Vermont House passes Reproductive Liberty Amendment (Prop 5)

Vermont Business Magazine Today the Vermont House of Representatives passed the Reproductive Liberty Amendment (Prop 5) in a vote of 107-41. The amendment will now appear on the 2022 General Election ballot in November and will be decided on by Vermont voters. This was the final step in the four-year legislative process. Governor Scott, at his weekly press briefing today, reiterated his support for the amendment.

Speaker of the House Jill Krowinski and Representative Ann Pugh issued the following statements:

“In Vermont, we believe healthcare decisions should be made by an individual and a healthcare provider. Today’s final legislative vote on the proposed amendment, which would guarantee reproductive liberty for all Vermonters, shows our commitment to this fundamental right,” said Speaker Krowinski. “The timing is critical: Across the country, we are seeing attacks on reproductive liberty and the erosion of available services for reproductive health.

“The Vermont Constitution is our founding legal document. It articulates the values we share as a society, and I can think of no better way to show our commitment to personal reproductive liberty than a constitutional amendment. Proposal 5 is about more than abortion. It protects the individual’s right to use or not use temporary or permanent birth control, for example, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term.”

“For nearly 50 years Vermonters have relied on the protections offered by Supreme Court Case law to support personal autonomy in reproductive health decisions,” said Representative Pugh, Chair, House Human Services Committee. “The legislature has intentionally chosen not to limit or restrict those protections throughout those decades. I want to reiterate that. For almost 50 years, Vermonters have benefitted from reproductive liberty, including the right to abortion, free from government restriction. We have long recognized that decisions related to reproductive health care and abortion are deeply personal and private, and are best left to an individual and their licensed medical professional.”

“As Vermonters, we want to show the rest of the country that we believe in every individual’s right to make their own healthcare decisions. But this is not the final step in this process,” said Speaker Krowinski. “This proposed amendment will now go to a vote by all Vermonters in November.

“I hope Vermonters will reflect on the importance of this right and the impact it will have in supporting their family, friends, and their community. Passing this amendment will ensure that future generations of Vermonters can live without the fear of unwarranted government interference in their reproductive decisions. I hope other states will follow our path and enact laws to protect personal reproductive liberty and allow individuals to make their own healthcare decisions.”

Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray released the following statement on the House’s passage of Proposition 5:

“Today, I applaud the Vermont House for their leadership in passing Proposition 5 and for bringing Vermont one step closer to enshrining reproductive liberty in our Vermont State Constitution. I urge Vermonters to support and pass the Proposition in November.

"As the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade remains under attack, let us recognize that the fight for reproductive justice is far from over. An attack on reproductive rights anywhere is an attack on reproductive rights everywhere. Amending our State Constitution to ensure that the right to personal reproductive autonomy is protected for all Vermonters is necessary and the right thing to do. We cannot take personal health and safety for granted. We cannot allow our personal liberties, to be rolled back. We must stand united in Vermont and nationally for reproductive liberty.”

Senator Kesha Ram Hinsdale (D-Chittenden) on VT House approving Prop 5:

"Reproductive freedoms are subject to increasing threat nationwide—Vermont Proposition 5 secures our liberties as Vermonters. Its last stop is now with you, the voters.

"Prop 5 goes beyond securing our freedom to make the choice to continue or end a pregnancy, to include protecting access to reproductive liberties of all kinds from family planning to access to affordable, supportive reproductive health services. I am proud to have supported it in the Senate and grateful to my colleagues in the House for advancing it today.

"We have a long way to go to restore abortion access and our reproductive liberty across the country. Today, Vermonters took an important step in this fight and we will do so again in November."

ACLU of Vermont Executive Director James Lyall:

“The ACLU joins our partners, supporters, and the countless other Vermonters who have helped advance Prop 5 in celebrating this historic milestone. This is a momentous occasion for Vermont and for the nationwide movement for reproductive liberty.

“In the face of an all-out assault on abortion rights at the state and federal levels, Vermont voters will now have the opportunity to make Vermont a leader by explicitly enshrining reproductive liberty in our state constitution in November.

“In doing so, we can safeguard abortion rights in our state while sending a clear message, that the American people overwhelmingly support the right of individuals to make reproductive healthcare decisions for themselves – including decisions about contraception, abortion, prenatal care, and childbirth – and will not tolerate having this right taken away.

“We know that the right to decide if, when, to become a parent is critical to an individual’s dignity and well-being. With the fate of Roe hanging in the balance, state-level protections are vital to safeguarding people’s access to reproductive health care. This year, Vermont can set an example of what is possible by declaring reproductive autonomy is a constitutional and fundamental right for all.

“We are grateful to the legislators, public officials, and state leaders who supported this amendment throughout the legislative process; the many partners who have joined us in championing this effort; and most of all, all the many Vermonters who have spoken out in favor of Prop 5 and in defense of reproductive liberty. This is our moment.

“The Reproductive Liberty Amendment is both a simple and profound affirmation of our values – values that Vermonters have cherished for generations. We’re confident that Vermonters will vote their values in November, and we are proud to support this historic effort.”

Statement from Lucy Leriche, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund:

“The House made history by passing the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, and we applaud the incredible work of every member of the legislature who made this possible. The Reproductive Liberty Amendment is important because it would protect every Vermonter’s right to make their own reproductive decisions, like whether and when to become a parent, use temporary or permanent birth control, or seek abortion care. It is critical that we ensure that the rights we rely on today won’t change tomorrow.

“Now the Reproductive Liberty Amendment will be decided by Vermont voters in November, and it is up to all of us to get it across the finish line. If we succeed, this will be a groundbreaking achievement. Vermont will become the first state in the nation to explicitly protect reproductive rights in its constitution and pave the way for other states to do the same.”