Abortion Bill Proposed

By Harry Cramer

On Tuesday, Jan. 14, Vermont legislators proposed a new bill to formally decriminalize abortion statewide. The bill, S 315, was proposed by Senators Tim Ashe (D/P-Chittenden), Christopher Bray (D-Addison), Sally Fox (D-Chittenden), Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden), Dick McCormack (D-Windsor), and David Zuckerman (P-Chittenden).

Although state law criminalizing abortion was previously nullified by the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, S 315 would officially repeal Vermont’s superseded laws.

Otherwise, such statutes may be reenacted if the Supreme Court decision is ever reversed. Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have all passed laws that would do just that: immediately ban abortion after such a reversal.

According to its authors, the bill is an important step for women and their doctors due to the independence it grants them.

Abortion is a “deeply personal and often complex decision…[which] must be left to a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor or health care provider,” the bill states.

The bill is part of a flurry of health care reform in Vermont. The state legislature plans to offer a state-run single-payer system as an alternative to the National Care Act, which critics have attacked for its disorganized implementation.

The bill also states, “It should be a public policy goal to enhance the health of all citizens, including women of all ages, and to strengthen individuals and families by encouraging and promoting access to comprehensive family planning services and to prenatal support services that help ensure that planned pregnancies remain healthy throughout their entire term.”

A similar bill, H 508, previously did not make it through committee in 2012.