Critics of the measure described it as extreme.
Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, the Roman Catholic leader of the Diocese of Burlington, described the law as going “far beyond Roe vs. Wade,” warning that it meant “that a baby in the womb can be terminated right up to the moment of natural birth.”
Mary Hahn Beerworth, the executive director of Vermont Right to Life Committee, said the bill also was unnecessary, since the state already placed no restrictions on abortion.
“This is going to be one of those things where you’re going to look back and say, ‘What were they thinking of, really?’” Ms. Beerworth said. She added that her organization would now turn its attention to opposing the constitutional amendment.
It was uncertain whether Mr. Scott would face any fallout from his decision to let the bill become law, but at least one Republican legislator, who declined to be named, said the debate over abortion in the Vermont Legislature was more nuanced than the debate in the rest of the country. He said that, for the most part, his colleagues who opposed the bill were not opposed to abortion under all circumstances, but believed there should be some limits on late-term abortions.
In 2017, 1,203 abortions were performed in Vermont, where Planned Parenthood offers abortions at six of its health centers.
Lucy Leriche, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s vice president of public policy for Vermont, said that given the landscape for abortion rights in the rest of the country, Vermont’s recent action seemed bittersweet.
“What I’m seeing right now nationally is an all-out war on women,” she said.
She said she believed that sooner or later one of the recently passed abortion bans would end up at the Supreme Court. At that point, Roe v. Wade might be overturned “in one fell swoop,” she said. But if not, she added, “It will be undermined slowly, by numerous decisions that will eventually eviscerate it.”