Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: State protects abortion access

As a teenager, I know that there is not a lot of information about reproductive rights and abortion rights in Vermont. I’m a junior in high school, and I have recently been learning a lot of how Vermont laws have made abortion accessible and affordable. I wanted to share about what I have learned and what Vermont has done in order to make abortion accessible for our communities.

State governments around the country have been continuously condemning the legislative infrastructures that support the ban on accessible and affordable access to abortions. But Vermont is the first state in the United States that guarantees the right to accessible affordable abortion. The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case, ruling state abortion bans unconstitutional, was passed in 1973. Around this time, in protest to this ruling, the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits Medicaid from funding nationwide abortions, was passed. Duing the next few decades, many more legislative bills and laws were placed on how accessible abortions could be. 

In 2007, the Supreme Court passed a law named The Federal Abortion Ban. This nationwide law criminalized abortions once the fetus is in the second trimester. But, throughout all the bans being placed on abortions, Vermont has remained the first, and one of the only states, to continue legalizing accessible and affordable abortions. When Roe v. Wade was passed, Vermont was fully in favor of the resources the bills passing provided for U.S. citizens. Even when the Federal Abortion Ban was enacted, Vermont fought against its implications and continued to provide accessible abortions. 

In 2022, when Roe v. Wade was overturned — meaning abortions were now not a constitutional right — Vermont passed a bill opposing this merely five months later. This law is named the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, it was enacted on Nov. 8, 2022. This law ensured the ultimate protection of reproductive freedom a state’s constitution could provide.

During the last 50 years, Vermont has been providing, fighting for, and advocating for accessible affordable abortion and reproductive rights. Vermont passed a law prohibiting health insurance companies to have a copay, deductible or cost sharing when purchasing contraceptives. This same law allows for people to gain contraceptives on the same day they try to access them, whether they be injections, intrauterine devices, or subdermal implants. Anyone has access to an abortion at any age, without the knowledge of a spouse, parent, or guardian. Also, Vermont implements the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, which allows for abortions in the third trimester, when medically necessary.

Although Vermont has accessible contraceptives and access to abortions, the ‘morning after pill,’ is something they are still working toward making 100% accessible for everyone. Vermont passed a bill allowing access to a chemical abortion pill. This pill is still non-FDA approved, but Vermont continues to insist on access to it in order to provide for everyone in every way. 

The federal government fights Vermont on its decision to allow access to the pill, but the state continues to allow access through mail and private clinics. To this day, Vermont is still working to provide reproductive freedoms. Democratic representatives and law makers are continuing to create bills to help protect reproductive freedoms in Vermont. Their end goal is to alter Vermont’s constitution so that it completely permits and provides accessible and affordable abortions and reproductive freedoms despite national legislative implications.

India Danyow

Middlebury

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