Montpelier, Vt., Jan 25, 2019 / 12:01 pm
A bill was introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives Tuesday that would prohibit public entities from interfering with or restricting women's access to abortion.
The Freedom of Choice Act, H.57, was introduced Jan. 22 by Reps. Ann Pugh and Maxine Grad. It has 91 co-sponsors in the 150-member body, and was referred to the Committee on Human Services.
The bill is meant to “safeguard the right to abortion” by ensuring it is not “denied, restricted, or infringed.”
It asserts that “every individual” has a fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization, that “every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, give birth to a child, or to have an abortion”, and that “a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus shall not have independent rights under Vermont law.”
In addition to all branches of the state government, the bill would also apply to municipal governments in Vermont.
The bill was introduced the same day that New York passed its Reproductive Health Act; the anniversary of the 1973 US Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
Left-leaning states have moved to enact stronger abortion rights since October's appointment of Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice to replace the retiring justice Anthony Kennedy.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that “in the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v. Wade and women's reproductive rights, I promised that we would enact this critical legislation within the first 30 days of the new session - and we got it done,” shortly after signing the legislation.