By Mary Beerworth, Executive Director, Vermont Right to Life
This year, the Vermont Legislature has 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; target pregnancy 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 abortion giant, Planned Parenthood, passed by wide margins and are expected to be signed by Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott.
The contents of the bills are alarming, and it is important that every state pro-life organization understands the negative impact the passage of such laws will have on their own state’s laws.
Vermont’s soon-to-be signed bills will undermine pro-life laws in other states, such as parental notification and bans on late term abortion, 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, and other services.
Vermont Right to Life testified against both bills decrying the special protections given to “politically favored services.”
Vermont’s proposals, soon to be law, also include provisions that are a direct and unconstitutional attack on our Pregnancy Resource Centers 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 (PRC’s) 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. Regardless of the facts, Planned Parenthood, working in tandem with Vermont’s Attorney General, intends to shut down those offering women alternatives to abortion.
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.” This could result in them being sanctioned by the state or having their medical licenses revoked.
Vermont has always been known as the state where “anything goes” when it comes to abortion. But it is also the state where ANY far left ideological concept can take root.
Fair warning. Vermont is now aiming to spread harmful ideology and dangerous medical procedures beyond state borders. The damage will be felt around the country.