Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed an extreme pro-abortion bill into law on Monday, permitting abortions to be performed up until the moment of birth in the state for any reason whatsoever.
The legislation, H.57, includes zero abortion restrictions. The unborn, who have detectable beating hearts at around six-weeks gestation and can feel pain as early as 20 weeks, can be legally killed at any time during a woman’s pregnancy for any reason at all. Notably, young girls of any age will not be required to seek parental consent before having an abortion.
"Like many Vermonters, I have consistently supported a woman’s right to choose," Scott said in a statement, reported by The Hill. “This legislation affirms what is already allowable in Vermont – protecting reproductive rights and ensuring those decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider.”
Gov. Scott added that he “appreciate[s] the respectful tone and civility from all sides throughout this discussion."
“This bill proposes to recognize as a fundamental right the freedom of reproductive choice and to prohibit public entities from interfering with or restricting the right of an individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy,” H.57 reads.
“A public entity … shall not, in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information, deny or interfere with an individual’s fundamental rights to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization or to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to obtain an abortion,” the bill continues. “No State or local law enforcement shall prosecute any individual for inducing, performing, or attempting to induce or perform the individual’s own abortion.”
The new law is similar to that of New York’s euphemistically-named Reproductive Health Act, which allows abortion until the moment of birth for essentially any reason, loosens restrictions on those who can perform abortions, and strips the unborn of any protections under the state’s penal code. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, celebrated the bill signing, as did New York Democrat lawmakers.
The move from Scott, who is notably serving in a liberal state, is out of step with other Republican governors. In May, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, signed the nation’s strictest abortion bill into law, outlawing all abortion, save an exception for the life of the mother. In a handful of other states with Republican governors, such as Ohio and Georgia, “heartbeat” bills have been signed into law, protecting the unborn with detectable heartbeats (around six-weeks gestation) from the fatal procedure.
The sweeping pro-life legislation made its way to Louisiana, when Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed a heartbeat bill into law.
According to Fox News, Edwards said his faith directs him in supporting life, but the position also holds “personal significance”: “Nearly three decades ago, he and his wife decided to have his daughter, diagnosed as a baby with spina bifida, against the doctor's advice to abort,” the outlet reported.