By Guy Page
Two longtime leaders of the Vermont pro-life movement told the UVM Medical Center board of trustees June 21 that performing elective abortions puts Vermont’s largest hospital and employer on the wrong side of history and has already incited grassroots blowback.
At the board’s quarterly meeting, 15 pro-life Vermonters led by Vermont Right to Life Executive Director Mary Beerworth and Rev. Craig Bensen of Cambridge were given 10 minutes to speak (click here for Facebook video). Rev. Bensen reminded trustees that UVM is considering removing the name “Bailey” from Bailey-Howe Library because former UVM Pres. Guy Bailey served on a UVM pro-eugenics advisory board. Supported by pro-eugenics leaders, the State of Vermont sterilized 253 residents from 1931-1957. Noting that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was also a well-known eugenicist, Rev. Bensen warned the board that it, like Bailey, may someday be remembered and condemned.
As volunteers unrolled a lengthy scroll bearing names of 1500 petition signers condemning the policy, Ms. Beerworth described why hospital employees and patients oppose their hospital performing elective abortions.
Other speakers in opposition to the abortion policy included a physician now employed at the hospital, and a retired nurse. Trustees listened without comment.
Vermont DCF separated children from 927 families in 2016
If the U.S. government can secure the southern border against drug trafficking from Mexico, one likely benefit is that fewer Vermont children would be separated from their families by the state of Vermont.
In 2016, the Vermont Department of Children & Families (DCF) separated children from 927 families for many reasons, including substance abuse, according to a December, 2017 DCF report. About 27 percent of all child-abuse allegations made to the DCF Child Protection Line were about substance abuse, the report said. Some of these calls led to investigations and the eventual separation of children from their families. The number of Vermonters separated from their families due to drug-related incarceration is unavailable at present. 132 Vermonters died by drug overdose in 2016, thus separating them from their families permanently.
Vermont’s heroin and fentanyl epidemic is enabled by Mexico/U.S. border insecurity. Precise statistics are elusive, but according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, most of the fentanyl and heroin consumed in the U.S. (including Vermont) is produced in Mexico by cartels and then smuggled across the southern U.S. border. The cartels also control the human trafficking trade, reaping huge profits and forcing many impoverished and desperate migrants to serve as “mules” carrying illegal drugs across the border. A significant interruption of heroin supply to Vermont would likely reduce consumption by reducing availability and increase the street price.
The Vermont Senate, just after approving the 2019 budget, voted Monday, June 25 in support of House Resolution 2 condemning the federal separation and detention of immigrant children. Although the federal government holds many of these children in foster care homes around the country, none are located in Vermont, a senior official with the Vermont Agency of Human Services said last week.
Trump administration promotes Israeli-Palestinian peace
The Trump administration is seeking to end 70 years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Washington Post reports. Details of the plan haven’t been made public. Here’s what is known so far:
- The chief messenger is Pres. Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is Jewish.
- Senior leaders in the Palestinian Authority won’t engage with the administration, citing the Jerusalem embassy decision. Kushner may bypass them and appeal via social media directly to the Palestinian people.
- Returning land won by Israel in the 1967 war won’t be on the table. Humanitarian assistance and economic investment for Gaza and other Palestinian areas will be.
- Kushner wants Jordan and other Arab nations now assisting Palestinians to encourage the Palestinian Authority to participate.
The proposal is due to be released within weeks, with negotiations beginning sometime this summer. The December, 2017 decision to site the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem was criticized by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch.
Suicide rates high in Vermont, especially among youth and older men
A June 6 WPTZ news story reports:
- Vermont’s suicide rate is 30 percent higher than the national average.
- Suicide is Vermont’s second leading cause of death for people ages 15-34 and third for ages 10-14.
- Older white men appear to be more at risk than other Vermont groups.
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; the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare; and Physicians, Families and Friends for a Better Vermont.