Vt. abortion advocates and opponents explain their stances amid Women’s March

Published: Oct. 2, 2021 at 6:49 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Thousands of people across the country, including hundreds in Vermont walked in the first Women’s March of the Biden Administration Saturday. While the nation’s eyes are on the Supreme Court this week, Vermonters are looking to the legislature.

“We don’t want to go back. We want to go forward,” said Wendy Soliday of East Montpelier, who attended the Planned Parenthood Rally for Reproductive Freedom Saturday.

Pro-choice advocates gathered on the statehouse steps Saturday to make their message clear.

“It’s easy to sit back and do nothing, and then people won’t know this is happening. These rights are being taken away,” said Jamie O’Hare of East Montpelier.

These activists are rallying against the recent Texas abortion ban and taking a pro-choice stance before the Supreme Court reconvenes this week.

While every state is hosting a similar event Saturday, the one in Vermont is multifaceted.

Activists here are also advocating for Proposal 5 to be added to the Vermont Constitution, which would enshrine the right to an abortion in the Green Mountain State.

“I know that no matter what happens in Washington, we have to be prepared here in Vermont to do our part to protect our reproductive liberty for all Vermonters, said Lt. Governor Molly Gray, D-Vermont.

“We are a state, I think, that really believes in choice, and a lot of people here today are here showing we want the Supreme Court to hear us loud and clear,” said Sade Bolger of Planned Parenthood Northern New England.

“Just having legislators know that we are the future,” said Megan Schneider of the St. Michael’s College Feminist Club.

That vote could be on next November’s ballot, if Proposal 5 passes the House and Senate.

A few miles away in South Burlington was the Life Symposium, sponsored by the Vermont Right to Life Committee.

“I mean come on, that’s a human being there. It’s not a clump of tissue like Planned Parenthood would like us to believe,” said Shannara Johnson of Morrisville.

Johnson was one of nearly 200 Vermonters in attendance Saturday who oppose Proposal 5.

“I just think it’s unconscionable that we kill human beings with impunity for pure convenience, too,” said Johnson.

The goal of the symposium is to educate Vermonters on what the amendment means.

“Most Vermonters and most people have a position on abortion kind of somewhere in the middle, but unlike a Texas law, which could be changed, if Vermont passes this constitutional amendment, it could really prohibit the state from ever changing their abortion law,” said Sharon Toborg of Vermont Right to Life.

One speaker, Maureen Curley, says she used to be pro-choice but has lost too many people to suicide after the procedure.

“I feel very committed to ensuring that women are safe and their mental health is protected and that they’re adequately informed of the risks,” said Curley.

Advocates say they were there to listen, learn, and hopefully be the change.

“So many people think it’s just the old church ladies, but we are the pro-life generation. There are so many of us, and our voice needs to be heard, and we can make an impact,” said Anya Moorehouse of Mount Royal Academy.

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