by Anna Gagne
On Feb. 11th the Vermont House of Representatives introduced H248, a bill declaring that an unborn baby, beginning at 24 weeks gestation, is a legal person.
Due to the miracles of modern medicine, babies have survived at even earlier than 24 weeks. At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 triplets at 22 weeks gestation were born at UVMMC to the McShane family. Cian, born 12/28/19, weighed 1.08 lb.. Declan, born 1/2/20 weighed 1.47 lb. and Rowan, born 1/2/20 weighed 1.08 lb.. These three babies were discharged from UVMMC on July 15th, 2020 after reaching normal milestones in growth and development.
Vermont is one of only 12 states that rejects fetal personhood for reasons of homicide, fetacide or being a victim of crime. A few years ago, Bennington, VT twins, Kaleb and Harley Blair, at 24 weeks gestation, were killed in a car accident. Their mom, Patricia Blair, is still seeking damages.
Vermont law places no restrictions on abortion at any age of gestation. Preemies cared for in the NICU are no different biologically than those of the same age who are aborted. One infant is cared for and another condemned to death based solely on the fact that the 1st is wanted and the 2nd is not. It is a tragic indictment of our society that we base the value of a person on whether or not they are wanted.
The elderly and ill do not fare better in Vermont. In early Feb., Bill S74 was introduced in the Vermont Senate to remove some of the safeguards on abuse of Act 39, (Vermont’s aid-in-dying law) which is already an abusive law.
How have we become so shallow and callous? Sure it is work to care for a vulnerable person. But sacrificing for someone else gives life meaning and purpose. We need to be loving examples to our young people many of whom have given up on life. Inspiring them to treat all life as sacred will give them hope that we believe that their lives have meaning and value. When some lives are dispensable we are all diminished. When we treat all lives as sacred we will flourish as a society again.
The author is a St. Albans Town resident.