Vermont Conversation: Fighting for abortion rights to honor her late mother's struggle

Melinda Moulton on Sept. 25, 2019. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

Abortion may soon be outlawed in much of the United States.

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, 28 states are poised to ban or further limit abortion access. This would end nearly a half-century during which reproductive rights were constitutionally protected.

Melinda Moulton vividly remembers the days before abortion was legal. She said she was 12 years old when her mother died after a botched hysterectomy, a result of not having access to safe abortion care.

Before abortion was legal, people with unwanted pregnancies like her mother “were shamed. They lived in fear. Imagine how that traumatized a woman at a young age. A lot of women died and took their own lives by self-induced abortions or back-alley abortions,” she said.

The threat that abortion may once again be illegal in many parts of the country “is a blatant attack on the health and safety and welfare and lives of many, many women,” Moulton said. “If a woman becomes pregnant, and she does not or is not able to carry that child for whatever reason, then she's going to probably try to find a way to end the pregnancy. And it's going to be really horrific for women in this country.”

Moulton, now 72, has been a lifelong advocate for women’s rights. Moulton has served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, been a member of the Vermont Commission on Women, helped lead the 2017 Vermont Women’s March and is currently vice president of the board of the ACLU of Vermont. She recently retired as CEO of Main Street Landing, a developer of the Burlington waterfront.

“Women deserve to have the right to determine what happens to their bodies. And what's happening in this country is that we have a political party that is basically saying that as long as it's in your body, we control you,” Moulton said.

“This is not about the unborn. This is about control over women. It just reminds me a little bit of the Taliban,” she said.

Moulton is now working to help pass Proposal 5, which will enshrine reproductive rights in the Vermont constitution.

Moulton said that Prop 5 will send a message to women around the country. 

“Know that Vermont is here and we will provide you with safe, affordable … reproductive health care,” she said.

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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