BURLINGTON, Vt. – A proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution that would guarantee access to abortion is on pace to reach a statewide vote in November 2022.
Proposition 5 is the second of two measures taken by Vermont legislators to guarantee access to reproductive services, but unlike bill H.57 that passed last legislative session, the process will be lengthy. The amendment must pass both the Senate and House in two consecutive legislatures, and then go to the voters.
In preparation for the vote, an awareness campaign has already launched. The Chittenden County Action Team formed earlier this year, and held a community dinner on Wednesday with Planned Parenthood Vermont.
Sam Prue has been leading the group’s engagement efforts, and said they plan on reaching out to voters who remain undecided on the amendment.
“We know it’s a national conversation and a polarizing conversation, and we know that’s going to be central for how we do this work,” Prue said.
Several Vermont legislators attended the event, including Sen. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden). Lyons said turnover in the Supreme Court has made the future legal status of abortion uncertain, and the debates inside the Vermont State House more heated.
“I hear arguments on both sides that are legitimate, but not confusing the issue is going to be a challenge for us,” Lyons said. “The landscape may be different, but I don’t think it will change dramatically in Vermont.”
In April, a House committee held a public hearing on Proposition 5. Those against the amendment outnumbered those in support of it. Many of the public hearings for H.57 also featured passionate testimony from both sides of the issue.