Vermont governor gives notice of abortion amendment vote

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott gave formal notice Wednesday that state voters will be casting ballots in November on a measure to amend the state constitution to protect reproductive rights in the state, including abortion.

The notice of an upcoming vote to amend the state constitution is required by Vermont law.

In 2019, the Vermont Legislature passed a law guaranteeing abortion rights. At the same time, the state began the process to amend the constitution. The proposal must be passed by two consecutively elected legislatures. The final step in the process is a statewide referendum, scheduled for Election Day in November.

The final vote on Vermont’s Reproductive Liberty Amendment, also known as Proposal 5, comes in the aftermath of last month’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that at legalized abortion.

“In Vermont, we solidified the right to choose in law, and now Vermonters have the opportunity to further protect that right in our constitution,” Scott said in a statement. “It is more important than ever to make sure the women in our state have the right to make their own decisions about their health, bodies, and their futures.”

Vermont’s proposed amendment does not contain the word “abortion.”

Proponents say that’s because it’s not meant to authorize only abortion; it would also guarantee other reproductive rights, such as the right to get pregnant or have access to birth control.

But opponents say the wording is vague and could have unintended consequences that would play out for years.

Last month, California lawmakers approved a proposal to amend that state’s constitution to protect abortion rights that will also be voted on in November.