Reproductive Rights in Vermont

The Right has spent decades attacking abortion access with restrictive and unnecessary regulations, violent attacks at health clinics, the prosecution of individual women, and the setting a legal framework to bestow “personhood” on fetuses. And now, with Texas attempting to put what abortion rights we have back in the air, we need to keep the pressure on both the states and the courts to uphold bodily autonomy.

As socialists, we must see these attempts as what they are: race-, gender-, and class-based attacks on the most vulnerable. The Texas ban and others like it will impact poor and working-class women the most. We need a socialist feminist struggle for free, quality reproductive care. We need an end to health care profiteering and a transition to improved Medicare for All.

In Vermont, we have a friendlier political environment regarding reproductive rights, but we cannot assume that what needs doing will get done. The protection afforded by Roe v. Wade, imperiled by the whims of the courts, is not yet enshrined in state law.

Abortion is absolutely vital health care. While the number of abortions in Vermont has been on the decline (in part thanks to the availability of contraceptives and comprehensive sex education), we absolutely must ensure that any person who needs an abortion in Vermont can obtain one. This means supporting the few clinics we have, increasing accessibility through things like abortion funds and travel assistance, and bulletproofing the legal status of reproductive rights in our state.

Prop 5 is a proposal to amend the Vermont Constitution stating that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course.” The ballot measure would prohibit the constitutional right from being denied or infringed unless there is a compelling state interest, which would need to be achieved using the least restrictive means. If passed, Vermont will be the first state in the country to explicitly protect reproductive liberty in its constitution.

Prop 5 must be passed by two consecutive legislatures before going to Vermont voters in November 2022.

We encourage our members to support Prop 5 at every opportunity. We have endorsed an upcoming event at which you can show support, and hope you will join us in keeping an eye on this issue.

-Rachel S., CVT DSA

To learn more, we recommend the following resources:

Season of the Bitch: “Abort the Supreme Court” and other recent episodes

Planned Parenthood Action Fund: Summary of Prop 5

Vermont Public Radio: “Understanding the Abortion Debate in Vermont”

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