For years, like so many Vermonters, I took what I perceived to be our fundamental rights and liberties for granted. In fact, I’ve spent much of my life working to help secure those liberties for those to whom they were denied. My naïveté ended pretty quickly after Nov. 9, 2016. Since that fateful election day, I think many of us have watched in horror as what we perceived to be immutable eroded like a dirt road in a thunderstorm.
To cease this wholesale looting of the rights for which so many have sacrificed so much, we must draw a line in the sand. That’s why the Vermont Legislature’s pending defense of Roe v. Wade is so important.
There is a very good possibility with the national political climate being what it is that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. With the confirmation of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, a man who has argued in the past that Roe isn’t settled law, an individual’s right to obtain a safe abortion is legitimately under attack.
Representing yet another assault on our civil liberties, this isn’t just an issue for those who may need to obtain this procedure someday. This is everyone’s issue.
When human rights are under attack nationally, all of Vermont must come together to protect our citizens. This is a tradition in Vermont, and something that makes me proud to be a lifelong Vermonter. If the feds aren’t going to look after our people, Vermont elected officials must take the lead. And so I’m adding my voice in support of H.57, a bill being considered by the Vermont Legislature right now that would protect an individual’s right to obtain an abortion in a safe and legal manner.
This bill, simply put, protects an individual’s right to make their own medical decisions privately with their health care provider. To not pass this legislation would be reckless. We know people will seek out abortions whether they are legal or not, so let’s keep them legal so they can stay safe.
Hopefully, the federal government will be salvaged before abortion rights are completely eroded. But when dealing with our most sacred rights, we must seek to safeguard ourselves against the craven political calculus seeking to destroy our society and the rule of law.
Elliott Bent lives in Barre City.