Bucknam: H.57 and the ugly face of progressivism

By Deborah Bucknam

House Bill 57, co-sponsored by nearly 70 Vermont legislators, has been introduced in the Vermont General Assembly. It states that aborting an unborn child at any time during the pregnancy, up to the moment of birth, is a “fundamental right.”

These words have profound legal significance. A “fundamental right” under our United States and Vermont constitutions means a right that cannot be restricted, absent a “compelling government interest.” Even worse, this bill prohibits the government from imposing any restrictions whatsoever on the right to an abortion.

Michael Bielawski/TNR

St. Johnsbury-based attorney Deborah Bucknam

The effect of this bill would be to enshrine in the law the unrestricted right to kill a child for any reason, up to the moment of birth. Abortion for sex selection purposes, for organ harvesting, for medical research or experimentation, or even for eugenics will all be beyond the reach of the law. This bill also makes it legal for an aborted child who is born alive to be killed after its birth.

Furthermore, the bill specifically provides that the unborn child has no rights. It states: “A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.” The unborn child becomes the legal equivalent of a piece of dust. An unborn child, who would be viable outside the womb, can be wantonly killed and mutilated for any reason under this bill. Finally, this bill provides that the “right” to an abortion can be enforced by the “injured” party by injunctive relief and an award of attorneys fees.

Late term abortions are ghoulish, cause pain and suffering to the baby and risk serious health consequences to the mother. They involve injecting massive doses of heart-stopping medication into the baby’s head or chest to kill the child, and then, several days later, removing, sometimes piecemeal, the dead child from the mother’s womb.

Some claim this bill only enacts into law the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. That is not true. The Supreme Court in Roe v Wade allowed for government restrictions during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. This bill prohibits any government restrictions during any period of pregnancy.

In Vermont, animals are protected by criminal statutes prohibiting animal abuse or neglect. Children, likewise, are protected by child protections statutes. This bill provides no protection whatsoever for any child until the moment it is born. This is the ugly face of progressivism.

Deborah Bucknam is a St. Johnsbury-based attorney and former Republican candidate for state attorney general.

Images courtesy of Students for Life and Michael Bielawski/TNR

26 thoughts on “Bucknam: H.57 and the ugly face of progressivism

  1. Thank you Deb for this very informative piece that assesses this legislation as it is written.
    I am pro-Choice (first trimester), and I agree this legislation goes too far. There is no reason for a late term abortion. If the mother’s life is at risk a C-Section solves that issue.

    What’s interesting to me politically is that this same legislation has been introduced in several states this year—a DNC mandate apparently. What’s even more interesting to me is that the DNC is ignoring the trends of the people they count on to vote for them—Millenials. Abortions are way down and the millennials are generally pro-life.

    If the legislature were to amend the language to simply affirm Roe v. Wade that would make sense to many. The sponsors of the bill are erroneously telling people that’s what the bill is. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is legalizing infanticide.

    • Wendy, I must take issue with you on this comment.

      Why is it that many pro-choice people are upset with H.57 that allows abortion of an unborn child right up to the instant of delivery? Easy answer. They can no longer ignore the reality of the gruesomeness of abortion or the humanness of the child who pro-abortion zealots tell them that one second before delivery it is a non-human fetus and the next second after birth it is a beautiful child entitled to all the inalienable rights of humans.

      For some an earlier abortion might allow them to ignore the humanity of the child or the terror that is inflicted on her. When does the growth of the fetus (baby) reach the point where the observer is uncomfortable and when do they become outraged?

      The revulsion they feel has been made possible by advanced ultrasound technology that visually reveals the humanity of the child in the womb, by dedicated pro-life advocates who will never stop speaking on behalf of unborn human children and movies like “Gosnell” that reveals the absolute depravity of the abortion industry and the inability of government to protect the innocent while at the same time advocating abortion at any stage.

      How do these same pro-choice people justify earlier abortions? Where is that dividing line of where destruction is OK and where life is to be protected? How can a week or two make the difference as to whether the child should live or die? If it is OK in the first trimester and not in the second trimester how can we justify the abortion on the last day of the first trimester and not on the first day of the second trimester? I mention this to show the wrongness of drawing a line, be it trimester, viability, heart beat or any other fiction that tries to define when life begins or can continue.
      Just consider the description of first trimester growth as described by “Live Action”, the period during which the pre-born child develops rapidly.

      “At four to five weeks LMP — that is, four to five weeks since the first day of the mother’s last period, and just 21 days following fertilization (conception) — the baby’s organs start to develop, and the heart begins to beat.”

      At eight weeks “The preborn baby’s hands and feet are developing, and the neural pathways in her brain start to form. The child is constantly moving in the womb, although the mother cannot feel it.”
      At nine weeks “The child can suck her thumb, open and close her jaw, stretch, and sigh. The baby’s teeth begin to form, and the heart completes dividing into four chambers.”

      At ten weeks “The child’s vital organs have developed and start to function. The baby is rapidly moving in the uterus, and tiny nails begin to form on the child’s hands and feet.”

      At twelve weeks “The child develops reflexes, and can open and close fingers, respond to touch, and make movements with his or her mouth. The child’s nerve cells are developing rapidly.”

      The DNC does have it wrong but more wrong than you state. Whether it be to celebrate Roe v. Wade, as the pro-choice legislators do each year by resolution or by their attempt now to codify into statute, a procedure to kill a fully developed child by aborting her at the last second before delivery for any reason or no reason at all, both are still evil.

