A Vermont bill would allow dangerous back alley abortionists like Kermit Gosnell to operate without consequences, pro-life advocates warned this week.
State House Bill 57, which passed a committee last week, is similar to a law that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in January. It would recognize abortion as a “fundamental human right” in Vermont and ensure that the state does not “deny, restrict or infringe” upon a woman’s “right” to abort her unborn baby.
Fox News reports a companion piece to the bill would prohibit health care workers who perform legal abortions from being “subject to any civil, criminal, or administrative liability and penalty.” The bill also would prohibit “any individual” from being prosecuted for an abortion or attempted abortion.
“Planned Parenthood says trust us, and everybody loves Planned Parenthood here. They’ve dominated the state for decades,” said Mary Hahn Beerworth, Vermont Right to Life Committee executive director. “But they’re not thinking, or they don’t care, that somebody could just move here tomorrow and undercut Planned Parenthood for price and run a Gosnell-like clinic.”
Beerworth said the bill would allow abortionists like Gosnell to continue practicing without consequences. A Philadelphia abortionist, Gosnell was convicted of murdering three newborn babies and contributing to the death of a female patient, as well as dozens of other crimes in 2013. His “house of horrors” abortion facility shocked the nation after authorities learned that he would induce labor and have women give birth to live, late-term babies and then snip the backs of the newborns’ necks to kill them.
“There’d be nothing we could do about” someone like Gosnell if House Bill 57 passes, Beerworth said.
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A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England told the news outlet that this is not true.
“Kermit Gosnell ran a criminal enterprise, not a health care facility,” spokeswoman Eileen Sullivan said. “His case makes clear that we must enforce the laws already in existence that protect access to safe and legal abortion, and we must reject misguided new laws that would limit patients’ options and lead them to seek treatment from criminals like Gosnell.”
Contrary to her claims, the grand jury in the Gosnell case urged states to pass stronger abortion clinic regulations to protect women and children, and many tried. But Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses challenged many of these laws in court, arguing that they unnecessarily restrict women’s access to abortion; and in 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’s abortion clinic regulations.
If Vermont lawmakers pass House Bill 57, they would limit their ability to pass future common-sense laws such as abortion clinic regulations or parental consent for minors. The bill states that the government cannot “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 and keep abortions legal if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
“The significant change in passing this legislation will not be in what is legal in Vermont,” Beerworth said, previously. “The change is that the Vermont Legislature will move from passive acceptance of unrestricted abortion to intentional enactment.”
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.