Securing Bodily Autonomy for All

Protecting the reproductive freedom and civil rights of Vermonters has always been central to our work as an affiliate, just as defending and advancing these rights have been central to our national organization's legal and political advocacy.

In 1970, three years after the ACLU of Vermont was founded, we joined a legal challenge to a law prohibiting abortions in Vermont. In 1982, we helped defeat parental notification legislation, and four years later, we won a ruling that Vermont’s refusal to pay for medically necessary abortions as part of Medicaid violated the state Constitution. When the Supreme Court overturned in 2022, it set off a chain reaction of repression, with states banning abortion and criminalizing essential care across the country. We were ready to fight back.

The road to the Reproductive Liberty Amendment

Beginning in 2018, the ACLU and our allies worked to design and pass a state constitutional amendment protecting reproductive freedom in Vermont. When Roe was overturned, the Reproductive Liberty Amendment (RLA) had already passed through the legislature and was on its way to the ballot.

In November 2022, voters responded to the Supreme Court’s shameful decision by overwhelmingly approving the RLA, enshrining in our state constitution the strongest reproductive health care protections in the country.

Protecting patients and providers

The historic RLA victory was just the beginning of the post- fight for reproductive freedom. Next, we turned to ensuring that everyone in Vermont can access reproductive and gender-affirming care, regardless of where they are from.

While anti-abortion politicians in states across the country severely restrict access to abortion and other essential care, we helped to craft and pass new “shield laws,” to protect patients and providers from out-of-state civil or criminal liability for engaging in legally protected reproductive and gender-affirming care in Vermont.

Trans rights in Vermont

The same politicians that do not want people to be able to make decisions around their own pregnancies also do not want transgender people to be able to make decisions around their own medical care. Alongside a wave of anti-abortion legislation, hundreds of anti-trans bills have been introduced in legislatures nationwide, including here in Vermont.

ACLU supporters are urging the legislature and our elected leaders to reject any and all attempts to restrict the rights of trans people in Vermont. We will never stop fighting for the freedom to fully control our bodies, lives, and futures.

Sign our petition affirming trans rights

The future of bodily autonomy

We remain vigilant in tracking national and local threats to our right to choose or refuse reproductive and gender-affirming care. Our colleagues are on the front lines of the fight to protect our right to access abortion care and birth control, play sports and participate in public life as our authentic selves, and utilize gender-affirming health care services. We could not do this work without your support.