Orleck: H.57 is legislative malpractice that should not be countenanced

By Bob Orleck

Vermont abortion law, as far as Vermont’s House of Representatives is concerned, is fixed in H.57. The bill passed by a vote of 106 to 36 to affirm the practice into statutory law that unrestricted abortion is legal. There is nothing that would restrict who performs abortions, or what qualifications they have. There is nothing to insure the safety of the patients through regulation or inspection of an abortion facility. There is nothing that would prevent an abortion up to delivery to be done on a full-term healthy baby, and there is nothing to limit such an abortion even if there is no risk to the life of the mother.

The bill now goes to the Senate where it will likely meet little resistance. It also seems likely there will be an attempt started there to introduce a constitutional amendment to further cement unrestricted abortion as unassailable in Vermont. Hopefully, the reticence of the governor to take a position at this point on whether to sign H.57 into law means something. That would cause the Senate to rethink some of the provisions of H.57 that would even be supported by the most pro-choice people in the state.

H.57 currently reads that “no State or local law enforcement shall prosecute any individual for inducing, performing, or attempting to induce or perform the individual’s own abortion.” Call it an oversight, but legislative malpractice should not be countenanced when health and life are at stake. The question then becomes, should current practice now affirmed in this language of H.57 be allowed to go forward, or is there enough reason for the Senate to work a change that, if not done, would be enough reason for Gov. Phil Scott to veto the bill?

Dr. Ira Bernstein, the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at UVM, was interviewed about the abortion services provided at Vermont’s largest hospital, but little he said addressed what will be a real and present danger should H.57 be embedded into Vermont statutes. For UVM, nothing in H.57 will change anything they are doing under current practice to review possible abortions with physicians and ethicists post 23 weeks.

It is not what is happening at UVM that has caused the outrage seen in the public and echoed by Republican House members; instead, it is what might happen if other abortion providers come to Vermont and establish their get-rich-quick abortion practice free of any rules or regulations on who or under what conditions they can operate.

Over and over it was heard in the debate that third-term abortions up to the time of delivery will not happen even with passage of H.57. Unsubstantiated claims were made that physicians engaging in the abortion of a second- or third-trimester fetus that is healthy — and there is no real danger to the health or life of the mother — would be met with disciplinary and legal repercussions, and so this would never ever happen. They say it didn’t happen under current practice and it will never happen with passage of H.57. During the debate, state Rep. Ann Donahue, R-Northfield, addressed that claim when she testified that “I find it a little unique that we would choose to make something legal in law because it won’t ever happen.” A very wise and insightful observation indeed. Dr. Bernstein spoke to the “never” claim, saying that “while unlikely to do so,” UVM providers “almost never do the third-trimester terminations at this institution.” Notice he said “almost never.” Abortionists operating free of the moral restrictions of UVM will not be bound by the promise by lawmakers of “never.”

Many physicians hold the belief that there can be no medical necessity to do second- and third-term abortions even to save the life of the mother. Of course, they need to take the steps necessary to save the mother’s life, and in doing so the fetus may not survive, but the goal should be to save not only the mother but also save the life of the viable fetus. One only needs to have a limited understanding of the procedure involved in second- and third-term abortions to realize that in a life threatening situation where the pregnancy must be terminated for the protection of the life of the mother, the most efficient, safe and available way to end that pregnancy is by an induced live delivery or by an emergency C-section that can be done in as little as two minutes time — and both patients live.

Full term abortions require days to accomplish, first having to ensure the fetus is killed, followed by preparing the woman’s body for delivery, and in many cases the dismemberment and removal of body parts with forceps — all of which increase the dangers to the mother’s life and health.

That abortions happen at the hospital is wrong for many pro-life people, but what happens at UVM is not the clear and present danger that many see in H.57. No doubt the abuses represented by Kermit Gosnell and other unregulated abortion practitioners who did unspeakable acts would never happen at UVM. While that is so, the reality is that H.57 could encourage a disreputable practitioner in search of a lucrative and legally sheltered business to come to Vermont.

That possibility dictates a mandatory need for simple change in the language of H.57 to prevent unqualified practitioners in unregulated facilities from setting up abortion services for a population who might not be likely to use facilities and physicians such as those at UVM. Those included in that population would include vulnerable, pressured, drug-addicted, abused young girls and women, or perhaps victims of human trafficking or those wishing to engage in the sale of fetal body parts. Vermont has a duty to protect such vulnerable people and their viable fetuses.

If this needed fix does not happen, then the pro-choice governor of Vermont would not only be justified but compelled to veto the legislation.

