Reproductive Rights

Let’s get the record straight. Women do not take abortion lightly.

H. 57 would neither enhance nor restrict current access to abortion in Vermont – rather, it codifies the current legal practice of abortion in Vermont rather than making a policy change.

There is no such thing as an abortion up until birth. The idea that this bill somehow will allow a woman to have an abortion up to or as a woman gives birth is flat-out untrue. It’s simply not how medical care works, and it is frankly irresponsible to imply that it is. The vast majority of abortions occur very early in a woman’s pregnancy. When they do occur later, they are almost exclusively because a woman’s health is at risk, a woman’s life is at risk, or because her baby cannot survive.

Dr. Ira Bernstein, the chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Vermont Medical Center, says, “I think that anybody who comes into this with a cavalier attitude doesn’t understand the process.”

Dr. Bernstein says the hospital has strict practices for terminating pregnancies at various stages. After 23 weeks, any request for a procedure requires a “broader review” by a panel that includes both medical staff and hospital ethicists. The panel considers risk factors for both mother and child, he says, and every case is different.

No abortion providers in Vermont perform elective abortions in the third trimester.

“I make decisions about health care every day in my interaction with patients,” he says. “I do not need government, nor do I think it’s particularly helpful for government, to help provide guidelines for clinical care.”

“Late term” abortion is a social construct introduced to create an image of an elective abortion that happens closer to 8-9 months, which does not happen is not a term that is used medically.

This bill does not allow for the possibility of future partial birth or full birth terminations because they are specifically prohibited by the 2003 “Partial Birth Abortion Act,” which is federal law. All clinics and providers must comply with state and federal laws. H.57 will not change those current federal laws.