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11 Vermont Legislators Join Nearly 900 State Legislators In Defending Abortion Rights

VERMONT and WASHINGTON, D.C. - On Monday, State Innovation Exchange’s Reproductive Freedom Leadership Council — a network of state legislators working to advance reproductive health, rights, and justice — organized an amicus brief in support of legal abortion rights in an upcoming Supreme Court case likely to decide the future of reproductive freedom in the United States. With 12 percent of the country’s state legislators signing on, the brief represents the strongest mobilization of state legislators to date in support of abortion access. In total, 897 state legislators across the country, including the 11 Vermont state legislators below, added their support:

  • Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden County

  • Rep. Erin Brady, D-Chittenden-2

  • Rep. Brian Cina, P/D-Chittenden-6-4

  • Rep. Selene Colburn, P/D -Chittenden-6-4, Leader of Progressive House Caucus

  • Rep. Mari Cordes, D/P-Addison-4

  • Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Washington-7, Chair of House Judiciary Committee

  • Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, P/D-Chittenden-6-2

  • Rep. Ann Pugh, D-Chittenden-7-2, Chair of House Human Services Committee

  • Rep. Barbara Rachelson, D-Chittenden-6-6

  • Rep. Taylor Small, P/D-Chittenden-6-7

  • Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky, P/D-Chittenden 8-1

The Mississippi law at the heart of the case, Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization, banned abortion services after 15 weeks of pregnancy — well before the 24-week precedent established by Roe v. Wade. Supreme Court arguments will come on the heels of Texas’ law that effectively bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and emboldens citizens to surveil and harass anyone under claims of noncompliance. The laws in Texas and Mississippi are just two of nearly 600 abortion restriction bills introduced in 2021—the worst year for state legislative attacks on abortion since the Roe decision. The degradation of reproductive liberty in states across the country will carry the most devastating impacts for BIPOC and low-income communities. While those with access to resources, transportation, and other supports may be able to travel out of state to access abortion care, individuals who already experience difficulty accessing adequate health care services are going to be disproportionately impacted. In Vermont, legislators are working to advance Proposition 5, a proposed amendment that would make Vermont the first state to enshrine reproductive liberty in the state constitution. After passing by a 26-4 vote in the Senate in 2021, Prop 5 will move through the House this session. If passed, Vermont voters will see this initiative on their ballots during the 2022 election cycle. Below are testimonials from many of the Vermont legislators who signed onto the brief: “Reproductive justice is critical to a person’s health and economic and social well-being. I am committed to working for Vermonters’ fundamental right to make their healthcare decisions with privacy and dignity.” - Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Washington-7, Chair of House Judiciary Committee “Vermont’s policy has long recognized that decisions related to reproductive health care and abortion are deeply personal and private and are best left to the individual and their health care provider. I am committed to ensuring that this reproductive freedom continues for Vermonters and for all individuals no matter what state they live in.” - Rep. Ann Pugh, D-Chittenden-7-2, Chair of House Human Services Committee “Vermonters should feel an immense sense of pride that our legislature overwhelmingly supports reproductive freedom and that it will be enshrined in our constitution. We are in the fight for equitable access to abortion and health care for the nation.” - Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale, D-Chittenden County "Reproductive health is an issue between an individual and their health care provider. I am proud to join hundreds of elected legislators from around the country in committing to protect the health and wellbeing of our families and communities." - Rep. Erin Brady, D-Chittenden-2 “As a nurse, I know reproductive rights, including abortion rights, and are an essential part of health care. We must protect these rights and fight to increase access for everyone.” - Rep. Mari Cordes, D/P-Addison-4 “This is a dangerous step backward for our country. We must take action. Our futures are tied together in the fight for safe, affordable, and legal access to abortion in this country - from Vermont to Texas to Mississippi." - Rep. Emma Mulvaney-Stanak, P/D-Chittenden-6-2 “I am proud I‘m one of the 900 legislators who signed on to preserve safe abortions, but angry these rights are taken away from so many people again. Without legal protection, the wealthy will still get them, and the poor will resort to having dangerous and unsafe abortions with coat hangers and in back alleys.” - Rep. Barbara Rachelson, D-Chittenden-6-6 "We all deserve the right to live our lives with dignity and to choose how we use our bodies without government intrusion. Let us be clear that policies that aim to restrict safe access to abortion will not be tolerated here in Vermont, nor in any state across our country." - Rep. Taylor Small, P/D-Chittenden-6-7 “Autonomy over our bodies and our health care choices is paramount to our human rights. Taking steps backward and taking reproductive justice away is an abuse meant only to control people. We must stand up for reproductive justice.” - Rep. Tanya Vyhovsky, P/D-Chittenden 8-1 ###

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