By Mary Beerworth, Executive Director, Vermont Right to Life
Editor’s note. This appeared in the June digital edition of National Right to Life News. Please share the contents of this 39-page issue with pro-life friends and family.
The rallying cry for abortion went up immediately after the opening of the 2019 legislative session in Vermont. At an event inside the State House hosted by Planned Parenthood the program kicked off with their leader yelling, “WHO LOVES ABORTION!” And the answer came screaming back from the pro-aborts in attendance, “WE DO! WE DO!
With pro-abortion Democrats now holding a super majority in both House and Senate, leadership saw the way clear to gain passage of Planned Parenthood’s wish list – enactment of a law written to secure protection from any interference for their abortion business as well as the opportunity to be first in the nation to place abortion rights in a state constitution.
House bill H. 57, referred to as an act relating to preserving the right to abortion, shields Planned Parenthood’s abortion business from any interference by state government and places zero restrictions on how far into pregnancy an abortion can be performed, by whom or where.
“H. 57 goes beyond Roe v. Wade, and may well be the most radical anti-life law in the nation,” explained Sharon Toborg, Policy Analyst for Vermont Right to Life. “H.57 grants abortion providers and clinics the right to sue the State if they are not allowed to establish a new abortion practice in Vermont. Unlike providers of any other medical procedure, H. 57 grants abortion providers this private right of action against the State.”
Over a dozen common sense amendments to H. 57 were offered on the floor. Each one failed.
A lead sponsor of H. 57 Rep. Ann Pugh (D-South Burlington) was asked on the House floor during floor debate if human life began at conception. She simply answered, “No.”
Not once did sponsors of H. 57 give any consideration to the life of an unborn child throughout pregnancy while numerous bills were introduced to protect farm yard animals and pets.
Not content with merely codifying unlimited, unrestricted abortion in Vermont statute, Planned Parenthood’s demands also included launching an effort to amend our state constitution to enshrine the right to abortion in our state’s founding document. Senate Pro-Tem, Tim Ashe, (D- Burlington) declared that such a move is necessary because abortion makes women “equal people.”
Vermont’s 4th branch of government.”
It is important to understand that Planned Parenthood has enormous political power in Vermont. When speaking to the media, I often make reference to them as “Vermont’s 4th branch of government.”
Planned Parenthood is heavily involved in each election and they demand 100% compliance with their unlimited abortion agenda if a candidate is to earn their endorsement. Should a candidate, even one who generally supports abortion rights, even consider supporting parental notification legislation or any other common sense proposal, Planned Parenthood’s political arm will attack with a vengeance.
In Vermont, Planned Parenthood owns and operates 12 clinics in our small state, performing 90% of the annual number of abortions and using non-physicians almost exclusively. Planned Parenthood’s CEO testified that they performed 1,100 abortions out of the 1,203 performed in 2017.
Vermont Right to Life (VRLC) fought Planned Parenthood every step of the way. Pro-lifers turned out for two public hearings and outnumbered abortion supporters more than 5 to 1. VRLC provided testimony from national as well as local pro-life experts who made convincing, passionate arguments on behalf of the unborn, but it all fell on deaf ears.
Because the debate over abortion raged on for months in Vermont, there was more exposure and focus on the radical nature of those who demand unlimited abortion than ever before. Vermont Right to Life has gained support from thousands of newly aware Vermonters who are ready to join to our cause.
Planned Parenthood cheered and clapped their way through what amounts to a temporary triumph.
On the other hand, a newly energized pro-life movement in Vermont will to fight for a permanent victory for the babies.