Bill to protect abortion rights in Vermont set for public hearing Wednesday

Local News

Lawmakers in Montpelier are scheduled to hear public testimony Wednesday on a bill that would protect a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy in Vermont.

House Bill 57 would “recognize as a fundamental right the freedom of reproductive choice and to prohibit public entities from interfering with or restricting the right of an individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy.”

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Human Services, which is set to hear from the public at 4:30 pm in the well of the House Chamber.

H. 57 was introduced by Reps. Ann Pugh and Maxine Grad, and has dozens of co-sponsors from both parties.

Pro-life advocates say the bill would not change the status of abortion, which is protected by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But supporters say the political climate in Washington and a new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court have rekindled fears that reproductive rights could be overturned.

Some lawmakers have expressed concerns about the lack of restrictions in the bill, but Gov. Phil Scott said he supports the legislation.

“I am supportive of a woman’s right to choose, and I’m supportive of Roe v. Wade,” Scott said last month. “This (bill) is in response to federal action, or the federal fear of action, to roll back Roe v. Wade, and I think that should be protected.”

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