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Vermont and Vermonters — This is Our Chance to Protect Abortion

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By Catherine Coteus

The future of reproductive freedom is at stake. Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which challenges the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law banning abortions after 15 weeks. The Mississippi law is part of a growing trend among states to restrict, dismantle, hinder, and eliminate abortion access that was firmly established in the U.S. through extensive case precedent that bases the right to an abortion in the Constitution. 

Now all of that is under threat. Even here in Vermont, where such a restrictive law is unlikely to be passed, we have insufficient legal and social protections in place to support people seeking abortion access in the current political climate.

What we need now, more than ever, are wider and more complete pathways to ensure people get the care they need when they need it. Want to join the fight?  Here are two clear steps to protect abortion in Vermont right now.

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The first step is continuing to bolster current support systems already in place. Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom was incorporated in 2002, and I’ve served on its board of directors since 2017. Our mission is simple: we provide financial assistance to help Vermonters pay for abortion through grassroots
fundraising, working to equalize access and promote economic justice. We are an organization run entirely by volunteers, and we have a simple, yet effective way of operating — we raise money and give it away to those who need it. You can learn more about our work at vermontaccess.org.

The second step is to amend the Vermont Constitution to explicitly protect the right to choose — the Reproductive Liberty Amendment (Proposal 5) is slated to be voted on this legislative session. Let your representatives know you support it. Now.

Vermonters have an opportunity to put in place the protections and support systems to preserve this essential right before it’s too late. Affordable, unrestricted access to care should be decided here, created here, and fostered here, not left up to nine robed people in Washington D.C. 

Catherine Coteus is a mother and small business owner living in Montpelier, and is also a board member of Vermont Access to Reproductive Freedom.

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