Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Vermonters In The Women’s Marches In Montpelier And Washington

This weekend, Marcelle and I had the pleasure of hosting hundreds of Vermonters for coffee before the Women’s March on Washington.  I could not be prouder of the thousands more who marched in the Green Mountain State in Montpelier, our state capital, and those who drove through the night to show that our brave little state says no to hate.  I was inspired by the sight of hundreds of thousands of pink hats showing the President that they are paying attention, they want their voices to be heard, and that the American people will hold him accountable.

One Vermonter who took part in the enormous Women’s March in Montpelier told a member of my staff, “This is the first time I have been able to smile since Election Day.”

We have heard disrespectful, offensive and dangerous comments seep into our national discourse.  The millions of men and women who participated in marches across the country this weekend offered a powerful statement that they will not tolerate policies that restrict the rights of women or that treat women like second-class citizens.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration ignored the voices of millions of Americans and is already undermining the rights of women.  Two of the President’s first Executive Orders targeted women.  His first Executive Order attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which throws into limbo the health insurance arrangements of millions of American women who have been guaranteed maternity coverage as a part of their health care plans, who have been able to have affordable birth control for the first time, who have been able to tell insurance companies that no, pregnancy is not a pre-existing condition.  President Trump also reinstated the so-called Mexico City policy, a policy that would be illegal and unconstitutional in this country -- that will only result in more abortions and more pregnancy related deaths in developing countries.

Mr. President, Americans are watching.  And from what I heard and saw from Vermonters on Saturday, I can tell you they are fired up and ready to go.  We need a President who is committed to equality and opportunity for all people, no matter their sex, gender or race.  We will not stand for policies that turn back the clock on so much progress we have made.

To paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King, we have to accept finite disappointment, but we must not give up infinite hope.  Only light can crowd out darkness.

I was so proud to see so many Vermonters speaking up, and I can guarantee that they are not going away.

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