Vermont Business Magazine Today, Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski and Senate President Pro Tem Becca Balint issued the following statement after Texas enacts the greatest ban on reproductive rights in the nation and the US Supreme Court’s fails to uphold a federal constitutional right:
“It has been a stunning 24-hours as we watched one of the greatest affronts to the reproductive rights of individuals in Texas. We were all hopeful that the Supreme Court would see this for what it is, a clear violation of the federal constitutional right to obtain an abortion. These actions will surely spur legislative action restricting access to reproductive health care, and we wanted to make sure Vermonters and all Americans, know that Vermont is doing everything we can to protect reproductive rights.
“In Vermont, we believe that health care decisions should be made by an individual and a health care provider. We have known that attacks on reproductive liberty would not stop, and in recent years we have taken steps to protect this right. In 2019, Act 47, also known as the Freedom of Choice Act, became law. The Freedom of Choice Act recognizes the fundamental right of every individual to have an abortion if they choose, restricts any interference or denial of abortion services to an individual, and protects health care providers that provide this compassionate care.
“Our current work is the most significant way we can protect this right and let all Vermonters know how fundamental this right is: amending the Vermont Constitution. In 2019, the legislature began the process to amend the Constitution. The Senate passed Prop. 5 last year, and this January when the legislature returns for the second half of the biennium, the House will immediately take up this work. The Constitution is our founding legal document. It articulates the values that we share as a society. We can think of no better way to show our commitment to personal reproductive liberty than a constitutional amendment.
“Stripping away an individual's reproductive right is not about a difference of opinion in health care policy, it’s about controlling certain populations and their ability to make decisions that impact their lives. We know that those who have the means to leave Texas to seek abortion services will do so, but those communities that do not have the resources will be left traumatized by the inability to receive the care they need and deserve. As legislative leaders in Vermont, we want to show that there is another way and that we can do more to provide these services and ensure they are forever protected. We hope other states will follow our path and enact laws that protect personal reproductive liberty and allow individuals to make their own health care decisions.”
Source: Office of the Speaker Montpelier 9.2.2021
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