Statehouse Headliners: ‘Right to abortion’ bills introduced into Legislature

By Guy Page

H.57, titled “an act relating to preserving the right to abortion,” has been released for introduction into the Vermont House. It will be introduced on the House floor Tuesday, January 22, lead co-sponsor Rep. Ann Pugh (D-S. Burlington), chair of the House Human Services Committee, said Friday.

Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont.

After introduction, all House bills are sent to a committee for review. Friday afternoon at the Vermont State House, Chair Pugh introduced me to Planned Parenthood public policy official Lucy Leriche and then told both of us that her committee will hear testimony on H.57 next Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, and Wednesday morning of the following week. She hopes to pass the bill out of committee to the House floor by sometime that week, she said. Both opponents and supporters of legal abortion will be given opportunity to testify in her committee, Pugh said.

Details of H. 57 were not available on the Legislative website as of today at 4:30 pm. Senate bill, S.25, “an act relating to the right to have an abortion,” says the bill is necessary due to concerns that the “recent shift in composition” on U.S. Supreme Court will invalidate the 1973 Roe V. Wade decision legalizing abortion. S.25 claims that “establishing a right to abortion advances the public policy goals of enhancing the health of all Vermont citizens, including women of all ages.”

In particular that last phrase – “including women of all ages” – has some legislators worried. They say S-25, introduced by Sen. Phil Baruth (D-Chittenden), could forever prohibit parents from having any legal right to permit, or even know about, their child having an abortion, even if the child is only 12 or 13 years old. This is perceived as a double standard, at the least. As one lawmaker noted this week, many legislators – including some H.57 sponsors listed below – say gun ownership and smoking must be delayed until age 21 because young people’s brains and decision-making abilities are still developing. Yet they apparently would not limit young teens’ legal authority to have an abortion, a potentially life-threatening surgical procedure.

Language in the Senate bill appears to provide:

1. A no-exceptions, no-restrictions legal right to abortion. “The right of an individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy shall not be impeded or restricted.”

Critics of S-25 and the House bill will be asking whether the legislation has any bearing on the practice of partial birth abortion, in which full-term, viable babies are aborted. On Saturday, Jan. 26 the Vermont Right to Life Committee will gather at the Vermont State House to hear the producer of the “Gosnell,” a film about the murder convictions of a Philadelphia abortion doctor who performed partial-birth abortions. The film will be screened for the general public (tickets $10) at about 2:30 pm Jan. 26 at the Capital Theater on State Street in Montpelier. For more information see the Vermont Right to Life website.

2. Special malpractice protection for abortion providers. “A health care provider performing or assisting with a legal abortion procedure shall not be subject to any civil, criminal, or administrative liability or penalty.” Planned Parenthood has historically performed most of the abortions in Vermont. However, almost two years ago the UVM Medical Center announced it, too, would provide elective abortions.

3. Protection against any counter-legislation, including parental notification/permission. “Any law, regulation, or ordinance that purports to impede or restrict the right of an individual to terminate her pregnancy in violation of subsection (a) 14 of this section shall be void.”

Whether H.57, like S.25, grants special immunity for abortion providers will become apparent when language of the bill is made public Monday or Tuesday. Although Senate leaders have said they will introduce legislation to enshrine the legal right to abortion in the Vermont State Constitution, no such bill has yet been introduced.

The other lead co-sponsor of H.57 is Rep. Maxine Grad, chair of House Judiciary Committee. Other sponsors are:  Janet Ancel,  Peter Anthony,  John Bartholomew,  Scott Beck,  Thomas Bock,  Timothy Briglin,  Nelson Brownell,  Jessica Brumsted,  Mollie Burke,  R. Scott Campbell,  James Carroll,  Seth Chase,  Robin Chesnut-Tangerman,  Annmarie Christensen,  Kevin Christie,  Brian Cina,  Sara Coffey,  Selene Colburn,  Peter Conlon,  Charles “Chip” Conquest,  Sarah Copeland-Hanzas,  Mari Cordes,  Carl Demrow,  Katherine “Kari” Dolan,  Johannah Donovan,  David Durfee,  Caleb Elder,  Alice Emmons,  John Gannon,  Marcia Gardner,  Dylan Giambatista,  Diana Gonzalez,  Sandy Haas,  Nader Hashim,  Matthew Hill,  Mary Hooper,  Philip Hooper,  Robert Hooper,  Lori Houghton,  Mary Howard,  Kathleen James,  Stephanie Jerome,  Kimberly Jessup,  Benjamin Jickling,  Mitzi Johnson,  John Killacky,  Warren Kitzmiller,  Emilie Kornheiser, Jill Krowinski,  Martin LaLonde,  Diane Lanpher,  William Lippert,  Emily Long,  Terence Macaig,  James Masland,  Michael McCarthy,  Curtis McCormack,  James McCullough,  Michael Mrowicki,  Linda Myers,  Logan Nicoll,  William Notte,  Daniel Noyes,  Jean O’Sullivan,  Carol Ode,  Kelly Pajala,  Carolyn Partridge,  Avram Patt,  Barbara Rachelson,  Zachariah Ralph,  Robin Scheu,  Patrick Seymour,  Amy Sheldon,  Laura Sibilia,  Brian Smith,  Trevor Squirrell,  Thomas Stevens,  Linda Sullivan,  Randall Szott,  George Till,  Tristan Toleno,  Catherine Toll,  Maida Townsend,  Matthew Trieber,  Joseph “Chip” Troiano,  Tommy Walz,  Kathryn Webb,  Rebecca White,  David Yacovone.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

