Rallies are being held across Vermont in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Church Street in Burlington, hundreds of Vermonters showed their opposition and many expressed that they are losing faith in the courts and feel as though their voices aren’t being heard at the national level. “It saved a lot of people’s lives, and I think the repeal of it will cost a lot of people their lives,” shared one individual.
Disappointment is a prevailing statement among many, and one Vermonter, Michelle Borbas believes her autonomy is in danger. “There are people making decisions about women’s bodies that really don’t have any business making decisions about women’s bodies.” Borbas also worries about those most in need. “I work with families that are in high poverty, I have for the last 20 years, and I see what the impact of having children when they really can’t afford it is on that family.”
Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray says she is still in disbelief of the news. “It still feels dystopian, I can’t believe the decision is real, but if I’m honest, we knew this was coming. The urgency now around the action in Congress and doing all we can to sure up respect and protection for fundamental rights is so critical in this moment.”
“It’s the first time I’m aware of in the history of our country, that the Supreme Court, that is supposed to protect our rights, has restricted our rights,” said Congressman Peter Welch. “That is an extraordinary action by the Supreme Court.”
Planned Parenthood New England believes the court’s action could just be the beginning. “This is a human rights issue. This is just the first stop. We can see the Supreme Court has other populations in its crosshairs and this is just the beginning.”
In Montpelier, a Planned Parenthood-led pro-abortion rally ensued at the statehouse. While the constitutional precedent that Roe v. Wade set has been overturned, in recent years, Vermont lawmakers have advocated for and enacted abortion rights in their state legislatures, allowing abortions to take place legally.
Mary Beerworth, the Executive Director of Vermont Right to Life said, “It was a long time coming because right from the get-go, constitutional experts on both sides of the abortion debate have long said that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and poorly written and needed to be overturned. Vermonters must understand that Vermont has legalized abortion for all nine months of pregnancy, unrestricted, unregulated, and the court case today changes nothing about our law.”
Multiple state officials released statements after the ruling to ensure that sentiment. “A woman’s right to choose is a principle we will uphold in Vermont, and we, in fact, have prepared for this unfortunate outcome,” shared Governor Phil Scott in a statement. “In 2019, I signed a law that affirmed the fundamental rights of all women and ensured reproductive health decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider. That does not change with this ruling.”
Scott also promoted Prop 5, a proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution that would guarantee the right to personal reproductive freedom for all Vermonters, adding to the current constitution. “Additionally, in November, Vermonters will be able to further solidify this action with a constitutional amendment on the ballot. As I have said, I will be voting for that amendment, and I encourage Vermonters to stand up for the rights of women and do the same.”
Vermont’s House Speaker Jill Krowinski is also among those pushing voters to approve Prop 5. “There are two things that people can do right now, pass this reproductive liberty constitutional amendment and elect legislators who are going to protect people’s fundamental rights to abortion care.” In a statement released on Friday, Krowinski stated that Prop 5 would make Vermont “the first state in the nation to constitutionally solidify these rights.”