Vermont Conversation: What happens to abortion rights after Roe?

Several hundred people gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade abortion decision on June 24. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and end the constitutional right to an abortion, half of women in the U.S. live in states where they are at imminent risk of losing abortion access.

Against this backdrop, Vermont is moving to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. In November, Vermonters will vote on Proposal 5, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, which states in part that “an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed.” California voters are also considering a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights this year.

How will overturning Roe v. Wade change the landscape of abortion rights in Vermont and New England?

For answers, we turned to two people who are on the front lines of the reproductive rights movement locally and nationally: Lucy Leriche, vice president of public policy for Vermont at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and James Duff Lyall, executive director of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“It's pretty devastating to go to bed feeling like a person and wake up the next day and all of a sudden discover that your country does not consider you a person anymore,” Leriche said. “That you are a vessel. That your function is kind of analogous to livestock in terms of the kinds of rights that you have over your own body. It's very personal. It's devastating, and it's infuriating.”

“We can't normalize any of this," Lyall said. Fighting for reproductive rights is "going to take voting. It's going to take organizing. It's going to take local, state and federal activism and engagement, and sustained political engagement. 

"That's what the right has done for a very long time and very successfully. … That's the only way forward.”

Disclosure: David Goodman is a board member of the ACLU of Vermont. 

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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