Vermont lawmakers passed the most radical pro-abortion law in the country on Friday, creating a “fundamental right” to abort an unborn baby for any reason up to birth.
House Bill 57 passed the state Senate Friday in a 24-6 vote, and now heads to Gov. Phil Scott’s desk, according to the Catholic News Agency. Scott, a pro-abortion Republican, has not said if he will sign the bill, but it passed both houses by such overwhelming majorities that even a veto likely will not stop it from becoming law.
Vermont already is one of the few states that allows unrestricted abortions up to birth. However, pro-abortion Democrats said the law is needed because the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade in the near future.
Even more expansive than the New York law that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed in January, the Vermont bill would recognize abortion as a “fundamental human right.” It states that the government can not deny, restrict or infringe upon a woman’s “right” to abort her unborn baby. The bill also would remove protections for pregnant victims of violence and medical malpractice.
Abortion activists say the legislation merely codifies current law, but Vermont Right to Life Executive Director Mary Beerworth disagreed.
“They can say they’re codifying current practice if they want to all day long, but we now have the most radical, pro-abortion legislation in the country,” Beerworth told the Washington Times. “This will codify in statute unlimited, unregulated elective abortions.”
That means unborn babies may be aborted for any reason up to birth in Vermont, she said.
“Vermont wanted to go further than New York, and they have,” Beerworth said. “New York has a health exception [for late-term abortions], and it’s probably going to be abused, but Vermont has nothing. Nothing.”
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Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, told CNA that abortion is a “moral evil,” and he is praying the legislation will be reversed someday.
“Regardless of what the law allows, I hope that women will feel safe and supported in their pregnancies and motherhood and choose life for their children no matter the circumstances,” he said.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, rejoiced at the news. Its national CEO, Leana Wen, described the vote as “history in the making.”
Meagan Gallagher, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, joined her in the celebration of unrestricted abortion on demand.
“Vermont has established itself as the shining example for all other states by acknowledging that every person is capable of — and must be trusted to — make their own health care decisions without government interference,” she said in a statement.
The legislation does not have even minor, common sense abortion regulations, such as restrictions on aborting viable, late-term unborn babies or parental consent for girls under 18.
Prior to the House vote, state Rep. Brian Smith said it is ridiculous that a 12-year-old girl must have a parent’s permission to get a flu shot but not an abortion in Vermont, Seven Days Vermont reports.
“We’re about to give 12-year-olds the right to get an abortion, and I don’t think that’s right,” Smith said.
Pro-life leaders have warned that the bill would not protect women from dangerous back alley abortionists either.
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.
Beerworth said the bill would allow abortionists like Kermit 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.
“There’d be nothing we could do about” someone like Gosnell if House Bill 57 passes, Beerworth said.
Polls indicate the legislation is 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 Democrats (60 percent).
A May 2018 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans oppose all or most abortions.
Vermont lawmakers also are considering a constitutional amendment to ensure that women can still have abortions in the state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.