By Guy Page
A Senate bill due to be voted out of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee Wednesday would require Medicaid and all other health insurance plans provide free abortions for all.
S37, titled “access to legally protected health care activity [i.e. abortion and transgender services] and regulation of health care providers,” gives force of law to several other items on the longtime ‘wish list’ of the Vermont abortion providers like Planned Parenthood of New England, including:
100% private and public health insurance coverage of abortions. “A health insurance plan [including Medicaid] shall provide coverage for abortion and abortion-related care” that “shall not be subject to any co-payment, deductible, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing requirement or additional charge.”
No suing abortion or transgender service providers. Such lawsuits are punishable as “abusive litigation.”
Suing crisis pregnancy centers for alleged false advertising – While abortion providers are fully-funded and shielded from legal action, crisis pregnancy services may be sued by the state Attorney General for advertising. “It is an unfair and deceptive act for any limited-services pregnancy center to disseminate any advertising about the services performed at that center if the management of the center knows or, by the exercise of reasonable care, ought to know it it untrue or clearly designed to mislead the public about the nature of services provided.”
No professional discipline against abortion/transgender providers. “No health care provider shall be subject to professional disciplinary action by a board or the Director solely for providing or assisting in the provision of legally protected health care activity.
Planned Parenthood has long claimed that crisis pregnancy centers tell prospective clients they offer abortions, even though the centers’ websites specifically say they neither counsel nor perform abortions.
Renee McGuinness from Vermont Family Alliance (VFA) testified Tuesday, Feb. 21 against S.37 before the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, citing potential negative health outcomes by codifying exclusively gender-affirming care and excluding any other types of care.
Raising up gender-affirming care and excluding other types of care violates promises made before the Article 22 statewide referendum last November, McGuinness said.
“The Vermont State legislature is inconsistent in their pursuit of health care choice for individuals, free from government interference,” McGuinness stated. “Last year, legislators claimed Article 22, the reproductive liberty amendment to the State Constitution, would keep government out of decision-making between patients and their doctors.
“This year, S.37 and H.89 propose to codify gender-affirming care as the only type of care for minors experiencing gender dysphoria and incongruence that will be shielded from ‘abusive litigation’ from other states, the only type of care that will be fully funded by insurance companies – making gender-affirming care a priority over all other types of healthcare – and shields practitioners from increases in malpractice premiums,” McGuinness explained. “Meanwhile countries in Europe are now reassessing and changing their standards of care due to negative impacts of exclusively gender-affirming care.”
Vermont Right to Life said the bill’s heavy emphasis on abortion services at colleges violates Article 22.
S.37 is unconstitutionally biased in favor of abortion by requiring UVM and the Vermont State Colleges to develop an ‘abortion services readiness plan,’ rather than an ‘abortion and pregnancy services readiness plan,’” Executive Director Mary Beerworth told the committee Tuesday.
“Our state has just been through the process to amend our constitution, to protect not only abortion, but also the right to carry a pregnancy to term. I hope this committee will take steps to make sure that those who wish to parent or make an adoption plan are provided as much support as those students seeking abortion,” Beerworth said.
She then showed the committee university handbooks showing plans for all reproductive choices.