Vermont is already beloved by women as the home of Ben & Jerry's, but the Green Mountain state just got even more appealing to many of us. A new bill introduced by state senators in Vermont affirms a woman's right to have an abortion. The legislation would fully decriminalize the procedure, likely paving the way for more pro-choice legislation.
It should be noted that Vermont's current abortion restrictions predate Roe v. Wade, making them invalid. But the symbolic gesture of formally striking those restrictions from the books with this bill is significant. And then there's the title of the bill: "H. 508, An Act Related to Recognizing the Right to Have an Abortion." So that's pretty opaque.
A similar bill was introduced in Vermont's House of Representatives last year, meant to "guarantee a woman's unrestricted right to terminate her pregnancy," but it died in committee. By comparison, the new bill is a weaker version of that one: while it repeals the old laws formally, it doesn't fully guarantee women have the right to have an abortion — rather, it simply recognizes it. However, the three-quarters measure might mean the bill goes further than the previous attempt.
Meanwhile, down south in New York, lawmakers are working on turning the Roe v Wade decision into law as part of the 10-point Women's Equality Act that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already said he'd support. The WEA didn't fly last year, but passage is expected later this year.