The Vermont abortion rights bill (H.57), currently before the Senate, protects a woman’s right to have an abortion — the same right she’s had in Vermont for 46 years. I strongly support this bill because all people of Vermont should be able to be in charge of decisions about their bodies — and that includes access to safe and legal abortion.

I’m encouraged that the bill passed in the House of Representatives, and now the Senate must pass H.57 to send a clear message to all Vermonters that they stand for the protection and preservation of reproductive rights.

Why is this necessary? Why now? Because the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade in 2019 and if that happens, abortion rights will be determined by the laws of each state. H.57 states that no government entity can interfere with, or restrict, a consenting individual’s right to abortion care.

I respect an individual’s right to their own opinion regarding abortion. However, at different stages in a pregnancy, a woman’s health — not the political agenda of others — should inform important health care decisions. Politicians are not medical experts.

While none of us should have to justify our personal health care decisions, abortion later in pregnancy is rare and most often occurs under complex circumstances wherein a woman and her doctor need every medical option available. Abortions later in pregnancy most commonly involve severe fetal anomalies and serious risks to the woman’s health. A woman must remain free to weigh all options relevant to her unique and specific condition while in consultation with the people she trusts, including medical providers, loved ones, counselors and religious leaders.

I ask all Vermonters who believe in the protection and preservation of reproductive rights to write to your senators and urge them to pass H.57.

Randall Perkins

Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund board member

Manchester Center

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