Vermont leaders immediately responded to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday to overturn the long-standing Roe v. Wade decision, which will now restrict abortion rights for millions of women across the country.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy: Today’s opinion from a narrow majority of the Court is not the end of abortion. It is the end of a woman’s right to safe reproductive health care. It is the end of women’s choice. It sets us back. It does not move us forward. What message does this send to women? That their choice — that their right to govern their bodies — doesn’t matter? That politicians know better?
State legislatures cannot write their way through the myriad of circumstances that can arise for women in pregnancy. These states, though, say today that they know best. The Court, today, says that those state legislatures know best. No, not the 163 million women in this country. Not a woman about her own body. Government knows best.
Americans come to court to find justice. To find protection under the law. Today, the Supreme Court abandons that role. I fear for what it means for the progress we have fought hard to achieve. For our more perfect union. For generations to come.
Lucy Leriche, Vice President of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund: By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course for our own lives. This dangerous and chilling decision will have devastating consequences across the country, forcing people to travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles for care or remain pregnant. In Vermont, you can still access an abortion today.
Vermont is taking a bold step to protect reproductive rights here at home, where we are working to pass the Reproductive Liberty Amendment in November. The Reproductive Liberty Amendment would amend Vermont’s constitution to protect every person's right to make their own reproductive decisions, like whether and when to become pregnant, use temporary or permanent birth control, or seek abortion care without interference from politicians. If passed, it will protect these rights long-term.
It is a dark day for our country, but this is far from over. We will not compromise on our bodies, our dignity, or our freedom. Vermonters should know that Planned Parenthood will always fight for you, and we will not back down. Together, we will protect our freedoms.”
Vermont Right to Life: Constitutional experts on both sides of the debate over abortion have long criticized the Roe decision as having created a right that did not exist and for broadly over reaching their jurisdiction. Those errors have been corrected today.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade has no effect on abortion in Vermont. In Vermont, abortion has been legal since the 1972 Vermont Supreme Court case in Beecham v. Leahy. In 2019, Act 47 created a statute that further protects unlimited, unregulated abortion through all nine months of pregnancy irrespective of the US Supreme Court decision in Dobbs.
“Extremist proponents of abortion rights in Vermont will use the Supreme Court decision to attempt to rally support for passage of Proposal 5/Article 22," stated Mary Hahn Beerworth, Executive Director of Vermont Right to Life. "Proponents must not be allowed to mislead Vermonters into believing that ‘Article 22 is needed,’ or that the amendment simply ‘codifies Roe v. Wade,’ when in fact the amendment far exceeds the holding in Roe."
U.S. Rep. Peter Welch: The choice to end a pregnancy is personal. It is a choice that should be made by a patient, with her doctor, and her loved ones, not by the unelected members of any court or by an elected official. The overturning of Roe v Wade by the Supreme Court is the biggest attack on women’s rights in a generation and will rob women of their right to chart their own futures, for themselves and for their families. This decision is a disgrace. I am angry, and I am worried for the health and wellbeing of women across this country who are no longer guaranteed their reproductive freedom.
But we cannot be consumed by despair. We have to keep fighting to protect abortion access for all American women, regardless of where they live. That means codifying the right to safe and legal abortion by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act in the Senate. To do that, we must overturn the filibuster, so that the Senate can finally reflect the will of the majority of Americans and ensure the right to safe and legal abortion.
I will not give up this fight. I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with women across the country to restore abortion rights nationwide.