25 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: ‘Right to abortion’ bills introduced into Legislature

  1. To the supporters of unlimited abortion rights for the mother:

    While I fully respect your right to have such a firm position, I have a simple question.
    You support the right for a woman to request that a professional abort there baby, no matter how far in the term ? You are fighting for the right for a mother to have her 8 1/2 month old baby killed ? Is that your position ? Really?

    If so, I do not understand. As a father of a 28 year-old adopted child, I find this unrestricted abortion position to be very troubling. Thankfully, our child’s birthmother chose adoption over abortion.

    Why is there no compromise on this issue ?

    • Oh, so women should be baby factories so you can have a baby. If a girl/woman truly wants to carry a baby to give it away – fine. Don’t force women to have babies so they can supply the adoption industry. There are plenty – millions – of babies worldwide that need parents – adopt them.

      Life is not fair. Live with it. Isn’t that exactly the Right sentiment towards immigrants – legal or otherwise. Isn’t that the Right sentiment towards all people who need financial social assistance. Interesting that a conservative has compassion when it is about him; where is his compassion for others. I see the conservative party as hardhearted and insensitive towards the needs of others. Pro-life – baloney. What about those babies they want to force out of the mothers womb? How much do Conservatives rail about social welfare for those babies? How much do they rail about women having babies just to get social welfare? Oh but, if that baby is going to be given to a conservative then it’s just fine.

      If you want to rail against welfare, rail against murderous corporate welfare like Lockheed Martin.

      Conservatives pro-life? BS. They love war. They have no problem killing other peoples non-white babies.

      What of the recent news about the severely incapacitated women in the nursing who just gave birth. No onek new she was raped and pregnant. Should she have been forced to give birth at any stage of the pregnancy? I think not.

      You want compromise – start with no woman should ever be forced to turn her body over to the government/society by carrying a pregnancy to term – then we can talk.

  2. Neil: I suspect as human beings we just might have more in common than not. As political positions – probably not. To me almost nothing is more ignorant than reflex political mudslinging. It’s incredible what stupid things people say. I am not on any political side, they’re all cults to me.

    I’m not going to go on at length about this but, take this statement you made – If women have complete control of their bodies, why is the state or any man asked to pay child support of any kind? I think it is not clear what you are getting at but, as is I don’t think it makes any sense. Of course the obvious answer is that she did not get pregnant alone.

    Right or wrong (as I have said before I do not see it in those terms) – a woman should never be forced to have a baby she does not want.

    As a man do you have complete control over your body? Has there been a 54 year war over what you can and can’t do with your body? Have you been raped with pregnancy resulting? Is there an endless culture war aimed at controlling your body, denying you health care? I have moved in my life from against choice to pro-choice. I have read a whole lot about this issue – are you aware that Reagan and Pope John made an agreement about this issue. The misogynist Catholic Church wanted Reagan to come out against abortion, and Reagan wanted the Pope running some interference with Russia. The result – an endless cultural war with women’s bodies as the battleground. It is intolerable. And, I have no doubt that plenty of women impregnated by priests have had church sanctioned abortions.

    If men got pregnant abortion would be a sacrament.

    Someone on this post somewhere wrote that men’s greatest pleasure is making women happy – baloney. If men want to make women happy – stop trying to control us. Let’s face what better way to control women than to control their bodies. I don’t believe for one single second that this issue is about the life of a possible baby.