Bob Orleck is a retired pharmacist and former Vermont assistant attorney general. He lives in Randolph.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/drsuparna

11 thoughts on “Orleck: H.57 is legislative malpractice that should not be countenanced

  1. These legislators should be thankful every day that they weren’t aborted. But given their mentality (sick) it might have been a blessing if they were subjected the the same they are promoting when they took their first breath. They don’t consider abortion on a personal level. It’s about money, power and control. On the control aspect, look at the 660 Bills introduced this year by them, it’s about control and most of the Bills have a price tag to implement. H.57 involves money. They have a mental problem.

  2. Perhaps the State will allow many to have the single license plate up front saying VT MURDERER instead of VT STRONG.

  3. If you were young couple looking for a nice place to live and raise a family, would you decide to move to Vermont? Would you want your children to grow up in a state that is run by individuals that do not have moral or religious character?

  4. The failure of the legislature to vote for amendments that would protect the very women they claim to want to empower with reproductive freedom would strongly suggest that the bill is not about women’s rights at all, but simply to kill any baby that it’s mother is willing to sacrifice. If you truly cared about women, should you not also care about cleanliness standards for facilities, and more importantly the competency of the provider? Yet anyone can perform the procedure and not be held accountable if something goes wrong. How can ones conscience be so seared that a bill so flawed could be passed?

  5. H.57 is a terrible, poorly worded bill that The Vermont Legislature should be ashamed that it has allowed it to advance this far. Vermonters do not want a law that allows abortion all nine months of pregnancy with no regulations or restrictions. Gov. Scott should speak out against this bill for the people of Vermont, now. We all know the Legislature has the power to pass this bill with or without a veto. The Vermont Legislature must choose not to pass this bill. It is not what Vermonters want.

  6. With so much human trafficking and organ sales in our nation, this bill cannot be seen as a woman’s right. This is a lucrative cog in the well oiled wheel of legislative perks. Whenever we see such a barbaric and inhumane bill promoted, look for the money. To whom have these legislators become beholden?

  7. Shame on the VT House for passing H57, especially by such a large margin; so much for the sanctity of life! In their quest to control every aspect of our existence, the central-planning crowd who now control the legislature will not rest until they completely rip our society in half. The thought that we’re about to “codify” a woman’s “right” to murder her unborn child, up to the ninth month of development, should shock the conscience of all thinking Vermonters. And there’s another dynamic to this debate that is seldom if ever mentioned: what about the psychological impact that voluntary abortion has on the men and women who opt for this way to escape their parental responsibilities? For a state that purports to care so much about its citizens’ “mental health,” was there any testimony taken from experts in this field before the vote was rammed through? As I understand it, all attempts to amend the bill were easily defeated, including one that would have granted the unborn child some rights. I implore Governor Scott to do the right thing and VETO this bill. If this horrific bill is to become law, let those who sponsored and supported it own it completely; let the blood be on their hands…

  8. Agenda & Money is the policy in Montpelier, they have no morals or conscience !!

    Time to abort these shameless fools from politics, remember the Legislators that voted
    for H.57 next time you vote !!

    Vermonter’s Wake up.

  9. Many of us have been commenting on this bill, and many of have been completely censored on Vermont Digger with regard to this topic. Everybody who is rising up against this bill is correct in their disgust. It will also be the very best thing for pro-life. The bill is so one sided, so without regard for truth, justice or any logical thinking it goes beyond selfish. It will NEVER stand up to any real scrutiny, it can’t.

    This bill if passed by our Senate and Governor, or if they over ride his veto. will be the best thing every for pro-life. Vermont’s bill will be the one to overturn Roe v. Wade. Watch…it won’t happen instantly but it will be the one. Regardless of how much others censor, it will be the bill.

    They say he works in mysterious ways, apparently he appreciates a bit of irony too. We’ll see what’s in store for a Mr. Sanders in the upcoming two years, wouldn’t it be satisfying for those who’ve spoke up for so many years for truth and love of fellow man to see Vermont lead the way in overturning Roe v Wade and ending the progressive charade. Hopefully we’ve not fallen to far from being graced again.

  10. Vermont Legislators have to go home at the end of the legislative day with a sick feeling in their hearts. Probably about the same as the Schutzstaffel men of Natzi Germany. Same feeling the African natives had who helped round up slaves.

    But by golly…they still do it. History will remember this practice in America the same way we remember slavery and the extermination of a Jews.

    Well….don’t blame me and the good ol’ boys of backwoods Vermont.

    We tried to stop you.

    Just sorry me and my family will crash with these brain dead freethinkers (Bernie, Pete, Pat and the Liberal majority in Montpelier.) when God brings his fist down on our Nation for all of the poor and shortsighted decisions of the day.

  11. H.57 has been rated the MOST DANGEROUS ABORTION LEGISLATION IN THE USA….and with good reason. These idiots in Montpeculiar have given a 100%, anytime abortion authority to anyone. H.57 is an abomination, an insult to morality and the Vermont spirit.Congratulations Vermont on being #1 in Baby Killing. #802VTALLIANCE

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