By Vermont Right to Life
This year, the Vermont Legislature passed two pieces of legislation (S.37 and H.89) that: shield providers of “legally protected health care” (defined as “reproductive health care” and “gender-affirming care”) from out-of-state lawsuits and professional discipline; single out Pregnancy Resource Centers for harassment; and define “providing or claiming to provide services or medications that are purported to reverse the effects of a medication abortion” as unprofessional conduct for licensed health care providers.
The bills, written and designed with the influence of national and local abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, passed by wide margins and are expected to be signed by Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott.
Scott aligned himself with Planned Parenthood in 2019 signing H.57 (Act 47) into law guaranteeing unrestricted abortion throughout pregnancy.
Governor Scott had previously stated, on more than one occasion, that parents need to be involved in the lives of their minor children. Scott abandoned that principle with his support of passage Article 22, allowing individuals of any age to access so-called “personal reproductive autonomy.”
Governor Scott is now poised to encourage minors from other states to access the full range of reproductive health care services from Vermont providers by openly agreeing to sign H. 89 and S.37.
Neither bill provides for parental involvement or consent.
“By legally shielding providers who treat minors without parental knowledge or consent, Governor Scott will betray parents who hope to help their minor child through the difficult decisions they could be facing without parental guidance,” stated Mary Hahn Beerworth, Executive Director, Vermont Right to Life Committee. “New Hampshire lawmakers enacted a parental involvement law for minors, but under S.37 and H.89, minor children can simply cross the border into Vermont or set up a telehealth call with Planned Parenthood of Vermont, leaving parents in the dark.”
Vermont’s soon-to-be signed bills will undermine pro-life laws in other states who have passed laws banning late term abortions, as well as other states’ laws regarding medical licensing, and more.
When enacted, Vermont will join with a few other states that have “shield laws” in place protecting providers from legal action for providing services that are “legally protected” in Vermont, but not protected in other states that have restricted such practices. For example, if a person brings a child to Vermont for an abortion, circumventing another state’s parental notice law, and the parents try to sue either the abortion provider or the person who took their child for the abortion, the State of Vermont would not cooperate with the investigation. The State would even allow the abortionist to file a countersuit!
Further, the bill enables Vermont providers of so-called “legally protected health care” to reach into other states to provide services via telehealth in violation of other states’ laws by exempting them from the normal standards of medical practice, which require providers to be licensed in the state where the patient resides.
Whether the patient comes to Vermont or receives services from a Vermont provider via telehealth while residing in another state, they can access abortion throughout pregnancy, chemical abortion drugs, “gender-affirming therapy,” and other services.
Vermont Right to Life testified against both bills decrying the special protections given to “politically favored services.”
“While co-pays and deductibles would no longer apply to abortion services, young girls and women who wish to carry their baby to term will not be afforded the same benefit,” continued VRLC’s Mary Beerworth,
Vermont’s proposals, soon to be law, also include provisions that are a direct and unconstitutional attack on Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) by singling them out and making them subject to special regulations. Planned Parenthood’s lobbyist referred to the clinics as “dangerous” and “basically playing doctor and they’re not doctors.”
In fact, each of the six Pregnancy Resource Centers in Vermont has their own Medical Director along with licensed nurses and trained ultrasound technicians. In addition, not a single Pregnancy Resource Center has had a complaint filed against their practices or their clinics.
Furthermore, if medical personnel at the PRC’s inform clients about Abortion Pill Reversal or discuss the possibility with a client, under the new law, they risk being charged with “unprofessional conduct,” which could result in them being sanctioned by the state or having their medical licenses revoked.