Vermont’s Republican Governor Phil Scott signed a first-in-the-nation pro-abortion bill on Wednesday that will protect access to the abortion pill mifepristone regardless of whether or not the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the drug is revoked.
“Today, we reaffirm once again that Vermont stands on the side of privacy, personal autonomy and reproductive liberty, and that providers are free to practice without fear,” Scott said in a statement.
Two identical bills from the Vermont Senate and the House state that “reproductive health care services” include “medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for termination of a pregnancy as of January 1, 2023, regardless of the medication’s current FDA approval status.” The bills protect abortionists from out-of-state subpoenas and summons for abortions that are legal in Vermont but were carried out on women from states where abortion is restricted. The bills also prevent the abortionists from being extradited to a different state.
In addition to protecting abortion access, Gov. Scott also signed a bill protecting “gender-affirming” health care services in the state.
Mary Hahn Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life, told Live Action News:
These bills are dangerous for the whole country. What they are trying to do, they said so in committee, is attract young people to colleges here because they can thwart their parents and have gender-transitioning ‘health care’ and abortions without anybody knowing about it. The law shields the providers of both of those [abortion and cross-sex hormones] — and of course the providers are Planned Parenthood. They are big time in the business of those hormones for transitioning.
So they come into the State House, they draft a bill and both bills they worked on to increase their business, and that’s after decades of dropping the abortion numbers here in Vermont.
Vermont state Senator Virginia Lyons said that even if the FDA is forced to withdraw its approval for mifepristone, the drug can still be manufactured. “But production can still take place and they can be purchased for use by pharmacists or providers. So it’s still available but what this does is it says, with or without FDA approval, this drug is available to folks in the state of Vermont. And that’s a big deal,” Lyons said.
Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that mifepristone, the first drug in the abortion pill regimen, can stay on the market while legal proceedings regarding its FDA approval continue. Just days prior, the Fifth Circuit issued a partial stay on U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk’s decision to suspend FDA approval of mifepristone, reinstating distribution of the abortion pill, but putting back into place safety requirements that had been removed. The Fifth Circuit is scheduled to hear arguments on May 17.
Vermont does not restrict abortion, and in 2022, voters approved Proposal 5 which enshrined abortion as a right in the state Constitution. Beerworth said the new law is unconstitutional and Vermont Right to Life Committee plans to fight it.
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