Laws protect eagle, turtle eggs but not human ones


Paul Miller

Monday, March 18, 2019

A few days ago your newspaper published a letter regarding the passage of Vermont General Assembly Bill H.57. The letter stated, “Bill H.57 states that these living beings we loved, are only ‘a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus.’” An online commenter drew a comparison to a Florida state law on the protected status for marine turtles, their nests and eggs and even cited federal law, noting that it “provides even greater protection (and criminal penalties as severe as $100,000 and a year in prison) if you ‘take, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, or capture any marine turtle, turtle nest, and/or eggs, or attempt to engage in any such conduct.’”

In 1973 Congress passed the Endangered Species Act. The purpose of the act was to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service administer the ESA. According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, 2,054 species worldwide were listed as endangered or threatened in January 2013, and of that number, 1,436 were in the U.S.

In 1940 Congress passed the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Amended in 1962 and 1972, this act prohibits the taking, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg. The word "take" includes the pursuit, shooting, shooting at, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, collecting, molesting or disturbing of an eagle.

The 1972 amendments increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the act to include a maximum fine of $5,000, or one year imprisonment, while a second conviction carries a fine of $10,000 or not more than two years in prison. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of $250,000 or two years of imprisonment. Marine turtle eggs and eagle eggs have federal laws protecting them and steep fines for violations.

But under the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, human eggs have no protection and can be aborted based on a decision by the mother. Today, Washington, D.C. and eight states permit abortions up to birth. The states are: Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont. And in New York, the crowds cheered and Planned Parenthood rejoiced! How sick is this?

Paul Miller

Elizabeth City