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VT Gov. Scott criticizes leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion

Vermont Governor Phil Scott attends an event in May 2021
Pat Bradley
Vermont Governor Phil Scott (file)

Vermont Governor Phil Scott held his weekly briefing Tuesday afternoon and while the focus of the presentations was economic revitalization legislation, other topics that emerged included the leaked draft Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision and the benefits of a new COVID pill.

The Republican opened his briefing reacting to news that the nation’s high court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade after nearly 50 years.

“If true this would be an enormous step backwards and damage civil rights," Scott said. "Vermont has prepared for this possibility. A few years ago we passed a law affirming that reproductive health decisions are between a patient and their doctor without government interference. In November Vermonters will have the ability to codify that right in our state Constitution when Prop 5 is on the ballot. So at the end of the day the fundamental rights and liberties of all women will be defended, protected and preserved here in Vermont.”

Scott said overturning Roe v. Wade would have devastating effects on all civil rights.

“What it does is creates a mistrust in government in some respects, like what’s next? If they take this away what’s the next right that someone’s going to take away? Whether it’s LGBTQ or the right to marry and so forth," the governor said. "So I think that’s a legitimate concern when we see a fundamental right taken away.”

The governor’s budget proposal to the legislature in January included the use of federal ARPA funds for pandemic recovery and economic development. Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle called on the legislature to fund the community revitalization and infrastructure plan before it adjourns.

“The governor’s budget proposal called for $100 million in economic development money," Kurrle said. "We’re asking that budget committees restore the majority of that ask. Without appropriate funding the targeted recovery and growth we are seeking will fall flat. We hope the legislature will work to fund this once in a generation opportunity for our state.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine reported that the federal government honored the state’s request and delivered 2000 additional doses of the antiviral COVID drug paxlovid.

“This means that this effective antiviral drug will be easier for patients to access and will prevent more potential cases of severe disease in Vermont," said Levine.

Governor Scott reiterated that he would make his decision whether to run for a fourth term by the end of the legislative session. He was asked if he might consider running as an independent.

“I think I’ve been successful throughout my career running as an 'R', of being a moderate centrist. It’s more difficult," Scott said. "Whether you’re a moderate centrist Democrat or a moderate centrist Republican it’s equally as hard. But I don’t plan to change. I’m a fiscally responsible Republican but I’m a social moderate centrist.”

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