Vermont Moves to Become First State to Add Guaranteed Right to Abortion in Constitution

Vermont lawmakers on Tuesday voted to advance a constitutional amendment that would make it the first state to guarantee the right to abortion and contraception, The Washington Post reports.

The Vermont House voted 107 to 41 to pass Proposition 5, sending it to Gov. Phil Scott.

Scott, a Republican, has supported the effort.

The proposition would appear on the ballot in November.

Polls show that 70% of Vermont residents believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Abortion rights activists praised the proposal as a “model” for other states.

“In states all over the country, politicians are moving to take away reproductive rights, specifically abortion rights, and we could be an example of another way,” said Lucy Leriche, vice president of Vermont Public Policy at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

Fears over Roe:

The legislation comes after the Supreme Court signaled that it may roll back federal abortion protections later this year.

“We can no longer rely on federal courts to uphold the protections for fundamental reproductive rights based on the federal constitution,” Vermont Rep. Ann Pugh said ahead of the vote.

Leriche first proposed the amendment in 2018 but the idea was dismissed.

“A lot of people I would consider strong supporters of reproductive rights said, ‘This is Vermont; nothing bad is going to happen here,’” she said. “Now there are people coming to me, saying, ‘Wow ... I can’t believe the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe.’”

Other states move to protect rights:

Other blue states are also moving to protect abortion rights.

California state Sen. Nancy Skinner is expected to introduce a bill aimed at making the state an “abortion sanctuary.” The legislation would create a database for people traveling from out-of-state for abortions to connect them with services and funding sources.

Another bill in California would offer protections to abortion providers who serve patients from out-of-state.

“California will not just stand by,” Skinner said. “We are committed to protecting and providing access to abortion and all reproductive services, not only for Californians, but any who seek refuge here.”

 

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