Abortion rights supporters rally at Vermont Statehouse

(WCAX)
Published: May. 21, 2019 at 10:02 AM EDT
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Vermonters Tuesday rallied outside the Statehouse against abortion restrictions and bans in other states like Alabama.

Republican Gov. Phil Scott Tuesday confirmed he will allow a bill to become law that protects abortion. The bill would be among the most expansive abortion rights laws in the country. It will allow for "the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion."

Some worry the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade as Alabama bans abortions, and Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi enact strong restrictions.

In all nearly, 300 anti-abortion bills have been introduced so far in 36 states.

Alabama's law is set to take effect in six months, but it faces legal challenges.

Reporter Céline McArthur spoke with WCAX legal analyst Jerry O'Neill about the new restrictive laws in other states.

Jerry O'Neill: The status of it is that those who passed the laws, knew that they wouldn't go into effect, perhaps ever. They're certain that the U.S. District Court is going to say it's unconstitutional because of Roe versus Wade. They know the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is going to say unconstitutional. What they're hoping to do is to get the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court. That's the whole design behind this thing. And then they're seeking to have that be a basis to overturn Roe versus Wade, but they know it's not going into effect anytime soon. Probably for years, if it ever does.

Reporter Céline McArthur: What's the motivation behind a legal strategy like that?

Jerry O'Neill: The legal strategy is one that's been developing over time. What they want to do is confront the issue. They want to give a newly composed Supreme Court the opportunity to overrule Roe versus Wade. So that's the strategy. They want to get the case in front of the court. They've decided this is the time to do it.

Reporter Céline McArthur: Do you think it will happen?

Jerry O'Neill: I think it's a mistake right now to do it for a number of reasons. It's a political year. The Supreme Court historically does not like to make a political decision and this is on some level during an election year. On top of that, it's much more likely to happen incrementally, than it is for a general overruling of Roe versus Wade-- if that ever happens.

Speakers in Montpelier Tuesday shared why abortion was right for them. One said she was unable to get an abortion in 1975 and had to drive 60 miles in California to sign up.

"My body is my choice, I get to choose what I want to do," one speaker said. "We all should."

None of the new abortion restrictions have taken effect yet.