This Saturday marks one year since the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade. In that time, some states have enacted tough new abortion laws, while Vermont went the other direction.
Officials from Planned Parenthood say Vermont is a place of privilege, having added reproductive care to the state constitution, while organizations opposed to abortion say Article 22 was not necessary.
June 24th, 2022 was a day many in the nation won’t forget. The Dobbs Decision gave individual states the authority to regulate abortion.
“Nationally, it’s pretty grim, lives are at stake, and of course the people who are most impacted by this are the people without a lot of resources,” says Lucy Leriche with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
She notes abortion is now illegal in 20 states and counting, but says the situation in Vermont is a different story.
“We’re able to tell a very different story where legislators, and Vermonters, and the Governor have all voiced really strong support for abortion rights,” says Leriche.
Vermonters overwhelmingly passed Article 22 this past November, adding reproductive rights to the state constitution.
The head of Vermont Right to Life says it was a time of much misinformation.
“They advertised it as urgently necessary even though abortion was legal, all the way back to 1972 in Vermont; and now in a constitutional amendment, it was never necessary, it was a deceptive way for the abortion business to expand in Vermont,” says Executive Director Mary Hahn Beerworth.
Leriche says, “the significance of amending the constitution in Vermont is really huge because this fight isn’t over. Abortion opponents are going to keep fighting, and people who believe in reproductive rights are going to keep fighting until everyone has access, including Planned Parenthood.”
But Right to Life says the emphasis should be on helping people raise an unexpected child or linking to adoption services. Beerworth says Planned Parenthood has no business in the Statehouse.
“Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in Vermont, in the United States, and the world. It’s a conflict of interest for them to be in the Statehouse, finding ways to increase the number of abortions performed here,” she says.
Beerworth adds, “we honor those who have made the difficult decision when faced with an unexpected pregnancy to carry to term.”
But Leriche believes abortion is a human right.
“We in Vermont are sitting in a place of great privilege with regards to being able to maintain and strengthen our rights. At the same time, that privilege comes with responsibility to make sure that we do whatever we can for people who don’t have that right,” notes Leriche.
She says the Planned Parenthood St. Johnsbury location expanded its service, now offering medication abortions. Leriche notes this is an important step in a low-resource area close to the state border, where people in New Hampshire can also access service.
Both organizations are hosting events this Saturday to commemorate one year since the Dobbs Decision. Right to Life is hosting a ‘BIRTHday picnic’ in Montpelier, celebrating the overturning of Roe V. Wade. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England will be unveiling an “abortion advocacy quilt” in North Bennington.