Image: Vermong Governer Phil Scott
Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, has signed into law two bills that provide comprehensive protections for transgender and reproductive healthcare in the state. The bills, House Bill 89 and Senate Bill 37, were hailed by LGBTQ+ rights groups as some of the most extensive in the country.
House Bill 89, introduced by Democratic lawmakers in January, legally protects access to gender-affirming and reproductive healthcare in Vermont. The bill shields individuals seeking gender-affirming healthcare or abortions, as well as their doctors, from litigation in other states if either service is administered in Vermont. This is a significant measure, as 18 states have banned gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth, and at least 13 states have outlawed abortion. The bill will take effect in September.
Senate Bill 37 requires health insurers in Vermont to cover gender-affirming and reproductive healthcare. The measure also provides additional protections for doctors who administer these services, protecting them from disciplinary action or increased malpractice insurance premiums. This bill will also take effect in September.
Governor Scott’s signing of both bills makes him the second Republican governor to explicitly protect access to gender-affirming healthcare and abortion. Former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed a similar bill into law last year.
Scott emphasized the importance of bodily autonomy in a statement on Wednesday, saying that both bills demonstrate Vermont’s dedication to upholding privacy, personal autonomy, and reproductive liberty. The bills establish crucial protections for those seeking gender-affirming healthcare and abortions, as well as the doctors who provide these services. The legislation ensures that these individuals are legally protected under Vermont state law and can access healthcare without fear of litigation or discrimination.
In a year when many states have passed laws restricting access to gender-affirming healthcare and abortions, Vermont’s bills provide a beacon of hope for those seeking essential healthcare services. The legislation sends a strong message that Vermont stands on the side of bodily autonomy and reproductive liberty, and that providers are free to practice without fear.