Lawmakers push for protection of abortion rights in Vermont

Published: Jan. 22, 2019 at 5:19 PM EST
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Lawmakers have introduced a bill to make obtaining an abortion a right in Vermont in case Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

More than 90 House members have co-sponsored a bill to codify in statute that it is legal to get an abortion in Vermont. Legislative leaders say Vermont doesn't have a law on the books stating that.

With a U.S. Supreme Court holding a conservative majority, legislative leaders want to ensure abortion remains legal in Vermont.

Lawmakers are also seeking an amendment to the Vermont Constitution to protect the right to an abortion, but that process takes several years. Meagan Gallagher of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England says it's up to the states to take action to preserve abortion rights.

"States are a critical backstop to the further erosion and restriction of reproductive health care. We must pass the House abortion rights bill and the Senate equal rights constitutional amendment to ensure that reproductive rights are protected in Vermont," Gallagher said.

"When somebody's made the very important, very personal, often very difficult decision to have an abortion, it is not for us to interfere," said Rep. Mitzi Johnson, D-Vt. House Speaker.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott says he also supports the idea.