The state Legislature is considering a bill right now that would protect the right that Vermont women hold to obtain safe, legal abortions, protections that have been in place for the past 46 years.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation surrounding this bill. At best it is rooted in willful ignorance, but I suspect there are darker forces at work here, intentionally disseminating lies to further a dangerous agenda to threaten women’s rights.

The fact is that H.57 won’t change how, where or when legal abortions are accessed or provided in Vermont. It simply takes existing rights and preserves them in statute.

We have had access to legal abortions in Vermont since they were decriminalized back in 1972, a year before Roe v. Wade was decided. But nothing in Vermont statute specifically addresses a woman’s right to obtain an abortion.

The purpose of H.57 is to proactively protect women’s existing reproductive rights from the looming attacks by the Trump-Pence administration and an increasingly conservative U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, this bill protects an individual’s right to access contraception, choose or refuse sterilization, or give birth to a child.

The system for providing safe and legal abortions in Vermont has worked well for decades because we trust women and we trust doctors. Abortion providers are rigorously trained and educated, and they adhere to the same principals and medical code of ethics that all health care professionals adhere to.

For 46 years we have trusted women and their health care providers to make reproductive decisions that are best for them. We can’t afford to move backwards.

As a Vermont voter, I am asking the Legislature and Gov. Phil Scott not to succumb to the lies and propaganda being churned out by opponents of H.57. This bill isn’t dangerous — it is a protection of the status quo and it is absolutely necessary in light of the threat posed by those in power in Washington, D.C.

Vermont has always been a leader when it comes to protecting the rights of its residents. Our legislators were elected to make decisions based on facts and logic, not propaganda. I trust that they will take this responsibility seriously, focus on the facts and pass this critical legislation. And when it passes and makes its way to the governor’s desk, I urge him to proudly sign it.

Elizabeth Sirjane is a Shrewsbury resident.

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