Legislators in the Vermont House are expected to approve an abortion bill that is so insane it allows abortion at any time, with no qualifications at all.
The bill, H.57, states, “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. … Every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization. Every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, give birth to a child, or to have an abortion. A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.”
Although GOP legislators have offered amendments to the bill that would modify it, Democrats and so-called progressive legislators have rejected them; by Wednesday afternoon, 10 amendments had been voted out of committees unfavorably, as VTDigger reports.
Two amendments that were suggested included a proviso that would permit women to seek abortions until 24 weeks into pregnancy and another which stipulated minors should obtain parental consent before receiving abortions. Both were voted down. Both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Human Services are chaired by lead sponsors of H.57. Rep. Vicki Strong, R-Irasburg, introduced two other amendments, one stipulating that women get an ultrasound 24 hours before undergoing the procedure and a second that would require abortion facilities to be inspected by the state. Both were voted down.
The amendment limiting abortions to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy would have criminalized abortions after that period; Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, stated, “It’s really criminalizing medical practice. The whole thing is called into constitutional question.”
Republican Rep. Carl Rosenquist, whose amendment would have recognized a viable fetus as a person, said, “Currently the most underrepresented person in the world, here in Vermont anyway, is a fetus that has not yet been born. It feels pain. It feels love. We don’t regard it as anything until it is born.”
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, stated, “We want to make sure that future women in Vermont have the same options and protections that women have had for the last 46 years here. “
Brynn Hare, the legislative counsel working on H.57, stated in a memo, “In Vermont, there is an unrestricted legal right to get an abortion regardless of age or marital status. There is no requirement that a person notify or get permission from a parent, guardian, or spouse prior to getting an abortion.”
Christopher Coyne, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, commented: “We’re talking about a law that would allow a child to be aborted right up to the moment of birth. It’s taking us to a place where we’re literally killing babies.”
New York’s abortion law states that abortion is permitted after 24 weeks of pregnancy only if “there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” Vermont’s law has no similar statement.