Democrats in Rhode Island and Vermont are following in the wake of those in New York and Virginia in proposing bills that would strip most restrictions on abortion.
The Rhode Island and Vermont bills are in keeping with New York’s Reproductive Health Act – signed by Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo – that declares an unborn baby not to be a “person,” and a Virginia bill, proposed by Democrat Delegate Kathy Tran, that would honor a woman’s request for an abortion even moments before birth.
The measures have created a firestorm and have been labeled “infanticide” bills.
In Rhode Island, the Reproductive Health Care Act, H 5127, and a companion bill, the Reproductive Privacy Act, H 5125, would go even further than Roe v. Wade, reports Rhode Island Right to Life. The pro-life organization says its legal experts warn the legislation would:
- Eliminate any constitutional restrictions on late-term abortions
- Eliminate any constitutional restrictions on methods of abortion
- Undermine the authority of the State and the Department of Health from enacting and adopting constitutional restrictions on the performance of abortions at facilities where abortions are performed
- Require the State to pay for all abortions sought by Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and women covered by the “payer of last Resort” program
Additionally, H 5127 would “repeal existing constitutional protection for a viable unborn child from criminal assaults on the child’s mother,” and H 5125 would “substantially ‘water down’ the State’s parental consent statute by allowing consent to be obtained from persons who have no constitutional right to give consent (grandparents and adult siblings),” asserts Rhode Island Right to Life.
“Neither H 5127 nor H 5125 could plausibly be regarded as merely ‘codifying’ the principles of Roe v. Wade,” the group says.
In a letter to Robert Craven, chairman of the state House Committee on the Judiciary in Rhode Island, “Catholic” Democrat Gov. Gina Raimondo said she writes “in strong support of House Bill 5127, which would enshrine the important provisions of Roe v. Wade in state law”:
I believe that no one should get in the middle of a decision between a woman and her doctor and that no woman should have to chose between health care and making ends meet. #RHCA pic.twitter.com/IAuz8Y71de
— Gina Raimondo (@GovRaimondo) January 29, 2019
Equating choosing to end the life of an unborn baby with “health care,” Raimondo and the legislation’s sponsors, state Sen. Gayle Goldin and state Rep. Edith Ajello, said they are pushing the bill because “women’s healthcare” is “under attack in Washington,” observed a report by NBC10 News.
During her gubernatorial campaign in 2014, when Raimondo was asked about her support for abortion, though that stance is not consistent with her Catholic faith, she responded, “The Catholic Church has a clear position, and I have a clear position.”
“It is always disappointing when a Catholic candidate for political office abandons the teaching of the Church on the dignity of human life for the sake of self-serving political gain,” said Bishop Thomas Tobin of the diocese of Providence in a statement following Raimondo’s comments. “Such actions demonstrate an inexcusable lack of moral courage.”
Tobin reminded Rhode Island Catholics that “abortion is a sin, and those who provide it, promote it, and support it will be held accountable by Almighty God for the unjust death of unborn children.”
In Vermont, Democrat state Rep. Ann Pugh’s House Bill 57, would make abortion a fundamental right. The legislation has received the support of 90 co-sponsors.
The bill claims it is intended “to safeguard the right to abortion in Vermont by ensuring that right is not denied, restricted, or infringed by a governmental entity.”
“A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law,” states the bill, adding, “No State or local law enforcement shall prosecute any individual for inducing, performing, or attempting to induce or perform the individual’s own abortion.”
Wesley Smith asserts at National Review that the Vermont abortion bill “goes further than Virginia and New York’s”:
Unlike New York’s new law and the Virginia legislation, there is nothing at all in the bill about distinguishing non-viability of the fetus from viability.
There is no pretense of limiting late-term abortion to circumstances in which the life or health of the mother might be impacted.
There is nothing mentioned about what to do with a born baby that survives abortion.
It establishes a “fundamental right to abortion,” meaning an absolute right that cannot be infringed or restrained in any way.
The bill has 91 co-sponsors. It could very well pass. If it does, I do believe it will become the most radical abortion legalization statute in the world.
However, according to VTDigger, the Vermont legislation is drawing significant opposition. Though Republican Gov. Phil Scott said he is pro-choice, he added he will not support the legislation in its current form.
Patricia Blair, who lost her unborn twins when another driver slammed into her car in 2010, said the bill “isn’t protecting all women’s rights. It’s only protecting the rights of women who choose death for their children.”
Sharon Toborg of Vermont Right to Life said the label “pro-choice” is deceiving.
“While most Vermonters do consider themselves pro-choice, that does not mean that they support unrestricted abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy for individuals of any age as H.57 proposes,” she said.
A recent Marist poll showed 75 percent of Americans want substantial restrictions on abortion, including 60 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of those who identify as pro-choice.