Press Release

Welch Statement on Two Year Anniversary of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center

Jun 24, 2024

BURLINGTON, VT – Two years after the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Center to overturn Roe v. Wade, Senator Peter Welch (D-Vt.) released the following statement on the urgent need to pass legislation protecting access to abortion and reproductive care: 

“Decades from now, this Supreme Court will be remembered in the history books as the Court that totally failed us—most egregiously by rolling back the fundamental constitutional right to abortion women have enjoyed for nearly 50 years. This ruling has thrown access to medical care into chaos for millions. Reproductive freedoms must be codified, and they must be consistent. A zip code should not determine a person’s reproductive freedom, their access to care, or the safety of patients or medical providers. In stripping women of their right to choose, the Court has created an incentive for states to impose more draconian restrictions on the choices people once had—and it will only get worse unless Congress acts. We need nationwide protections, and we need them now,” said Sen. Welch.

Two years after Dobbs, 14 states have enacted total abortion bans, 20 states have bans on abortion at some point after 18 weeks, and seven states have a ban on abortion at/before 18 weeks’ gestation. Abortion rights are protected by state law and enshrined in Vermont’s constitution.

Senator Welch is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Actwhich would codify the right to access abortion care across the United States. The legislation would block state laws that jeopardize access to abortion early in a pregnancy, including many of the state-level restrictions in place prior to Dobbs, as well as state laws that could limit access to abortion later in pregnancy if it puts the life health of the mother at risk.

This Congress, Senate Democrats attempted to pass common-sense bills to protect reproductive rights, including most recently the Right to IVF Act, the Right to Contraception Act, all of which were blocked by Senate Republicans. 

Senator Welch has cosponsored several bills to safeguard access to reproductive freedoms, abortion care and services, IVF rights, and health care privacy. This includes the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Actwhich would ensure that anti-choice states cannot limit travel for abortion services and allow women from states where abortion is banned or restricted to continue to seek abortion care in Vermont and other states where abortion remains legal. Senator Welch recently cosponsored the Abortion Care Capacity Enhancement and Support Services (ACCESS) Act, which would establish a federal grant program for health care organizations to expand their capacity to provide abortion services and other reproductive care in states where it remains legal. He supports the Let Doctors Provide Reproductive Health Care Act, which would provide legal protections for abortion providers in Vermont and other states where abortion remains legal and ensure their efforts to practice cannot be restricted by laws passed in other states. He is also a cosponsor of the Affordability is Access Act of 2023, the EACH Act of 2023, and the SAFER Health Act of 2023.