Abortion-rights resolution must go further to be effective

BRATTLEBORO — We are angry and disgusted with the Supreme Court's recent decision on abortion rights. But how can we harness action to anger?

The Brattleboro Selectboard will soon consider a resolution supporting the right to abortion. This is not enough.

A resolution (or protest demonstration) can be effective if it publishes a new idea, provokes attention in a new way, or if the number of signers and their names strengthen their idea. Martin Luther King Jr. was especially effective in organizing civil disobedience for civil rights.

In June of 2019, several underage demonstrators risked arrest by blocking a parade in Brattleboro. Their banner declared climate emergency and demanded help for farmers.

Civil disobedience proves you're serious. Protests and resolutions are not effective when the audience is limited or the statement is obvious.

The protests against the Roe decision were not even angry; they were mild. But obviously, the people around Brattleboro support a woman's right to choose.

Brattleboro Common Sense wants an effective resolution - one that shows a serious commitment. Please stand with us in promoting the amendment below. It funds local reproductive care and national and local advocacy for reproductive rights.

Without this amendment, the resolution will be ineffective. With the amendment, we will advance a new model for enforceable local action.

Let it be further resolved that:

5. The Town of Brattleboro immediately donate:a) $50,000 to Planned Parenthood's Brattleboro office to support reproductive care for all of Brattleboro's residents and guests, especially including people of color and LGBTQ+ people:b) $50,000 to [NARAL] Pro-Choice America, to support their advocacy of reproductive rights throughout the U.S.:c) $5,000 for a grant for advocacy of reproductive rights by a Brattleboro resident or group.

With this long-festering backlash of the Supreme Court, we have hopefully lost one layer of complacency. The people of Vermont may be assured that our rights are protected by the state Legislature. But we must step up and make our voices heard and our actions seen.

The financial resources that a town government manages belong to the townspeople, and their proper use must reflect the vital concerns of the townspeople. Brattleboro Selectboard members must put our money where our mouth is - where our hearts are - to fund Planned Parenthood locally and to join the national struggle for reproductive freedom.

We can lead the way, from our more secure position, to bolster the national movement for reproductive rights and guide the struggle as it unfolds nationwide.

Brattleboro Common Sense is also promoting an office of social justice coordinator, who would administer the grant for local activism if the amendment wins. BCS has promoted this concept before, petitioning for coordinators for justice in 2007, for a town grand juror in 2009, and for an energy (sustainability) coordinator in 2019, which was successful.

Our goal is to bring the official power of the town - its legal power, its name and its treasury - fully behind the progressive majority.

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