Legislation

Pro-Life State House Update – H.57 & PR. 5

VRLC is compiling information on how each Representative voted on H.57 and that information will be made available to you shortly. H.57 has been sent to the Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee for consideration, but they have not begun working on the Bill. The Committee has turned their attention to PR. 5, the proposal to enshrine abortion in our Vermont Constitution. You can find PR. 5 here.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee is planning a day-long hearing on PR. 5 on Wednesday, March 13.

Please Join Us for Pro-Life Lobby Day
Thursday, March 21st

This year’s Lobby Day may well be the most important one ever! Arrive at the State House between 8:30am and 9:00am. Wear something green if you have it. Greeters will meet you at the side entrances to the State House with pro-life buttons to wear. See schedule below.

Tentative Schedule of Events:

Parking is available at the VT Department of Labor with shuttle service to the State House.

8:30am – 9:15am: Stop by the pro-life table in the Card Room, sign in, and receive a ticket for a complimentary coffee, juice and doughnut – and join other pro-lifers to write to your legislators.

9:30am – 10:30am: Tour of the State House with VRLC President and tour guide, Retta Dunlap. Meet her in the Card Room by 9:30 am.

11:00 am – noon: A presentation on current pro-life legislation and other related pro-life issues, by Mary Hahn Beerworth, Executive Director, if a room opens up for us to use.

Lunch (bag or bought)

Please support our work by donating here.

H.57 – What the Judiciary Committee Testimony Confirmed

  • Some Legislators have implied that the Federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act prohibits abortions in the late stages of pregnancy. It does not. It prohibits one specific type of abortion procedure. There are other types of abortion procedures used to abort babies in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy – procedures used at the UVM Medical Center. Unrestricted abortion after fetal viability is currently legal in Vermont and would remain legal under H.57 – which was clarified by Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Grad.
  • While most of the attention on H.57 has focused on the legal status of abortion, the testimony taken in the House Judiciary Committee confirms that H.57 will make significant changes to Vermont law. It will protect abortion above childbirth, and could restrict pro-life free speech.
  • Section 9497 prohibits a public entity from restricting access to abortion. It does not, however, prohibit restricting access to childbirth. Under H.57, individuals, including abortion providers, could have a right of action against the state, should they, for example, be denied a Certificate of Need for an abortion facility, or an across-the-board reduction in funding for health care programs reduces tax-payer funding for abortion. Providers and recipients of other medical services would not have such a right.
  • Because many of the terms in the Bill are vague and undefined, it is unknown the full extent of the impact. Testimony in the House Judiciary Committee confirms that schools, as public entities, would be affected by this legislation. It appears pro-abortion messages in our schools would be protected, while anti-abortion messages would be subject to restriction.

H.57 is not just a codification of current abortion practice in Statute, it is far-reaching Bill that would promote and protect abortion above other alternatives in our State.
Any Legislator who votes in favor of this Bill is expressing their support of unrestricted abortion throughout pregnancy, rejecting each and every Constitutional limit the State could place on abortion, and establishing a preference for abortion over childbirth in Vermont law.

Pro-Lifers Pack the State House for Public Hearing on H.57 House Human Services Committee Approves Bill (7-3) After Making Only Cosmetic Changes


Shown here, the overflow crowd at the State House streams the hearing on cell phones
Thank you to the pro-lifers who turned out by the hundreds to express their opposition to H.57! Despite the bad weather, so many of you were able to respond to our requests for a large turnout for the public hearing. The media took note of how large the crowd was, and it was very encouraging to pro-life legislators. Rep. Vicki Strong from Albany asked VRLC to relay to our supporters her sincere appreciation. “I want to thank all the hundreds of pro-lifers who came to the public hearing last night,” she said. “It was so touching and so powerful to see so many pro-lifers who have our backs and are praying for us.

Be sure read the accurate and excellent coverage from State House Headliners HERE which notes that those opposed to the Bill outnumbered those in favor by a wide margin

The House Human Services Committee passed the Bill out of their committee today after only making cosmetic changes. After discussion and assurances that it would not change the meaning of the Bill, they removed the line: (c) A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law. This is merely a change intended to appear responsive to the strong opposition displayed at the public hearing, but in reality does nothing to protect unborn children, prevent any abortion, or eliminate the possibility of fetal experimentation or research. The change is merely a ploy to make it seem like opponents’ concerns were addressed by the Committee in some way.

Proponents of the Bill are also making deceptive claims about the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, implying that the Act makes all third-trimester abortions illegal in Vermont. It does not. The Act prohibits one specific type of procedure, but does not prohibit other types of abortion procedures from being used at any time during pregnancy. The Committee heard testimony from UVM Medical Center abortionist Dr. Lauren McAfee, who uses the Dilation & Evacuation and Induction Abortion procedures which are used to abort babies in the second and third trimesters. You can read descriptions of these procedures here.

While there is no abortionist who admits to performing elective third-trimester abortions in Vermont, under current law and H.57 if enacted, it would be permissible. Both second and third trimester abortions can result in a live birth. What happens then? The law is silent and would remain so under H.57.

H.57 now moves to the House Judiciary Committee. We anticipate testimony to begin next week. We will continue to send updates as events unfold. Your continued vigilance and support is needed and appreciated. We must continue to be a voice for the voiceless.