    Oops went on more than I intended.

    • Discussion is good. Can we agree that unwanted pregnancies on both sides is not the objective? In no part of the discussion did I mention or suggest women should be forced to do anything.

      Have you ever heard of a honey trap? Women becoming pregnant to “save their marriage”? As a law maker one is expected to think through consequences.

      So if by choice, one might assume a fetus is not a person, so there for there are no rights to be given, let’s take that for fact. In this case do men get women pregnant? Do men or the state subject women to have the fetus become a person? No they don’t. In this discussion the man and the woman made a fetus/tissues, the woman made the sole decision to have a child. It is the woman’s choice, completely.

      So why should the state or man be subject to the choice another person makes, there was no agreement, the state nor the man made the woman have a baby.

      Ultimately nobody wants unplanned children, why would they. If we focused on that, most problems would be solved. Planned Parenthood is doing a miserable job, because they haven’t moved the needle for decades, 50% are unplanned, can we agree that might be something to work towards improving? Wouldn’t that be working in the right direction?

      This isn’t a political issue, its’ a life issue. Men want nothing more than a happy home. There is a saying, Happy Wife, Happy Life. One would hope both people in a relationship would want each other to be happy, fulfilled….we are meant for Love, Joy and Peace, but that’s another discussion. Appreciate the candor and willingness to discuss, we certainly live in a fallen world.

  3. I cannot understand why democrats and progressives think the most important right in the world is
    the right to kill their own baby in the womb. Women of all ages includes girl babies in the womb.

    • First of all why present this as a dem/prog issue. Many, many, many Reps support a woman’s right to choose. This is a personal, not a political issue.

      When men, who will never have to face abortion advocate against it it makes me sick. When women advocate against it, it makes me sad.

      For whatever reasons which are no ones business but the women’s and her doctor’s she has chosen to end an unwanted pregnancy it is completely unjust to criminalize her. I have seen the hell unwanted babies live in. Out of compassion I think they should have been aborted. The child suffers the most.

      Why do you choose to frame it as killing or others, as murdering, you need to accept that you have a very narrow view of a very complicated issue.

      Tell me, if your husband impregnated another woman, would you be calling him a murderer if he insisted that she choose abortion. Or might YOU even insist that she choose abortion. You do not know your choice until faced with the same circumstances. Lives are complicated. Live and let live.

      I have three children. I have never been in the position of having to think about having an abortion; and I will not judge others who have.

      I cannot say if abortion is right or wrong. I do not think of it in those terms. Instead, I choose compassion and respect for the women who have to deal with it.

  4. Well, well, well North Reports can’t handle anyone supporting pro-choice. My reply to Neil Johnson’s nonsense was removed. Might as well remove me from posting because I will not read or post on any ‘publication’ that cannot handle opposing opinions.

    You can all stay in your comfortable bubble.

      • Mr. Allen: My post was not denied. One word was the problem – I certainly did not think sh** was foul language. That one word was changed.

        Why are you going after such a stupid thing as my name. There are many first names only on here. That is my name – mj. Everyone who knows me called me mj.


    • “mj” I’m guessing you won’t post on digger, they are a far left political advertisement. They censor all the time.

      • I prefer not to live in a cultist political bubble. I am not far anything. I read VTDigger regularly. Much is stated that I agree with and don’t agree with. Same with Seven Days.
        Although they are left – maybe far, maybe not, there is no reporting on this site that isn’t extreme right. That is an ignorant bubble. And, the comments are so offensive – nothing informative or intelligent.

        • “mj” the “ignorant bubble” you speak of is readily available from far left digger. I’m not aware of comments or points of view being censored here on true north, liberal digger regularly censores comments and points of view that do not align with their far left $ponsers. Several examples available upon request. Digger should not be afforded non-profit status, they are a far left political mouthpiece.

  5. Just so readers are aware, abortion is currently legal in Vermont throughout all nine months of pregnancy for any reason. There is currently no parental notification required if a minor seeks an abortion. These proposals just make that explicit in Vermont law. And believe it or not, a pregnant woman is considered a family of two for the purposes of qualifying for Dr. Dynasaur/Medicaid- and can then use the program to pay for an abortion.

  6. It’s reassuring to note that testimony from “both” sides of the issue will be heard however, if history is any guide, they’ll act only on info which supports their position. The rest is window dressing.

  7. Our legislatures love to use someone taking their own life or the death of a child by a gun as an example of why there are not enough laws against the ownership of firearms, but they have no problem with taking the life of an unborn child. The political Left is so hypocritical.

