As a student intern with the Vermont Public Health Association, I want to comment on the recent Supreme Court decision that suppresses reproductive health rights, and highlight the public health consequences that will result from that decision.
Overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that gave U.S. citizens the right to a safe and legal abortion, is extremely concerning from a medical and public health standpoint. A Colorado University study, published in 2021, predicts that without access to safe and legal abortions, overall pregnancy-related deaths will rise by 21%. That increase will be 33% among Black populations. Banning abortions will not stop them but will cause them to be carried out in dangerous conditions.
This coming November, Vermonters will vote on if the state should amend its constitution to protect the right to an abortion. Currently, there are no restrictions on abortion in the state, and adding this amendment would prevent the passage of any future restrictive laws.
Voting to protect reproductive health rights in Vermont is meaningful on both the state and national levels. It would create more reproductive health security for state residents, and it would provide hope for women around the country. Vermont would be among the first states to protect reproductive rights within its constitution, which could serve as a model for other states to follow.
I encourage everyone to vote in favor of Prop 5, the Personal Reproductive Autonomy amendment, thus protecting reproductive abortion rights for the health and well-being of all.