An act relating to the right to have an abortion

Senate Bill H 25 

“Establishing a right to abortion advances the public policy goals of enhancing the health of all Vermont citizens, including women of all ages, and strengthening individuals and families …

The right of an individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy shall not be impeded or restricted. “

https://legislature.vermont.gov/Documents/2020/Docs/BILLS/S-0025/S-0025%20As%20Introduced.pdf

Roll call of Senate Vote

We want to thank all who stood strong and fought hard for Repeal of this disgraceful law. You have our admiration for standing up to protect patient’s rights to life and freedom from abuse, errors and outright coercion.

The Amendment to Repeal Act 39 entirely was sponsored by Senator Norm McAllister, who made an emotional and powerful speech on the Senate floor. The Repeal movement wants to especially thank Senator McAllister, Senator Peg Flory and Senator Dick Sears for their efforts to overturn the law and protect patients.

The vote to repeal failed 12-18, with 3 who deserted their previous votes against Assisted Suicide, swapped sides and voted FOR Assisted Suicide:

  1. Senator Ann Cummings, Washington County,
  2. Senator Bill Doyle, Washington County
  3. Senator Nitka, Windsor County.

Here is the full roll call:

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative [for repeal] were:

Benning, Campbell, Collamore, Degree, Flory, Kitchel, Mazza, McAllister, Mullin, Sears, Starr, Westman.

 

Those Senators who voted in the negative [against repeal] were:

Ashe, Ayer, Balint, Baruth, Bray, Campion, Cummings, Doyle, Lyons, MacDonald, McCormack, Nitka, Pollina, Rodgers, Sirotkin, Snelling, White, Zuckerman

 

The debate on the Assisted Suicide law now goes to the House of Representatives.

Please call your senators, and thank those who voted for Repeal of Assisted suicide in Vermont. And don’t forget to include Senators McAllister, Sears and Flory amongst your thank yous.

We will keep you updated on the bill.

Talk to your senators during Town Meeting

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Your Senators need to hear from you during town meeting week.

Thanks in part to you, the Senate voted last week to postpone a vote on a bill related to Act 39, the law that legalized doctor-prescribed suicide, until Wednesday, March 11th. Your Senators are home all of this week for Town Meeting Day and to spend time listening to constituent concerns. Now is the time to call, write or email your Senators at home and urge them to vote to Repeal Act 39 entirely. 

If you are attending your local Town Meeting, try to speak politely to your Senators in person. If you are or are not attending your Town Meeting, please make every effort to contact Senators this week at home. It is important that you say “Repeal the ENTIRE Assisted Suicide law.”

The Pro-Suicide groups will take this break to push their agenda, and we need to continue to show that Vermonters do not want this law.

Please read and follow this closely:

  1. First go to http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/ and get the Home Phone numbers for your senators.
  2. Then give them each a polite call at their home number.
  3. You will most likely be asked to give your name and town.
  4. Politely ask your Senators to “Repeal Act 39 ENTIRELY.  Assisted Suicide is not healthcare.”

After you have called

Send this post to all your friends! And share it on Social Media!

Send your legislator a nice letter.
Send emails individually to your Senators

These are less effective than a call but can help support Senators in their Repeal decision. And remember everyone likes to get an old-fashioned letter! You can find their home mailing addresses and emails at http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/

Thank you for your help Repealing this Bad Law!

Urgent! Call your Senators today!

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We need you to take URGENT action!

Act 39 is expected to get a vote on the Senate floor at 1 pm Thursday (2/26). And the vote will be very close! We need you to call your Senators at the Statehouse today (Wednesday, 2/25) or early morning Thursday. So there is no time to wait!

The Pro-Suicide groups have already started their calls, and we need to make calls to show that Vermonters do not want this law.

Please read and follow this closely:

  1. First go to http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/ and get the names of all your Senators.
  2. Politely call the Sergeant at Arms at the State House:
    1. 802-828-2228 or 800-322-5616
    2. You may get a busy signal, but please keep trying.
  3. You will be asked to give your name and town.
  4. Politely ask for the following message to be delivered to your Senators. The message is “Repeal Act 39 entirely.  Assisted Suicide is not healthcare.”
  5. It is important that you leave a message for each Senator by name.

After you have called

Send this post to all your friends!

And share it on Social Media!
Send emails individually to your Senators
This is less effective than a call but can help support Senators in their Repeal decision. You can find their emails through http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/

Thank you for your help Repealing this Bad Law!

Supreme Court rules 9-0 that sidewalk abortion clinic buffer zones violate free speech

Supreme Court  unanimous against abortion buffer zones
photo from life news article below

In a unanimous decision the supreme court declared buffer zones like the one in Massachusetts to be illegal.  The 35 foot buffer zone that the Burlington Vermont City Council was based upon the Massachusetts case.  This is great news for free speech and those pro-lifers who stand weekly at abortion clinics.

“While the ruling is great news for the free speech of anti-abortion advocates, this isn’t about us……(s)idewalk counselors can’t stop women from having abortions, but they can offer information, resources, and just a listening ear  to those young women who feel desperate and alone,” stated Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America.

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/06/26/supreme-court-unanimously-rules-pro-lifers-have-free-speech-at-abortion-clinics/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/us/supreme-court-abortion-clinic-protests.html