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.