Out-of-staters increasingly look to Vermont for reproductive health care

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 9:36 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade last month, many states took immediate action to restrict access to abortions. As a result, those in need of reproductive health care had to start looking beyond their home states, with many of them turning to Vermont.

“It’s been just over a few weeks and we’ve already seen the harm caused by the U.S. Supreme Court Decision,” said Eileen Sullivan from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. She says since June 24th, the organization has received more than a dozen calls from states like Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas to schedule abortion services. “Patients shouldn’t have to travel hundreds of miles to access care, but for millions of Americans, that’s their new reality.”

The organization’s data shows a 60% increase of people seeking IUDs and other forms of birth control. Another trend following the Dobbs Decision was panic purchasing of morning-after pills. Vermont pharmacies didn’t feel the same impact as other states and said they were prepared. “I think we might’ve seen a bit of an uptick but with Vermont’s laws, we’re still in pretty good shape,” said Kyle Maxwell, a pharmacist at Lakeside Pharmacy in Burlington. “We’re always going to try to carry Plan-B and generic products for people who need it most.”

Larger chains like CVS and Walgreens temporarily limited purchases of morning-after products. CVS has since lifted its restrictions, while Walgreens still has a limit of 15 for online orders.

Planned Parenthood is also advocating for Vermont’s Proposition 5 to be passed, adding abortion access as a right enshrined in the Vermont Constitution. “It’s important to protect reproductive rights in our constitution so these rights are protected long term,” Sullivan said.

Prop. 5 will be on the ballot before voters in November. If it passes, Vermont will be the first state with a constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion.

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