Following in the footsteps of New York and Virginia, the state of Vermont is looking to pass its own version of an abortion law which would allow a pregnant mother to abort her child in the third trimester.
Alexandra DeSantis, a staff writer for the National Review, noted the Vermont legislature was debating the Democrat-led bill on Wednesday.
DeSantis described the bill as “far more radical even than the abortion bills in New York and Virginia.”
According to a report from VTDigger, Republican lawmakers are seeking to add amendments to the bill which would add protections for the child and have limits on when it may be aborted. The Democrat-majority committee has rejected these amendments and is looking to push the bill onto a full floor vote.
“The amendments include provisions that would only allow women to seek abortions until 24 weeks into pregnancy and another that would require minors to receive parental consent before receiving abortions,” the VTDigger reports.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 10 amendments had been voted out of committees unfavorably. More were being drafted minutes before lawmakers took their seats in the House chamber.
Supporters of the abortion bill, H.57, which has overwhelming Democratic support, have said enshrining a woman’s right to abortion into state law is critical in the event the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The bill is expected to receive preliminary approval Wednesday afternoon, but not before critics of the legislation challenge it on the House floor.
Critics of the abortion bill argue that the legislation’s protections are too broad, and could allow women to have an abortion right up until the time of birth. While the law does not explicitly ban abortions in the third trimester, they are exceedingly rare nationwide and no physicians in Vermont perform the procedures.
One amendment, proposed by Reps. Carl Rosenquist, R-St. Albans, and Robert Bancroft, R-Westford, would only allow abortions to be carried out until 24 weeks into pregnancy.
It would only make exceptions for women with medical complications who require abortions to avoid death or serious injury. Otherwise, however, the amendment would make the procedure a crime in Vermont after six months of pregnancy.
Rosenquist said his hope in this amendment was to find middle ground between advocates for and against abortion, and drafted the language so that it closely resembles the Roe v. Wade decision.
“I put this together as a compromise between the pro-life and the pro-choice people,” Rosenquist said during testimony given in committee.
But proponents of H.57 oppose the amendment because it would make abortion a crime. It was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee with 10 against and none in favor of the measure and in Human Services it was voted unfavorably 8-3.
According to the report, more amendments are expected to be added on Thursday morning before the bill’s final reading and vote.