My brothers and sisters,

H. 57, the bill that will expand current Vermont practices and legalize the right of a woman in the State of Vermont to an abortion without any restrictions or protections right up to the moment of birth, is still working its way through the state legislature. On Feb. 12, the bill was heard by the House Judiciary Committee.

The Catholic Church stands for the protection of all life from the moment of conception until natural death, and therefore opposes abortion in all instances.

However, opposition to H. 57 is not just a matter of faith. It is not something that is true for me because I am Catholic or a Christian or a believer or an unbeliever. It is true because I am a human, and this is an issue of human rights.

I want to reiterate what I said in my statement at the end of January: This bill goes beyond Roe v. Wade and does not recognize a viable life at any stage of pregnancy. This bill will legalize infanticide; this is wrong.

There are those who will say, “Reckless abuse of this bill will not happen. Mothers will not kill their children before birth for any reason or no reason at all. Doctors and nurses will not kill a baby just before birth.” But, that is not what this law says. It says anyone has the right to kill her unborn child right up to the moment of birth, without any restriction or protection.

Supporters of H. 57 frame it as an issue of women’s rights and healthcare, but this bill allows abortions to be performed by non-physicians in non-medical settings. It also removes any rights or protections a woman might have in situations of coercion or malpractice.

Do we really want to allow this? Do we really want to test the limits of where human brokenness can take us? Please God, no.

I encourage all of you to continue to contact your state representatives to let them know of your opposition to this law because you are Catholic and because opposition to H. 57 is a matter of human rights.