By Guy Page
Vermont is trending to become a destination state for all Americans seeking to legally buy sex, lethal end-of-life drugs, and abortions currently illegal in their own states.
Legal or decriminalized prostitution will draw NY sex trade, Montpelier City Council warned. After several out-of-state working prostitutes encouraged the Montpelier City Council to repeal its anti-prostitution ordinance, a New-York based worker with victims of sex trafficking urged caution: any state neighboring New York considering decriminalizing or legalizing prostitution should understand it will be drawing sex consumers, providers, and traffickers, a New York-based worker with victims of sex trafficking told council at its August 24 public hearing.
“Sex buyers will flock from neighboring states, and sex trafficking will increase to meet the demand,” Mitha Choudhury, Program Coordinator at Sanctuary for Families in Jamaica, a suburb of New York City, said.
Nevertheless, the City Council voted unanimously to repeal the ordinance. Repeals do not require city voter or legislative approval, so the ordinance has been stricken from the books. The 2023 Vermont Legislature is expected to consider legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution statewide.
Lawsuit demands out-of-staters’ access to physician-prescribed lethal drugs. The 2013 law legalizing what opponents called physician-assisted suicide, and what supporters call compassion in dying required that lethal drug prescription recipients be Vermont residents. But in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court August 25 against the State of Vermont, longtime advocate and Dr. Diana Barnard of Middlebury argues that the law’s residency requirement violates the U.S. Constitution. The law prevents out-of-state patients of Vermont physicians from receiving the care they want and need, and prevents Vermont physicians from providing the care they deem best for all of their patients, the lawsuit asserts.
Abortion. Last month, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vermont) promised to do “all I can” to help Planned Parenthood in Vermont perform abortions for residents of states where the June Dobbs Supreme Court decision has made legal abortion more difficult or impossible. “The folks at Planned Parenthood, as well as local physicians, nurses, and advocates are already seeing an influx of patients seeking care in Vermont, after failing to receive it in their home states,” Welch said. “I learned so much from this dedicated and empathetic group, and I admire their commitment to welcoming those from outside our state in need of care while maintaining high-quality care for Vermonters. I remain committed to doing all I can to support our physicians, nurses, and patients as they fight for reproductive rights in Vermont and across the United States.”
With Welch and Planned Parenthood – the abortion provider whose former lobbyist, Rep. Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) is Vermont Speaker of the House – united in commitment to provide abortions to out-of-staters, it’s likely the Legislature next year will be asked to support interstate abortions.