When is a fetus ‘viable’?

  • Published in MyView

By Steve Allen

I would like to comment on proposed H.57, Freedom of Choice Act, an act relating to preserving the right to abortion. I’m guessing that this bill is the result of the fear that the Supreme Court, during the Trump administration, is going to swing conservative due to the appointment of conservative judges with the resulting possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned.

Bill H.57, as currently written, makes no reference to any limit in the term of the pregnancy at which time the unborn child can be aborted. I have copied text from Wikipedia relating to a “viable” fetus:

“One aspect of the legal abortion regime now in place has been determining when the fetus is ‘viable’ outside the womb as a measure of when the ‘life’ of the fetus is its own (and therefore subject to being protected by the state). In the majority opinion delivered by the court in Roe v. Wade, viability was defined as ‘potentially able to live outside the woman's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks, approx. 196 days) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.’”

Line 18 of the proposed bill states, “A fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.” This part of the proposed bill appears to make it legal to kill a viable fetus. While there are many extenuating circumstances surrounding the need for an abortion, this bill needs to have a time limit at which an abortion can be performed. If not, this bill condones the taking of an innocent life. Let me ask some questions that contradict this proposed bill.

Why can a person legally end the life of an unborn child, but Vermont will not put someone to death for the taking an innocent person’s life? Someone can sexually assault and kill a woman, but the criminal will only go to prison?

Why is it illegal for someone to take their own life (self-induced suicide), but you can abort an unborn child?

Why does the state want to make the ownership of firearms (to preserve and protect our own lives from violent assault and death) continually more difficult, but you can abort an unborn child?

And the last thing I want to hear from anyone is the worn-out copout, “I support a woman’s right to choose.”

I am bringing this issue to light because I know there are so many Vermonters that share my concerns but are probably not aware of this proposed legislation. This bill is being introduced by Representatives Maxine Grad and Kari Dolan. I encourage you to contact them with your thoughts.

Steve Allen is a former Waitsfield resident who now lives in

Johnson City, TN.