GOP Vermont Gov. Phil Scott to Allow Sweeping Abortion Bill to Become Law

Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott pauses while speaking before signing the first significant gun restrictions bills in the state's history during a ceremony on the steps of the Statehouse in Montpelier, VT, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)
Cheryl Senter/AP Photo

Republican Gov. Phil Scott will allow a bill that will permit all abortions for any reason in the state of Vermont to become law, said his spokeswoman.

“Governor Scott has always been pro-choice and he has said he will not veto the bill,” Rebecca Kelley told local Vermont news media last week.

Kelley did not say whether Scott would sign the bill or allow it to become law without acting upon it.

As VTDigger noted, the governor’s approval of the legislation will allow the state to enact the “broadest protections of reproductive rights” in the nation.

State House Majority Leader Rep. Jill Krowinski, a Democrat who is a former employee of Planned Parenthood — the vendor that provides the majority of abortions in Vermont — said, “I think it’s important that we’re standing up to say that we need to make sure that these rights are protected.”

In fact, the president of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England said Vermont is now “the shining example for all other states” of the unlimited abortion legislation that has become a mark of the Democrat Party.

The bill, H.57, declares abortion a “fundamental right,” and an amendment known as Proposal 5 would make Vermont the first state to preserve and protect a right to “personal reproductive liberty” in the Green Mountain State’s Constitution.

While H.57 could become law and take effect immediately either with Scott’s signature or his inaction, Proposal 5 would need approval again by the General Assembly in 2021–2022 and then by the state’s voters in 2022 in order to amend Vermont’s Constitution.

Dr. Ingrid Skop, chairman-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), presented written testimony that the Vermont abortion bill “will remove any oversight from a late term abortion provider’s facilities or competency.”

Skop continued:

Vermont may feel it is helping women by passing this legislation that will allow a small trickle of women with severe fetal anomalies to receive late term abortions in the state. However, by opening this door, you will allow a tsunami of elective late terms abortions to follow, many of which will be obtained by coercion of the pregnant women.

Skop warned the state could “become a destination for ‘late term abortion tourism.’”

VTDigger reported that Democrat State Sen. Becca Balint, the Senate majority leader, dismissed concerns such as those articulated by Skop, referring to them as “hysteria.”

She said the same warnings were voiced when the state lawmakers debated civil unions and gay marriage.

“Everybody said there was going to be a huge influx of gay people — we’re going to be swimming in gay people,” Balint said. “And it didn’t happen. I think it’s a lot of worry and hysteria.”

“I think what is important,” Krowinski said, “is that we let the medical community be able to take science and to have those conversations and to be the ones to regulate what that looks like, and how you define it, not politicians.”

However, a 2018 report by Emma Green at the The Atlantic highlighted how “science” is weighing more on the side of the pro-life movement, with technological advances such as ultrasound and neonatal research and treatments “remaking the debate around abortion.”

“In many ways, this represents a dramatic reversal; pro-choice activists have long claimed science for their own side,” Green wrote.

She added:

Pro-life and pro-choice activists have come to see scientific evidence as the ultimate tool in the battle over abortion rights. But in recent years, pro-life activists have been more successful in using that tool to shift the terms of the policy debate. Advocates have introduced research on the question of fetal pain and whether abortion harms women’s health to great effect in courtrooms and legislative chambers, even when they cite studies selectively and their findings are fiercely contested by other members of the academy.

In her testimony about the Vermont bill, Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life, described H.57 as “sweeping in its operation” in that it “expands abortion allowances beyond Roe v. Wade and its progeny, rejects the state’s legitimate interest in protecting life, and prohibits commonsense protections for women’s health.”

With the legislation’s prohibition on any government interference, at any level, with an abortion, Foster said the regulatory climate in Vermont would then be “akin to the one in Pennsylvania that allowed the infamous abortionist Kermit Gosnell to operate his ‘House of Horrors’ for decades.”

“Gosnell, who was ultimately convicted of involuntary manslaughter, was able to perform unsafe, unsanitary, and deadly abortions for so many years,” she said, “because, according to the Grand Jury report, the Pennsylvania Department of Health thought it could not inspect or regulate abortion facilities because that would interfere with access to abortion.”


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