      Democrats and Progresses are primarily the ones leading this gruesome crusade. This radical move from pro-choice to clearly pro-abortion provides an excellent opportunity for Republicans to show a public that is starving to see their leaders taking right and principled positions that we do that. As Republicans we are looking for a way to distinguish ourselves from the radical left and this is a wonderful opportunity and we should not let it pass by or we will continue to be the almost non-existent minority. The Republicans can show those confused and misguided people out there, that we stand for something and are not willing to deal with fiction on whether one person or another are entitled to the Constitutional and inalienable rights of life, liberty and happiness.

      When we do what is right and principled, we will win, and we will birth an era of good governance.

      • But good governance does not exist until it is delivered…. 🙂

        Wendy, I must point out that “simply affirming Roe” would “make sense to many” who do not understand that Roe permits infanticide. H. 57 DOES simply affirm current law in Vermont under Roe.

        • Beecham v. Leahy was decided a year or so before Roe v. Wade and that is what H.57 is affirming I believe. Senator Patrick Leahy, then State’s Attorney, admittedly threw in the towel and did not defend the statute Vermont had to protect the unborn up to that time. The potential mother was about full term and in fact left Vermont to have an abortion before the case decision came down. The court could have vacated the ruling but chose not to and so established that abortion was legal with no restrictions required by the case.

          What is interesting to note is that later as a Senator, Patrick Leahy voted to ban “partial birth abortions” back in 2003. Wonder where he stands on this gruesome H.57 that would allow an abortion even as the mother is in the process of delivering this fully developed child? Maybe someone should ask him.

  2. While New York Democrats happily embraced infanticide, Virginia stopped it cold, at least for this year. Let us hope that Vermont will look to Virginia, not New York, for an example. The Democrats are in real danger of becoming the party of Death. They were not so once. Any legislator, of either party, who votes for this ghoulish bill should never be elected again.

  3. All it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing.I wonder if this is what it was like when the Nazis were dragging Jewish people out of their houses, stuffing them into trains for their final end to come in Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen?

  4. It never ceases to amaze me. We have laws allowing mothers to kill their babies, doctors to assist in suicide. And yet, we have laws directing cops to take guns away from people who may harm themselves. If a person is committed to killing themselves then they will find a way to do it. The stupidity of our law makers is off the charts.

  5. All of you turn your anger into something productive. Just call these heartless bastards exactly what they are— murderers and send them packing in the next election.

  6. The progressive elites who fight for organic free range chickens (must be humane) have no problem killing a child with a heart beat. Can they really look at themselves and be proud of that? I was appalled to see the NY Governor and the woman around him clapping and smiling when they passed their law.
    These same people who refuse the science that proves the child is alive in the womb, belief the climate change science. Either they believe in science or they do not. No pick and chose!

  7. You talk about being ” barbaric”, this say’s it all …… I cannot believe we would have any elected
    officials supporting this butchery !!

    Using abortion for birth control disgusting and pathetic this day and age than waiting until full
    term is just ” Immoral “. So while the Doctor is doing there ” Black Hearted Deed ” they should
    go ahead and ” Sterilize ” this person, as ” Motherhood ” is not part of her DNA !!

    What have we become ??

  8. Similarly, in passing the first Civil Union legislation, Vermont Governor Dean and the Legislature ignored the public outcry against it. In a radio interview, they said they knew better than the public what was best for Vermont. Not representative government.

  9. Thank you Attorney Bucknam. Irma Hartigan and petemo have it right that this is evil and satanic. Ephesians 6:12 tells us also: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (KJV)

  10. Yet if a pregnant woman is killed in an accident and the other driver is drunk or perhaps just a wreckless driver he/she can be charged with two counts of (fill in the blank)

    Double standard???

    • Not in Vermont! The offender will not be charged with the death of the baby, as we found out in the southern end of our state a couple years ago when a mom carrying twins (8months gestation) was hit by an overdosed drug addict and her babies died. Offender was not charged with the death of the babies even though they were completely viable gestational age

  11. I had to read this twice for I just can’t believe it. Where do these people come from? An unborn American has absolutely no rights but illegal immigrants do. Where is the logic? I can’t believe this. It’s totally insane.

    • NY. Chittenden County is loaded with them, They control the state. If they agree with Coumo, why don’t they return to that utopia state? There’s no logic, “follow the money”.

      Read an article (or two) that 20 million were terminated and can be done one day before birth. Most of the PP places are in minority areas, could it be called government genocide?

  12. Many of the proponents of abortion are the same ones who would have you strung up for hurting a dog, for hunting deer, or trapping a coyote. Now they are talking about murdering a human child who has a beating heart and feels pain. These murderous bastards are the same ones who hurl the epithet “Nazi” around with wanton disregard, but what they are calling for is no less heinous than what the Nazi’s did to their victims. This is a level of sickness I never thought I would see in my home state and it truly frightens me. What kind of savages are these liberal progressives?

    • And then there are those of us who are adamantly against abortion who are also against inhumane treatment of animals. Your comments are offensive. And it is attitudes towards animals, like yours, that turns the younger generations against Conservatives. Good going.

  13. When you vote Democrat, you align yourself with evil. Now, there is no doubt about it. What these people are proposing is infanticide. Vile, vile people who back this weapon of mass destruction of infants.

  14. I couldn’t be more angry with Vermont government. We people had no say. They make these decisions without consulting anyone but their interior devil.

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