State Watch

GOP Vermont governor to allow sweeping abortion rights bill to become law

A sweeping abortions-rights bill is set to become law under Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R).

The Vermont legislature recently passed a measure that would ban the state government from interfering in reproductive and abortion rights, NBC 5 News reported.

The governor's spokeswoman, Rebecca Kelley, told the local NBC affiliate on Monday that Scott has "ruled out" vetoing the measure. She added that he has yet to decide whether to sign the bill it or allow it to become law without his action once it reaches his desk.

"I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe government should stay out of it," Scott said last week, according to the outlet.

He described the bill as "very emotional for some," while noting that the measure would not change current practices in the state.

When the measure becomes law, it will be among the most comprehensive abortion-rights laws in the country, according to the news site Seven Days Vermont.

The legislative language cites "the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion." The measure also refers to the right to "choose or refuse contraception or sterilization."

The measure would bar state and local law enforcement from prosecuting people performing abortions.

Scott has differed from other GOP governors who have moved to restrict abortion access.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) last week signed into law an abortion ban that puts strict prohibitions on the procedure in the state. While Ivey acknowledged that the ban "may" be unenforceable, the law is the nation's most restrictive when it comes to abortion access.

Lawmakers in Missouri passed a bill last week to ban abortions after eight weeks of pregnancy. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Mike Parson (R), who is expected to sign it into law.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) recently signed legislation that seeks to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs around six weeks into pregnancy, before most women know they're pregnant.

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