I want to thank Republican Sen. Joe Benning for his support for Roe v. Wade (“The Abortion Debate,” Feb. 9) in his commentary on the abortion bills H.57 and S.25. As a member of the non-partisan League of Women Voters, I appreciate the bipartisanship on access to abortion that has been a hallmark of the debate in Vermont for many years.

Decisions to have an abortion are stressful and complicated based on personal beliefs and circumstances that vary tremendously from person to person. Proposal 3 to amend the Vermont Constitution affirms Vermonters’ personal freedom by guaranteeing that every citizen has a “right to privacy” regarding “decisions concerning his or her own body.” I applaud Sen. Benning for introducing this bipartisan proposal.

That said, I do not agree that Vermonters can wait to safeguard women’s right to abortion care until 2022, when voters would have an opportunity to approve Proposal 3.

The threat to Roe v. Wade is now. Since 2010, other states have passed 424 anti-abortion bills, many of which are under legal challenges and will be heard before the U.S. Supreme Court this year and next. The current court is likely to uphold many of these laws, eroding women’s access to abortion and making Roe v. Wade nearly meaningless.

Now is the time to affirm that women in Vermont have continued access to birth control and the privacy to make reproductive choices. Vermont legislators need to stand up now for women’s freedom to make these decisions without interference by passing H.57, which has already been amended to reflect one of Sen. Benning’s concerns.

The League of Women Voters has supported such a right since 1983, and we continue to advocate for women’s full access to reproductive care.

Lyn Blackwell

East Montpelier

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