A tragic event recently occurred in southern Vermont near Bennington. A family of four, with the mother expecting twins, was struck by a driver who was driving a poorly maintained car most likely under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The parents received serious injuries and were airlifted to two different regional hospitals but are considered in stable condition. The two young boys, Dakota and Shane, apparently survived without serious injuries. In a WCAX interview, Patricia Blair, the mother of the twins, shared that she and her husband had already given their twins (a boy and a girl) names: Kaleb Michael and Harley Olivia. To add to the tragedy, News10 reports that Mrs. Blair had lost a baby girl a year earlier after only one day of life due to complications at birth.
Even though the article was titled Unborn Children are Killed in Head-on Route 7 Crash, when talking about the unborn twins the author describes them as “fetuses”. Inconsistencies from the headline to the article are probably not uncommon, but this one is striking. The headline clearly mentions “unborn children” which implies that, though they were as yet unborn, the Blair twins were considered people. And yet in the article, there is no doubt that the children are referred to as fetuses with the implication that a fetus is not yet a person.
According to the various reports Vermont State law does not recognize children in utero to be persons under the protection of the law. Here is a description of current Vermont statutes from report in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus:
Bennington County State’s Attorney Erica Marthage said her office was investigating the crash as a crash resulting in serious injury.
According to Marthage, a 1989 case out of Addison County that was decided by the Vermont Supreme Court found that even a viable fetus was not considered a person under Vermont statutes for the purposes of a criminal investigation.
However, Marthage said this was the kind of case that could be a “catalyst for change” to the laws in Vermont.
Marthage said she planned to talk to Vermont Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, who serves as chairman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, about the case.
The mother thinks differently about her twins and hopes this will change:
“To me they are babies. They have the hair, they have the eyes, they have the nose, they have perfect little lips. They have fingers, toes, toe nails, all the right anatomy.”
“They would have been here with me had this not happened and I don’t how Vermont can say they are not babies,” Blair said tearfully.
“I know that they need to go by what is in place now, and it may not help my case or it may not help somebody else’s case right away, but I hope they stop and rethink it and at least adjust something.”
A tragic event like this one is made all the more tragic because the Blair’s, for the time being, will have to be satisfied with a state that doesn’t consider their precious twins to have been people at all. What little justice is possible for the Blair family will be curtailed by a precedent in Vermont law that claims a fetus is not a person. Like Patricia Blair, I hope this event will be the “catalyst for change” to the laws in Vermont that Bennington County State’s attorney Marthage suggested.
Here is a link to the video of the WCAX interview.
(Originally posted at Conservative.FM)