By Guy Page
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Vermont’s leading abortion provider, endorsed dozens of candidates for state office Friday. But it passed on the race for governor between incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott and Democrat challenger Dave Zuckerman.
According to media reports, Planned Parenthood VP Lucy Leriche said they “have both come out in support of reproduction rights.” Scott has signed an abortion rights bill and supports Proposition 5, a proposed amendment to the Vermont Constitution providing “reproductive autonomy” to all Vermonters, regardless of age. Zuckerman also supports both.
The PP decision doesn’t surprise Mary Hahn Beerworth, Executive Director of Vermont Right to Life.
“In 2016 Planned Parenthood spent $450,000 to bully Phil Scott with negative ads. That was enough to convince him to abandon common sense and reason, along with any of his prior care or concern for a minor daughter and unborn children at any stage of pregnancy,” Beerworth told Vermont Daily today. “Not only did Phil Scott endorse H.57 (Act 47) with his signature, he rolled an additional $850,000.00 into Planned Parenthood’s bank account in 2019 (to make up for PP’s rejection of the federal Title X monies) signaling that he is willing to do their bidding,” Beerworth continued. “Planned Parenthood will expect to continue their stranglehold on the Vermont House and Senate under either candidate for Governor, so declining to endorse one or the other comes as no surprise.”
Prop 5 (so-called as the fifth proposed constitutional amendment of the current Legislature) was approved by this Legislature May 8, 2019. To advance to a statewide voter referendum, it must also be approved by the 2020-21 Legislature. It states – “Article 22. Personal reproductive liberty. That an individual’s right to personal reproductive autonomy is central to the liberty and dignity to determine one’s own life course and shall not be denied or infringed unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”
It remains to be seen whether this Constitutional amendment would impact current and possible future legislative controversies. For example:
- Would a guarantee of “reproductive autonomy” buttress the argument for legalization of prostitution, the subject of current legislation?
- Would Vermont backers of a California-style reduction of criminalization of adult-youth sex successfully argue that “reproductive autonomy” gives both adults and minors the legal right to engage in this act? (At present there is no related bill in the Vermont Legislature.)
- Would the decision of mothers to terminate the lives of newborn children (as proposed by VA Gov. Ralph Northam) be constitutionally-protected “reproductive autonomy?”
These questions could only be resolved in the highest state and federal courts, in which a general term like “reproductive autonomy” may be freely construed.
Thanks to BLM decision, candidate posters can appear in Right of Way
This spring, the Scott administration told state highway workers to not remove pro-Black Lives Matter graffiti and posters on public roadways. As a result, candidates for office also may place their campaign signs in the public highway right-of-way.
This was news to Rutland County Senate candidate Terry Williams. On Sept. 14 he wrote Vermont Agency of Transportation southwest district administrator Robert Faley, “I have noticed many political signs for Rutland County Democrats are being allowed to remain in the common right of way of our highways. I ran for state office in Rutland County in 2018 and the district 3 highway crews were out daily picking up any signs that were in the right of way, even if they were on a citizen’s front lawn.”
Faley responded: “You are correct that political signs have been allowed to remain within the State’s ROW this year. As you experienced in the past, our normal procedure would be to go out and as we are patrolling the roads, remove any illegally placed signs. This year is different on so many different levels. We were instructed by our current Administration to relax some of our normal practices and leave signs in place unless they posed a hazard to traffic or were offensive. This is for any political party (not just Democrats) and for positive messages including those showing support for essential workers, black lives or police. We will still remove or relocate signs that obstruct sight distance, are attached to our own signage, project a negative image or cause a general safety hazard. If you notice any of the latter please let me know and we will be happy to remove them.”
Guv opens the spigot at indoor bars
To some it feels like the repeal of Prohibition. Gov. Phil Scott Friday relaxed restrictions on bars. It’s okay to drink inside now, provided patrons keep socially distanced, etc. To read the governor’s statement – which also allows hotels to run at 100% occupancy, see Sept. 19 Vermont Daily, “Guv opens indoor bars.”
National AFL-CIO would fund Burlington City Center
Dave Van Deusen, president of the Vermont AFL-CIO, Vermont’s second-largest labor union, announced this weekend the National AFL-CIO Housing Trust could fund construction of a major downtown Burlington housing/business project with 100% union labor.
“The CityPlace project, in its present form, is projected to create 89 affordable housing units (20% of the total), 300-400 construction jobs, with 500,000 labor hours. CityPlace shall also be constructed with strong energy efficiency standards (LEED Gold standard). Phase 1 of the project is estimated to cost $175 million to complete,” Van Deusen said.
Trump tells why he doesn’t ask drug companies for campaign donations
This morning, on Fox & Friends, President Trump told why he seeks small donations from a wide donor base, rather than focus on large donors. “I can get on the phone and call all of these rich people, and I know them very well,” said. “But I don’t want to, because then I’m obligated. I could call them, I could get so much. But then I wouldn’t be able to get your drug prices dropped.”
Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.