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The principal pre-Roe statute prohibited performance of an abortion on a woman unless the procedure was “necessary to preserve her life.”1  In Beacham v. Leahy,2 a pre-Roe decision, the Vermont Supreme Court held that the abortion statute is unconstitutional because it arbitrarily and unreasonably prevents a woman from obtaining a safe and antiseptic abortion from a physician.  Although the pre-Roe statute has not been repealed,3 the decision in Beacham v. Leahy would prevent that statute from being enforced.  The legality of abortions would not be affected by a decision overruling Roe v. Wade.  Abortions could be performed for any reason at any stage of pregnancy.


1 Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 101 (1972).

2 287 A.2d 836 (Vt. 1972).

3 Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 101 (1998).


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May be reprinted without permission but with attribution to the Life Legal Defense Fund.