Vermont

‘That Right Needs to Exist:' Vt. Abortion Patients Weigh in on Supreme Court Ruling

Access to abortions in Vermont will remain in place, even after the Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade

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Vermont already has laws on the books to protect abortion rights, but as the last step in a years-long process, Vermont voters in November will be now asked whether to enshrine reproductive liberty in the state constitution, to guarantee access to birth control, as well as choices around when to get pregnant or end a pregnancy.

Legal and safe abortions will remain available in Vermont, even after Friday’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Protections are in place at the state level in Vermont, and voters across the Green Mountain State will have the opportunity in November to weigh in on whether those should be permanently enshrined in the Vermont Constitution.

In the meantime, two women who accessed abortions in Vermont spoke to NECN & NBC10 Boston about why they consider it vital for the procedures to remain available — everywhere.

"I had a college friend who almost died of a back-alley abortion," remembered Sandy Wynne, thinking back to the 1960s in Burlington — before Roe was the law of the land. 

In the 1980s, when Wynne said she was a single mom of two, she also had an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

"I had a very safe, legal abortion and went on with my life," Wynne recalled.

The businesswoman said she is so grateful she had that access. After Friday’s announcement from the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Wynne said she worries about the impacts on people who can’t afford to travel for an abortion if their states ban them.

"You don’t realize what you’ve lost 'til you’ve lost it," Wynne said.

A different Vermont woman, who asked that NECN & NBC10 Boston keep her identity private, revealed in an interview she had an abortion last year. She said she wants others who aren’t looking to become parents to be able to safely end a pregnancy — as Vermonters still can.

"That right needs to exist— that people can make those choices," the Chittenden County resident said, adding she felt well-supported by Planned Parenthood staff as well as by her partner and other loved ones. 

"It was a positive experience for me," the recent patient said. "Of course, it was a complex one, and there were a lot of emotions involved in it, but at the end of the day, I felt really lucky to be able to make that choice and to have so many people in a variety of capacities supporting me along the way."

As the final step in a years-long process, Vermont voters in November will be asked whether the state should enshrine reproductive liberty in the Vermont Constitution — to guarantee access to birth control, as well as to choices around when to get pregnant or end a pregnancy.

"If passed, it will protect these rights long-term," said Lucy Leriche of Vermont for Reproductive Liberty. "We will not compromise on our bodies, our dignity, or our freedom."

However, opponents, including the Vermont Right to Life Committee, don’t want taxpayers to have to fund certain procedures. They also fear future policy changes will become impossible.

"An unborn child would be treated as less than the 215 plants and animals that have protection — legal protection — in the state of Vermont," lamented Mary Hahn Beerworth of the Vermont Right to Life Committee.

As for Sandy Wynne, who came of age pre-Roe, she said she expects the conservative U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will spark a new era of activism for rights nationwide.

"You’ve got to keep fighting," Wynne said.