With support from its Republican governor, Vermont is on a course to become the first state in the nation to guarantee a right to abortion and contraception in its constitution.
The Vermont House voted 107-41 for Proposition 5, a proposed amendment that would guarantee sexual and reproductive freedoms to Vermonters once it is placed on the ballot and voters give their support in November.
Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT) has indicated he supports the measure and will give the required public notice before the amendment appears on the ballot, the Washington Post reported.
Currently, the amendment is expected to garner the approval of Vermonters. According to the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of adults in the state say abortion should be legal in all or most cases.
— VT for Reproductive Liberty (@reprolibertyvt) February 11, 2022
In a statement sent to The Star News Network, Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life Action, condemned the vote to approve the amendment, referring to it as “inept and heartbreaking”:
Vermont prepares to embrace a dereliction of their duty, prioritizing ending pre-born life instead of creating opportunity for all citizens, born and preborn. Real leaders work to create hope and a future, rather than fast tracking people to their graves.
The bill was launched amid the pro-life Trump administration and as a multitude of pro-life legislation began to be passed in Republican-led states.
The abortion industry and its allies became more desperate when, in December, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the Texas Heartbeat Act to stand while litigation against it continues within the state.
The nation also awaits another Supreme Court decision later this year, one that poses the most significant challenge in decades to the right to abortion created in 1973 in the case of Roe v. Wade.
“We can no longer rely on federal courts to uphold the protections for fundamental reproductive rights based on the federal constitution,” said Vermont State Rep. Ann Pugh (D-Chittenden), according to the Post.
State Rep. Anne Donahue (R-Northfield, Washington County), however, argued against the amendment in debate.
“Individuals inherently do control their reproductive decisions,” Donahue said, but added that control ends “once biological reproduction has occurred.”
“Simply because the embryo’s survival depends upon the protection of the womb does not make it the property of or merely an appendage of the person bearing it,” she added.
BREAKING NEWS: VT House passes the Reproductive Liberty Amendment (Prop 5) 107-41! It's now officially a 2022 General Election ballot measure to be decided on by VT voters! #BansOffOurBodies #vtpoli pic.twitter.com/GXvMZOrSa1
— PPVTAF (@ppvtaf) February 8, 2022
Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund Vice President of Public Affairs Lucy Leriche said she is hopeful Prop 5 will serve 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,” she said.
VTDigger reported on the course of Prop 5:
Tuesday’s vote was years in the making. Alongside Act 47 (or H. 57), a bill that statutorily guaranteed abortion access in the state, Vermont lawmakers first introduced Prop 5 in 2019. To amend Vermont’s state constitution is, by design, a multiyear process, and Tuesday’s vote was the final legislative step before the question goes to the ballot. Prior to Act 47, Vermont law was silent on the issue of abortion, reverting instead to the legal precedent established in the state Supreme Court’s 1972 Beecham v. Leahy decision.
Despite a pro-abortion rights Biden administration, many agree the current climate in the states favors a pro-life perspective.
With that in mind, VTDigger reported House Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) said Prop 5 is part of lawmakers’ “short- and long-term plan on how we could protect the rights that we currently have.”
“I don’t think we should be taking anything for granted, especially in the time that we are in right now,” she added, according to the report.
This is why we fight.
Because the darkest of hearts push for unyielding death. https://t.co/hCjFWU1Da8
— Students for Life of America (@StudentsforLife) February 7, 2022
Hawkins, however, said her organization and others in the pro-life movement are working to provide support for women, their children, and entire families.
“And we do not turn a blind eye to the states that are running headlong in the opposite direction, hell-bent on offering up the most vulnerable members of their state as a sacrifice to appease the powerful abortion cartel,” she added.
“The expansion of abortion violence will not end well for anyone involved, and we strongly urge the residents and elected leaders of these dangerous states to make themselves heard in defense of innocent life,” Hawkins said.
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