Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont House of Representatives gave final approval to H.57, “an act relating to preserving the right to abortion,” Thursday on a vote of 106-36.
“I believe that whether, when, and how a person becomes a parent is a deeply personal decision and that decisions about pregnancy should remain between a woman and her health care professional,” House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) said in a statement Thursday evening. “This bill codifies and preserves Vermont women’s access to abortion. Preserving this right is critical as there are no laws on the books protecting or restricting this right. Today’s vote is the first step in ensuring the next generation of Vermont women have the same access to reproductive and abortion care that Vermont women have had for the last 46 years.”
“When women are able to control their reproductive decisions, they are able to make their own decisions about their participation in the workforce, in their communities, and Vermont is stronger for it,” added House Human Services Committee Chair, Representative Ann Pugh (D-South Burlington). “This bill is critical and I am proud to support it.”
“This bill codifies current state of Vermont practice, which has no restrictions on a woman’s access to reproductive healthcare services, including abortion,” said House Judiciary Committee Chair, Representative Maxine Grad (D-Moretown). “It ensures that women’s access to abortion remains unconstrained by the law and gives women certainty under the law.”
House Majority Leader, Representative Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) added, “I trust Vermonters to have the freedom to make their own choices, and once someone has made the important and very personal decision to have an abortion, it’s not for politicians to interfere. I believe we must promote people’s health and well-being, not impose our beliefs on others.”
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
STATEMENT BY MEAGAN GALLAGHER, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND REGARDING HOUSE PASSAGE OF H. 57
“We are grateful to the Vermont House for passing landmark abortion legislation today in a resounding 106-36 vote. H.57 affirms Vermonters right to safe, legal access to abortion despite the uncertain national landscape for reproductive rights. This bill will ensure that women are able to make private medical decisions with the advice of health care professionals they trust, without the interference of politicians.
There were strong feelings on both sides of this debate but in the end the resounding support reflected a legislature that listened to the facts and evidence. We want to thank House Leadership, particularly Speaker Mitzi Johnson, and Representatives Jill Krowinski, Ann Pugh, and Maxine Grad for their tireless work to protect abortion rights.”
VERMONT RIGHT TO LIFE COMMITTEE STATEMENT
The Vermont House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of H.57, the unrestricted abortion Bill. H.57 now moves to the Senate.
Mary Hahn Beerworth, VRLC Executive Director commented:
“It is official. The Vermont Democrat Party now holds the dubious distinction of being the party of unlimited, unrestricted and unregulated abortion-on-demand throughout pregnancy. Common sense amendments to protect minor girls, to limit abortions on unborn babies in the later stages of development, to provide informed consent (including alternatives to abortion), to providing regulation and inspection of abortion clinics, and other amendments, all went down to defeat by a Democrat-led, super-majority in the House.
Pro-abortion Democrat legislators walked in lock step with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU as they read on the House floor the talking points that were rather obviously provided to them by both pro-abortion organizations.
The legislators who fought against H. 57 included both pro-life and pro-choice members of the Vermont House of Representatives. Rep. Bob Bancroft, of Westford, identifies himself as pro-choice. But the fact that H 57 lacked any concern for young girls and women, or any concern for a viable unborn baby, compelled him to offer over eight amendments to the abortion bill.”
The debate has attracted national attention.
You can see the results of the final roll-call vote here. Some Legislators fought long and hard against H.57, in an attempt to represent not just pro-life Vermonters, but also pro-choice Vermonters who hope to strike a balance between the rights of the mother and the rights of a developing human being.
One notable amendment offered was to codify in State law a ban on the partial-birth abortion procedure - a second and third trimester procedure so gruesome that the U.S. Congress enacted a Federal Ban. That ban was challenged by Planned Parenthood but upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. The amendment offered to H.57, which mirrored the Federal ban, was defeated by the Vermont House on a roll-call vote that can be viewed here,
Many other amendments were offered, including parental notification and fetal homicide provisions. The Bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.