GOP Vermont governor signs sweeping abortion rights bill into law

GOP Vermont governor signs sweeping abortion rights bill into law
© ANNA GASSOT/AFP/Getty Images

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) on Monday signed into law an expansive abortion rights bill that seeks to preserve a woman’s right to the procedure.

"Like many Vermonters, I have consistently supported a woman’s right to choose," Scott said in a statement about his decision to sign the measure.

"This legislation affirms what is already allowable in Vermont – protecting reproductive rights and ensuring those decisions remain between a woman and her health care provider," he added.

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Under the measure, Vermont is required to recognize the “fundamental right of every individual to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization” as well as 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 bill states that, upon its passage, Vermont’s government would not be able to "deny or interfere with an individual’s fundamental rights to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization or to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to obtain an abortion."

“No State or local law enforcement shall prosecute any individual for inducing, performing, or attempting to induce or perform the individual’s own abortion,” the legislation adds.

Scott noted in his statement Monday the "polarizing" nature of the issue, adding, "I appreciate the respectful tone and civility from all sides throughout this discussion."

The bill’s passage comes as a number of other Republican governors across the country, in addition to one Democratic governor, have signed measures into law that put restrictions on abortions.

Last month, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed off on the most restrictive abortion bill in the country, which seeks to ban the procedure in nearly all cases, even in instances of rape and incest.