BURLINGTON, Vt. — During an event announcing Planned Parenthood’s endorsements for political office in Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin asserted that residents should feel “blessed” to have the “extraordinary work” of the abortion provider within its borders.
“Vermont is unusual. We should be blessed to live here with a Planned Parenthood that does extraordinary work, and a legislature that will stand behind you,” he said. “Let’s make Vermont an example for how this nation should deal with health care and reproductive rights.”
In Vermont, it is legal to obtain an abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, and there are no state-mandated restrictions or significant regulations on the practice, such as waiting periods, counseling requirements or parental notification laws.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, in 2011, “1,370 women obtained abortions in Vermont, producing a rate of 11.7 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age.”
There are 11 Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, including in Burlington, Bennington and Brattleboro, and Planned Parenthood is the sole entity to receive Title X family planning funds as allotted by the Vermont Department of Health, which is stated to be approximately $1.8 million dollars a year.
“They are the largest single provider of abortions here,” Mary Hahn Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life told Christian News Network. “[T]hey probably do upwards of 90 percent of all abortions that are done here.”
She stated that Planned Parenthood has a lot of political persuasion in the state as they are often influential as to who will be elected to office.
“Sometimes we refer to them here in Vermont as the fourth branch of government,” Beerworth said. “In 2010, when Peter Shumlin ran for governor for the first time, Planned Parenthood illegally raised and spent over $100,000 to run television ads that may well have made the difference in the election [as] they were run in the last few weeks. Most recently, our attorney general fined them $30,000 when he found them in violation of the law.”
She explained that Shumlin often holds press conferences at the Planned Parenthood headquarters, “knowing what kind of backing he’ll get at election time.”
But Beerworth also found it to be absurd that the governor would assert that it is a blessing to have the abortion giant within its borders.
“I think that he’s using that term ‘blessed’ as someone who probably also believes that abortion is a [religious experience],” she stated. “This is as far to the left as you can possibly get on abortion, and there is no abortion that he doesn’t think is a good idea.”
And while some may assert that Planned Parenthood provides other services to women besides abortion, Beerworth said that those services all revolve around an obsession with sex.
“Really, those services boil down to contraception, treatment of STD’s and abortion,” she explained. “They don’t have any parenting classes, breastfeeding classes, [and] they have no mammograms on the premises.”
Beerworth also pointed to the “Naked Notion” project with Laci Green, which is described on the Planned Parenthood of New England website as being “a sex information project dedicated to frank, open conversations about sexuality.”
In 2002, the organization was investigated by the Texas-based pro-life group Life Dynamics, who discovered that the majority of the facilities in Vermont were willing to cover for child rape.
“I’m going to be 14 later on this month, and my friend said that you guys would have to tell my parents,” an undercover caller told an employee at Bennington Planned Parenthood, knowing that the age of consent in the state is 16. “But my boyfriend’s 22. Could he just sign whatever it is, and you wouldn’t have to tell anybody about anything?”
“Right now, I don’t think we have to notify your parents,” the worker replied.
“Is this what you are talking about? Is this the extraordinary work by Planned Parenthood that you are referring to?” Life Dynamics President Mark Crutcher stated in a press release after learning of Shumlin’s remarks.
“For us sitting here in Vermont to see Gov. Shumlin in their headquarters and calling it a blessing—it’s a blessing to him because he knows they’re going to back him at election time,” Beerworth said. “We’re working hard [for life here], but I would say that Vermont is the most pro-abortion state in the nation.”
Photo: Community College of Vermont