A vigil for George Floyd

Mike Mrowicki

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Joining the thousands of others protesting the SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v Wade, in Brattleboro and across the state and nation, the disappointment is still difficult to fathom. The energy was palpable out on Plaza Park last Friday. The betrayal felt by those gathered, reaffirmed for many that the war against women is still going strong, and we must fight back.

It’s hard to imagine that this access to health care is now banned for all too many women in the US. Vermonters can take some solace that Vermont’s legislative leadership of House Majority Leader Jill Krowinski, D-Chittenden 6-3, and Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, D-Windham, saw this day coming — and started the process to counter it, four years ago.

Now, here is the “Brave Little State That Could,” with reproductive liberty on the ballot in the November election to put in our state constitution. Roe is on the ballot in Vermont this November, from top to bottom, from amendments to contested races.

What also is on the ballot is the opportunity to push back against those whose concern for a fetus stops once that fetus evolves into a child and is born.

That those who call themselves “pro-life” consistently vote against supports for children in need, once the child is born, isn’t pro-life, it’s pro-birth. I believe once a child is born, it is all of our responsibility to help those parents and children with food, shelter and health care, in the least.

Also on the ballot in November is whether we want to extend the reach of government into our doctors offices, hospitals and even our bedrooms. As Justice Thomas wrote in his recent concurring opinion, he wants to open up the cases that provided for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights and even contraception. It will be interesting to see if he also wants to revisit the Loving v. Virginia case?

I believe government has no place in those private parts of our lives, and feel an obligation to maintain these hard-earned rights.

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As a legislator in Vermont, my votes for women’s rights have helped show the nation and the world that we are joined in the cause of reproductive liberty.

Those of us fighting back in the war against women and for bodily autonomy (as well as racial injustice) may have registered a national setback with this SCOTUS decision. We are not deterred by this event and will continue to battle the patriarchy, because such injustice hurts us all.

Vermont can be a beacon to lead other states to see how enlightened leadership can move us forward even when a Supreme Court guided by partisan politics and mendacity tries to set us back centuries.

Vermont can also be a safe haven for those women being oppressed by other states — like the woman who may be experiencing a possible miscarriage and can’t find a doctor because they’re afraid of going to jail for treating her, as she starts to bleed out. Or the young teen, raped by a family member, being forced by their state law to carry to term.

And on and on go the stories in the war on women, and it must stop. As a man, a father of three daughters (and grandfather to one granddaughter), and as a state legislator, I pledge to continue as an ally in this fight. Let’s remember in November and pass Prop 5, to show other states the way forward. (we must also pass Prop 2, to clarify the language on slavery in Vermont’s constitution).

We can also show the nation that we are not cowed by this recent SCOTUS decision and that Vermont is indeed, a land of the free. And, that when we speak the words, “... liberty and justice for all,” we mean it. No exceptions.

State Rep. Mike Mrowicki, D, serves the Windham 4 District towns of Putney, Dummerston and Westminster. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of Vermont News & Media.