The Mississippi law argues before the U.S. Supreme Court this week is widely considered the most significant abortion case in half a century.
If upheld by the court, advocates fear the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, affirming the right to abortion in the U.S., could be overturned, leaving access to the procedure and other reproductive healthcare to individual states.
In Vermont, lawmakers and advocates are continuing the effort to amend Vermont’s constitution to strengthen abortion rights. The measure will be voted on this session, and if approved, it will be brought to voters in November 2022.
“This is a real clarion call, this is a real wake-up call for all of us, that we can’t take our rights for granted,” said Lucy Leriche, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood New England said.
Leriche says nearly 80% of people in the U.S. believe abortions should remain safe and legal. In Vermont, there is already a law in place, blocking government interference. Still, Leriche says laws can change.
“It would give us all peace of mind and protect this fundamental right in Vermont regardless of what happens in Washington DC,” Leriche said.
Outside of the high court, Wednesday, pro-choice and pro-life supporters gathered with signs, trading chants on their stance.
“If someone’s life is pronounced gone when a heartbeat stops, then what would be the pronouncement of it starting?” Amy Pletz said. “To me, it’s that heartbeat. There’s goodness in life, and I’m here to fight for life.”
President Biden said he did not see Wednesday’s debate at the Supreme Court, but he reaffirmed his support for Roe v. Wade.
“I support Roe v. Wade,” he said. “I think it’s a rational position to take, and I continue to support it.”
Leriche says the issue is not political, but personal.
“Abortion is healthcare,” Leriche said. “Nobody wants a politician in the exam room with you at the doctor’s office.”