Statehouse Headliners: UVM Med Center performing elective abortions; water quality levy possible; docs say pot leads to opiate abuse

By Guy Page

Elective abortions are being performed at the University of Vermont Medical Center, a hospital spokesperson confirmed this week.

Last week, Statehouse Headliners reported about Vermont House Bill 543 to restore, with a new tax on erectile dysfunction treatment manufacturers, any shortfall incurred by Planned Parenthood due to a decline in federal funding. It got me thinking: has the possible loss of federal money for Planned Parenthood influenced the availability of abortions at Vermont’s largest hospital, the UVM Medical Center? My question to the hospital Office of Communications prompted this email reply from spokesperson Annie Mackin:

“Elective abortion procedures, which are included in Family Planning services, are currently being provided at the UVM Medical Center to meet the health care needs of our patients and the training requirements of our physicians.”

The hospital website does not specifically list abortion as a service. The Family Medicine page includes “Women’s health care, Pap smears, colposcopy, pregnancy, maternity and newborn care, family planning and birth control.”

The hospital would not comment on any possible link between this policy and Planned Parenthood funding. The decision was made at the board level, Ms. Mackin said. She promised to source more information after the holidays.

“Personal use” marijuana legalization will lead to opiate abuse, experts say

Marijuana legalization leads to more marijuana use, Burlington drug abuse expert Dr. John Hughes said at a Dec. 22 press conference in Montpelier for Physicians, Friends and Families for a Better Vermont. Marijuana use leads to more opiate use, Burlington pediatric psychiatrist David Rettew said in a statement prepared for the same press conference.

“Marijuana use … more than doubles the risk of opiate use disorder three to four years later, even after controlling for other factors,” Dr. Rettew said. Colorado, the nation’s poster child state for marijuana legalization, should know: in 2016, “Colorado witnessed the highest number of opiate overdose deaths in history,” Dr. Rettew said.

Joining the two statements together shows clear cause and effect: legalization leads to more marijuana use which leads to more opiate use.

Final public hearing on Vermont Yankee, economic future of Windham County Jan. 4

The Vermont Public Utilities Commission will hold its final public hearing on the sale of Vermont Yankee to NorthStar 7 pm, Jan. 4 at Brattleboro Union High School. The sale, if approved, would decommission the former nuclear power plant in 10 years instead of the 60 years envisioned by current owner Entergy. The prompt decommissioning and redevelopment of the Vermont Yankee site would revitalize southeastern Vermont, supporters say. The public is welcome to attend and testify.

Senate introduces new health care, energy legislation

For a complete list of Senate bills released for introduction this week, go to go to the Vermont Legislature website. The following bills are among those dealing with health care and energy:

S.223 (Sen. Robert Starr, Essex-Orleans) would require hospitals to contract with physician practices in rural communities…. to enable those physicians to administer intravenous prescription drugs obtained using 340B drug pricing to cancer patients living in rural areas.

S.264 (Sen. Claire Ayer, Addison) would revise the Green Mountain Care Board’s duty to develop an expenditure analysis. It would also replace the Board’s duty to create a unified health care budget with a requirement for an estimate of future health care spending.

S.268 (Sens. Philip Baruth, Debbie Ingram, Christopher Pearson, and Michael Sirotkin) is entitled “an act related to the right to have an abortion.” No statement of purpose or bill wording is available on the Legislative website.

S.260 (Sen. Chris Bray, Addison; Sen. Virginia Lyons, Chittenden, Allison Clarkson, Windsor) would establish the Vermont Clean Water Authority to coordinate, manage, plan, and ensure accountability of the efforts of the State to clean up impaired waters, maintain and achieve the Vermont Water Quality Standards in all waters, and prevent the future degradation of waters. The bill would establish a Clean Water Assessment on all parcels in the State ($1 per month per parcel).

S.259 (Sens. Bray, Clarkson, Lyons, Sen. Mark MacDonald, Orange) would create a community energy program to encourage renewable electric generation with a capacity from 150 kW to five MW. Energy from the plants within the program would receive net metering treatment, using bill credits based on wholesale energy costs with adjustments to promote public benefits such as appropriate siting. There would be a cumulative capacity ceiling on the participating plants. The bill also would amend the existing net metering program to limit the capacity of plants in that program to 150 kW or less.

S.252 (Sen. John Rodgers, Essex-Orleans) — In order to allow time for the completion by regional and municipal planning commissions of enhanced energy planning under 24 V.S.A. § 4352, this bill proposes to establish a five year period under which, in electric generation siting proceedings, the Public Utility Commission would give substantial deference to existing regional and municipal plans.

S.270 (Sens. Bray, Clarkson, MacDonald, Lyons) — An act relating to the preparation of a fiscal note on any bill that creates an electric, thermal, or transportation measure that results in changes to carbon emissions. No statement of purpose yet available.

Statehouse Headliners is intended primarily to educate, not advocate. It is e-mailed to an ever-growing list of interested Vermonters, public officials and media. Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, Divestment Facts, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Church at Prison.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

3 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: UVM Med Center performing elective abortions; water quality levy possible; docs say pot leads to opiate abuse

  1. Teen Challenge is a great program out of Johnson Vermont that helps people get off drugs. The guys at Teen Challenge say that pot is a gateway drug.

    The net metering program is a ripoff. You make power all day, run your bill down to zero, then consume all night. Now assume that every Vermonter wants to have a net metered installation on their roof. We all run our power bills down to zero. Who then pays for the energy that ISO-NE sources to power all of our homes at night? See the problem with that?

    Kill net metering. Solar panels save you money on your power bill when you: A) consume energy while the sun is shining, and or B) install battery storage so you can use the energy you generate whenever you want.

  2. POT leads to opiate abuse????? How about DOCTORS lead to opiate abuse! I dont know one single pot user that ever wanted anything to do with opiates. This crazy misinformation along with the influence of big corporations is why a PLANT that has never killed ANYONE has been so demonized. POT is safer than peanut butter, safer than Tylenol, safer than ANY prescription drug! Its probably one of the safest things on the planet. You CANT hurt yourself from an overdose and no one has ever died from it. How is that NOT safe? Plus, every single cell in the human body has cannabinoid receptors. Dont let the LYING talking heads keep this ultra SAFE medicine from the public any longer

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