  8. [Editor’s note: The automated comment spam filter originally blocked this comment due to its use of profanity, which has since been edited.]

    Oh, you mean those philandering Kennedys who acted like animals?

    If women have complete control of their bodies, why is the state or any man asked to pay child support of any kind? I think you need a lesson on how pregnancy happens. This question reveals your misogynist nature – blame women. Disgusting.

    If two people aren’t married can’t we assume they are just fooling around – what planet are you from?

    Why are we paying for any medical procedures for keeping a premature baby healthy and happy? After all aren’t they just a bunch of cells? Choice.

    Responsibility for your actions and the consequences. I can agree on this one. But, how much were you thinking about responsibility when you were a younger man? How many young women did you ‘fool around with’? S#&*! happens.

    Your reply is soooo ignorant that it is very troubling. And you ran for office?! Wow!

    • Hi MJ,

      How can questions be ignorant?

      What do you call family planning? What constitutes a relationship were children are planned for? I asked some questions that perhaps relate to the topic. Perhaps we should have 50-50 custody, most women are granted custody of children, maybe it should be 50% men and 50% women….what are your thoughts on that?

      50% of children in our state are unplanned. Many children are born in to hardship and poverty by choice. What are your thoughts on this and how to resolve this? Do you think this is an issue?

      Why are these questions ignorant? Appreciate the feedback.

    • btw,,,, I said Kennedy Democrats, not the Kennedy’s. “Ask not what your country can do for you , but what you can do for your country.” Is a good sentiment, regardless of peoples past.

      This issue of unwanted pregnancy is something that every one can get around and agree to. If we focus on keeping this from happening, we’re all in agreement, everyone’s happy, money is saved, children aren’t born into families where they aren’t wanted and impoverished. Instead they have us all fighting. Making adoptions easy and affordable is one answer, there are many answers.

      Problem is at some point there are no good answers, we’re trying to make the best of a situation that can’t be “fixed”. From your passion and understanding we’d have more in common than you might realize…..and we could make a positive difference for everyone.

  9. Here is another prime example Liberal Government stepping in !! So let me start by saying I
    believe abortions are a necessity when there is a medical emergency or issue with the mother
    or the unborn child is at risk !!

    If S.25 claims that abortion advances the public policy goals of enhancing the health of all Vermont citizens, including women of ” all ages “. There lies the problem no age limit, so this would include
    promiscuous children and these politicians think this is a ” good Policy” Shameful. I wonder what lobbyist funds are headed to there accounts.

    If you’re using abortion for birth control because you got knocked up this day and age your an Idiot.
    Don’t forget ” No means NO ” correct ” libbers ” !! And as far children females of any age getting an
    abortion, that’s a Parent and law enforcement responsibility child abuse or endangerment, not some Liberal Politicians Policy !!

    So you have to be 21 to smoke, 21 to buy a gun but you can be any age to get an abortion, now
    that’s a Liberals mindset, then !!
    1. A no-exceptions, no-restrictions legal right to abortion ??.
    2. Special malpractice protection for abortion providers ??.
    3. Protection against any counter-legislation, including parental notification/permission ??

    So who’s responsible, when there’s a mistake ????????????????

  10. We are entering some interesting times in Vermont. So some rather disturbing questions, but the topic itself is disturbing.

    What if somebody is force fed/slipped morning after pills, are they guilty of a crime?

    If women have complete control of their bodies, why is the state or any man asked to pay child support of any kind?

    If two people aren’t married can’t we assume they are just fooling around and by the fact they aren’t married can’t we assume that neither have planned to raise a family?

    Why are we paying for any medical procedures for keeping a premature baby healthy and happy? After all aren’t they just a bunch of cells?

    People have many more questions to ask. Think about the ramifications of what they are trying to push, this aside from “rights”, because with rights come responsibility. Responsibility for your actions and the consequences.

    When we were given a survey from planned parenthood, since we were running for office, it was interesting. You can get money if you agree 100% with what we say, for most people this money would totally fund their campaign for office. They mentioned in the survey that 50% off all births in Vermont are unplanned, have been for decades. So apparently Planned Parenthood is a complete failure in this regard of family planning. Needless to say we didn’t score well on their report and we also refused to take any PAC or Lobbyist money, we were free to speak our conscious.

    Funny, once again the main push in the legislature is nothing that people ran on to get into office. Seems like a big con job to me, something Montpelier specializes in.

    Where have all the Kennedy Democrats gone?

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