We Need to Know

To the editor:

We need to know where our elected leaders stand on the issue of abortion rights. I am old enough to have grown up in a world before Roe, where unplanned pregnancies of friends and family had terrible consequences. Much later in life, I had a life-threatening medical issue during a pregnancy. Although Vermont now has a legislative majority that is working to protect reproductive rights, some of our legislators want to enact restrictive laws, which would mean a painful experience like mine could be in the hands of lawyers, police, and prosecutors rather than my medical advisors and my family.

With the new districts now in effect in Vermont, the Orleans-4 district includes Albany, Glover, Craftsbury, and Greensboro. We now elect one representative, not two.

Rep. Katherine Sims has been an advocate for improving the lives of Vermont’s families and children, before and during her term in the Vermont House. From improving school nutrition, while helping Vermont farms, to supporting legislation for paid family and medical leave, a child tax credit, child care financial assistance, equitable broadband availability, climate change legislation, and Prop 5, which we all will vote on in November, to amend the state constitution to guarantee access to abortion, contraceptives and other reproductive care.

Rep. Vicky Strong, in stark contrast to Rep. Sims, voted against Prop 5/ the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, and she has also sponsored five bills this past biennium (four as lead sponsor) to restrict access to abortion, including adding regulations for abortion providers, adding notification and ultrasound requirements for clients, banning and criminalizing abortions for genetic abnormalities, and adding a fetal personhood designation at 24 weeks.

Ironically, Vicky was the lead sponsor of a bill to protect “bodily autonomy” when it comes to refusing medical procedures or vaccinations. But she thinks the government should have a say in medical care during pregnancy and when or whether to have children.

Giving legislative control of abortion to states, as the Supreme Court has done, means that more bills restricting access are likely to be introduced in every state, including Vermont, with the possibility of creating more confusion and more legal rather than medical or individual hurdles for pregnant people. That’s why it’s important to send Katherine Sims back to the legislature next session, so she can keep advocating for reproductive rights. I hope you will join me in supporting Katherine at the ballot box in November.

Judy Davis

Craftsbury