Unlike some other states in America where abortion bans have been signed into law, the Green Mountain State is making an effort to protect abortion rights. A bill in Vermont's legislature vows to respect people's autonomy and right to reproductive health care. And it looks like the state's Republican Gov. Phil Scott has signaled that he won't stop the bill from becoming law, CNN reported Wednesday.
Since the beginning of 2019, multiple states across America have proposed anti-abortion measures, eliciting criticism from reproductive health care advocates. But this probably won't happen in Vermont. Scott's spokeswoman, Rebecca Kelley, emailed CNN that the governor "is and has been pro-choice and believes in a woman's right to choose." Kelley added that Scott "has ruled out vetoing the bill — it will become law." Even if Scott doesn’t sign the measure, the bill could pass.
The measure, officially known as H. 57 in Vermont legislature, passed both the state House and Senate earlier in 2019, per CNN. It would "recognize as a fundamental right the freedom of reproductive choice" and "prohibit public entities from interfering with or restricting the right of an individual to terminate the individual's pregnancy."
Mincing no words, the pro-choice measure also states that it would safeguard the "rights to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization or to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to obtain an abortion."
To be clear, the bill has not reached Scott's desk yet, based on Kelley's statements to CNN. When it does, the Vermont governor will have five days to make a definitive move on the measure. If Scott does not act on the bill within that timeline, the bill will automatically become law.
The five-day marker may strike some as peculiar, but it's mandated by the Vermont Constitution, which requires the governor to take action on a bill on his or her desk within that allotted time.
For what it's worth, Scott has expressed disagreement with members of his own political party when it comes to abortion access. As you may already know, states like Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Utah, and Alabama have passed various restrictions on abortion access since the start of 2019.
According to WAMC, just a few days after Alabama passed its ban on abortion on May 15, Scott said he did not see eye to eye with GOP members who've supported anti-abortion bills. "That's extreme, in the opposite direction," the Republican governor said. "You know I'm pro-choice. I believe in a woman's right to choose."
On Thursday, Scott added, "I think we’re seeing in real time nationally the fears of many what’s happening across our country in individual states. So I believe we need to protect a woman’s right to choose." Supporters of these anti-abortion measures have openly said that their objective is to ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that prohibits state bans on abortion.
At the press conference, Scott added that he did not believe the government should have a say in a woman's right to choose. It "should stay out of it," he said, per WAMC. It's that kind of sentiment that seems to be clearly present in H. 57.