge you to support the passage of Article 22. This proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution will protect the legal right of every Vermont resident to the full range of evidence-based reproductive health care according to their needs and goals.

Termination of any pregnancy is a personal decision that must be made between the individual and their healthcare professional. If passed, this proposed constitutional amendment would protect the privacy of the relationship between a patient and their health care professional and preserve reproductive health decisions as private discussions between patients and health care professionals.

Opponents of the Reproductive Freedom Amendment have spread misinformation suggesting that reproductive health care in Vermont will change as a result of passage of Article 22. Rest assured: it will not.

Instead, Article 22 protects the patient-physician relationship from future changes at political whim or pressure.

Colleague Dr. Lauren McAfee, a Vermont obstetrician and gynecologist with over 10 years of training and clinical practice in contraception, miscarriage and abortion management, responds to these statements:

“The term ‘abortion until birth’ is a political term, not a medical term. There is no such thing as abortion before birth, and it is irresponsible to suggest otherwise. These words have been used as a weapon by anti-abortion activists to spread misinformation and control people’s bodies. Health care providers practice medicine under the guidance of both ethical principles and practice regulations at the individual, clinical, hospital, state, and federal levels. There are currently no state restrictions on the practice of abortion in Vermont and, simply put, the reproductive freedom amendment will not change the way medicine is practiced in Vermont.

Every person should have the right to control their own health care decisions, including the right to abortion care. As physicians and assistants, we strongly believe that abortion services should be treated like any other health care service. We stand with our colleagues and our patients in asking Vermonters to pass the Reproductive Freedom Amendment.

The Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Vermont Psychiatric Association support passage of Article 22 so that Vermonters can continue to make their own health care decisions .

As more and more states block people’s rights to health care, and in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, we urge Vermonters to vote in November in support of Article 22, the Reproductive Freedom Amendment, which would amend the Vermont state constitution. to ensure that every Vermont resident’s right to personal reproductive freedom is protected in the future.

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Tags: health care solutions , Katie Marvin , Lisa Catapano-Friedman , Prop 5/Article 22 , Rebecca Bell , Simha Raven , Vermont Medical Society


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