PRESS RELEASE: House Advances Constitutional Amendment to Protect Reproductive Freedoms for Vermonters
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2019
Contact: Katherine Levasseur
VERMONT HOUSE ADVANCES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO PROTECT REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOMS FOR VERMONTERS
Montpelier, VT - Today, the Vermont House of Representatives approved PR.5, a Vermont constitutional amendment that protects personal reproductive autonomy, on a vote of 106-38.
“In this turbulent time, we must have clarity,” said House Committee on Human Services Chair, Representative Ann Pugh (D-South Burlington). “The lack of a definitive enumeration of reproductive liberty in Vermont’s Constitution, the threats to Roe v. Wade being weakened or overturned by a very conservative U.S. Supreme Court, and the cloud of multi-state efforts to erode reproductive autonomy all build a strong case for Proposition 5. For more than 40 years, Vermonters have relied on the protections offered by Supreme Court case law to support how we value personal autonomy in reproductive health decisions and we have intentionally chosen not to limit or restrict them. We have long recognized that decisions related to reproductive health care and abortion are deeply personal and private, and are best left to a woman and her doctor.”
House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-South Hero) added, “the Vermont Constitution is the standard of measure by which laws are judged. If, someday, reproductive freedoms for Vermonters are challenged or restricted, as we are seeing in many other states, our courts will have clear guidance on the fundamental importance of reproductive liberty for our state. Earlier this year, the House passed statutory language in H.57 ensuring that women’s access to abortion continues to remain unconstrained by law with a strong vote of 106-37. The bill and the constitutional amendment go hand-in-hand to guarantee Vermonters’ access to reproductive liberty both in statute and in the constitution. We expect the Senate to take action on H.57 today.”
The proposed constitutional amendment now awaits consideration by the 2021-2022 legislature. If it passes both chambers again next biennium, the question will be on the ballot in 2022 for the approval of Vermont voters.