A Vermont House committee approved a radical pro-abortion bill Thursday to keep abortions legal and unrestricted up to birth in the state.
The 8-3 vote by the state House Committee on Human Services came just a day after hundreds of people crowded into a hearing to testify about the bill, the VT Digger reports. It now moves to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.
State House Bill 57 is similar to a law that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in January. It would recognize abortion as a “fundamental human right” and ensure that the government does not deny, restrict or infringe upon a woman’s “right” to abort her unborn baby.
Vermont already is one of the few states that allows unrestricted abortions up to birth. The bill would codify this into state law.
“The significant change in passing this legislation will not be in what is legal in Vermont,” said Mary Hahn Beerworth, executive director of the Vermont Right to Life Committee. “The change is that the Vermont Legislature will move from passive acceptance of unrestricted abortion to intentional enactment.”
On Thursday, lawmakers made two minor amendments to the bill before moving it forward.
According to the local news:
Rep. Theresa Wood, D-Waterbury, asked that the committee remove a sentence that declared “a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.”
The measure passed by a vote of 6-5 to remove the statement after a debate about how far the bill should go in codifying the definition of personhood under Vermont law. …
A proposal by Rep. Jessica Brumsted, D-Shelburne to clarify that the bill would not circumvent a 2003 congressional act that outlawed the “partial birth abortion” procedure—a form of late term pregnancy abortion—passed unanimously.
Even with these changes, the bill still would go beyond Roe v. Wade in allowing unrestricted abortion on demand in Vermont. It would block lawmakers from enacting even common-sense abortion regulations, such as abortion clinic inspections, limits on taxpayer-funded abortions and parental involvement for girls under 18, according to Vermont RTL.
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Earlier this week, Vermont GOP Chairwoman Deb Billado urged voters to speak out against the pro-abortion push, calling it a “watershed moment” for the state.
“The bill implies that at eight months and 30 days, you can abort a baby,” Billado said. “I find this to be a horrific thing.”
The news outlet Seven Days reports some lawmakers did withdraw their sponsorship of the bill after receiving a huge amount of calls and emails from pro-lifers. The report noted, “According to House Clerk Bill MaGill, some Republican representatives who had signed on as cosponsors had subsequently asked for their names to be removed.” It did not include any of the lawmakers’ names.
The Rutland Herald described the hearing Wednesday:
Shoulder to shoulder, Vermonters sporting buttons that said “Life is Precious” and “All Lives Matter” waited patiently in line beside those in pink pussy hats wearing shirts that said “Pro-Choice and Proud” and “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”
… Chloe White, of the ACLU, spoke in support of the bill, saying that any woman had the right to choose to end her pregnancy, regardless of the opinions of others.
“It’s callous and absurd to think that a person … would choose to pay over $25,000 to have an abortion and that any doctor would perform it,” she said.
But some do. There are a few late-term abortionists practicing in America, and the Vermont bill could welcome others to the state.
Pro-life residents spoke out strongly for unborn babies rights Wednesday at the state capital, including mothers who were carrying their infants.
Here’s more from the Digger:
Dorothy Bolduc of St. Albans argued that “the time for choices is before pregnancy,” and she objected to H.57’s provision denying legal rights to fetuses.
“It is hateful and ridiculous to say they have no rights,” Bolduc said. “Vermont regulates everything. Why do you want an unregulated abortion industry?”
Timothy Counts of Arlington asked whether a lack of rights for the unborn meant “that he or she is property, having body parts that could be sold for use in scientific experimentation?”
Polls indicate the legislation is radically out of touch with most Americans’ views on abortion. According to a national poll by Marist University, three in four Americans (75 percent) say abortion should be limited to – at most – the first three months of pregnancy. This includes most Republicans (92 percent), Independents (78 percent) and a majority of Democrats (60 percent). It also includes more than six in 10 (61 percent) who identify as “pro-choice” on abortion.
A May 2018 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans oppose all or most abortions.
ACTION: Contact the Vermont legislature here with your opposition.