Liberal lawmakers in Vermont gave preliminary approval Wednesday night for a radical abortion bill that would ensure unborn babies have no rights under state law.
Those advocating for the law say they want to pass a bill ensuring Vermonters’ abortion access is protected in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.
“The purpose of this bill is to clarify for Vermonters at a time of national uncertainty. It will reinforce a woman’s right to reproductive health care freedom,” bill sponsor state Rep. Ann Pugh (D) said, according to WXAC-TV.
Under the proposal — H. 57 — an unborn infant “shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.”
Critics of the bill, though, argue it could make it possible for women to have abortion at any time during a pregnancy, to include right before birth.
“The most unrepresented person or thing in the world, or here in Vermont, is a viable fetus that has not yet been born,” said state Rep. Robert Bancroft (R). “But it feels pain, it feels love and unfortunately we don’t regard it as anything until the day it is born.”
Leading up to the preliminary vote Wednesday evening, GOP lawmakers introduced 10 amendments to place some limitations on the sweeping abortion bill. All of them, VT Digger reported, were voted down.
The Vermont House of Representatives voted 104-40 in favor of the abortion law.
The proposal comes not long after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed into law a bill in his own state easing access to late-term abortion. The new legislation protects abortion up to 24 weeks into pregnancy and at any point “to protect the patient’s life or health.”
Virginia lawmakers considered their own version of the law that would have similarly protected women’s access to late-term abortion. State Del. Kathy Tran (D), the lead sponsor for the since-failed bill, claimed her proposal would allow a woman in labor to terminate her pregnancy.
In his attempt to defend the bill, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) seemingly endorsed infanticide in late January, during an interview on WTOP-FM.
“The infant would be delivered,” Northam explained. “The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
As for the Vermont law, legislators are expected to vote on its approval Thursday afternoon.