Vermont lawmakers hold public hearing on abortion

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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Lawmakers are holding a hearing Wednesday evening on amending the state's constitution to make accessing an abortion a right.

The Senate has already passed what's known as Proposal 5 by a 28-2 margin. Now, the House is considering the change. If it passes the House this year, each chamber will vote a second time in the next biennium. If it passes again, there will be a statewide referendum for voters to weigh in.

The amendment refers to the right of personal reproductive autonomy.

Mary Beerworth with Vermont Right to Life says lawmakers should have made clear in the amendment's language that it refers to abortion.

"Despite testimony from Vermont Right to Life, the attorney general's office and the ACLU, they declined, all five members of the committee, declined to use the word abortion," Beerworth said. "Basically, it seems to me that they're trying to mask a word that isn't a pleasant word. Abortion does not conjure about something pleasant. We all understand that."

The Wednesday, April 17, hearing is in the House chamber from 5-7 p.m.