We Dissent - A Statement from Meg Smith of the Vermont Women's Fund
Last week’s decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade is an abhorrent and regressive step backwards for women in the United States.
The Vermont Women’s Fund thoroughly rejects the idea that women cannot be in control of their own reproductive health and well-being. Aside from the indignity of a male-dominated judicial body deciding what women can and cannot do, the economic fall-out from this draconian decision is enormous. Women denied abortions often experience life-long economic hardships that alter opportunities for their future, and put them and their families at a higher risk in every way.
The far-reaching effects are felt by all: from the increased burden on social services like Medicaid to the wage penalty women experience from having to leave the workforce to even higher maternal death rates for women of color. This is absolutely unacceptable.
We are extremely grateful for the years of work here in Vermont that brings the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, previously Prop 5, to the General Election ballot this November. If passed, it would amend Vermont's constitution to protect every person's right to make their own reproductive decisions: whether and when to become pregnant, use temporary or permanent birth control, or seek abortion care.
Vermont could become the first state in the nation to explicitly protect reproductive rights in its constitution and pave the way for other states to do the same. We are fortunate that our Vermont leaders had the foresight to begin this multi-year process over six years ago, and we will do everything in our power to encourage Vermonters to learn about the amendment.
Meanwhile, our charge is to rally ALL Vermonters, especially women, to seize control of their economic power and fund the organizations that have been standing up for women’s rights in our state and nationwide. I know this list will grow longer over time but for the moment, here are some suggested actions to take:
- Support the Reproductive Rights Amendment (Prop 5) by learning and sharing information, making a donation, signing the petition, and planning to vote.
- Follow the new rules to request a mail-in ballot if you need one through My Voter Page. Help your neighbors get their mail-in ballots, too.
- Give to organizations like the Vermont Women’s Fund that are working to advance gender equity and justice on behalf of all Vermonters.
It is extremely disheartening that we must continue to fight this fight – but make no mistake, women are stronger, women continue to gain positions of leadership, and women are more financially powerful than ever before. If there is any consolation to this horrendous decision, it is that we will mobilize, we will fight for our rights, and we will ultimately win.
Meg Smith, Director