Statehouse Headliners: Vermont to give $750,000 to Planned Parenthood to make up for lost Title X revenue

By Guy Page

The state of Vermont will give an estimated $750,000 of Vermont taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood of New England, to offset the federal Title X funding it lost by choosing to continue to perform abortions. This replacement funding was budgeted by the 2018 Legislature as a contingency measure, Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine said August 19.

As printed in edited form in the Chester Telegraph, Levine’s statement reads: “Following new federal limits on how federal Title X funding can be used, Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD has notified the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the state of Vermont will stop using those funds provided to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England for family planning services in Vermont. Instead, the Vermont Department of Health will use state funds that have been reserved to ensure these services can continue.”

Guy Page is affiliated with the Vermont Energy Partnership, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, and Physicians, Families & Friends for a Better Vermont.

“Complying with the changes to Title X would disrupt the state’s network of health services and providers’ obligation to give patients the range of options,” Levine said. All Title X money at present is allocated to Planned Parenthood and spent at its 10 Vermont clinics. Planned Parenthood already receives $300,000 in state funding. The new allocation would boost the total transfer of Vermont taxpayer-generated money to Planned Parenthood to over $1 million.

The decision by state officials to spend Vermont tax money when federal funds are available has some Vermonters upset. “The state should look for an alternative service provider,” Carol Frenier of Chelsea said this morning. “We are deep in debt in Vermont and cannot afford to turn down the Title X money. To do so is to make a political statement in support of Planned Parenthood at the expense of Vermont taxpayers.”

Instead, couldn’t the State of Vermont administer federal Title X funds to other, non-abortion advising/performing community health clinics or crisis pregnancy centers? It’s not as if Planned Parenthood is the only organization capable of screening for cancer or dispense contraception.

According to Levine, the State of Vermont’s compliance with the new federal guidelines would violate Act 47, the law passed by the Vermont Legislature last year to protect abortion by state statute – better known as H-57. Levine explains:
“Complying with the restrictions would also violate state law. In 2019, Vermont enshrined in law ‘the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion’ and prohibited interference with ‘regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services or information, the choice of a consenting individual to terminate the individual’s pregnancy.’”

Get that, Vermont? The law that its supporters in the Legislature repeatedly said would “change nothing” and “would only protect the status quo” is now the sole reason why Vermont taxpayers must give hard cash to an already well-funded, politically-powerful organization like Planned Parenthood. What’s more, these same legislators must have known this day was coming – that’s why they (as Levine noted) set aside the money a year earlier.

Vermonters shouldn’t expect any financial prudence on this issue from Gov. Phil Scott. Apparently, he knew about the 2018 set-aside too, and agrees with it, as he stated in the August 19 press release: “It’s important that we maintain women’s rights and access to health care,” said Gov. Phil Scott. “It’s unfortunate we are at this point, but I appreciate the collaboration with the Attorney General and legislature to put aside contingency funding in the 2018 budget. Vermont joins Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts and Maryland in foregoing Title X.”

But for other Vermonters, this is a case of zealots unnecessarily throwing money that doesn’t belong to them at ‘their issue.’ As Brookfield farmer John Klar noted this morning, “Most Vermonters are sick of financial waste — for whatever cause. They are once again throwing away money and common sense for an ideological zealotry, in one of the poorest states in the nation.”

Lawrence Zupan of Manchester added, “Call me quaint, but wouldn’t dealing with the opiate epidemic successfully be a higher priority than financing abortions? Or strengthening law enforcement as part of the same matrix of solutions?”

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.

Image courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR

36 thoughts on “Statehouse Headliners: Vermont to give $750,000 to Planned Parenthood to make up for lost Title X revenue

  1. Wow! Healthy uncensored debate. No mud slinging just a good exchange of ideas. Rumor has it as I have read on this site Digger doesn’t allow this anymore. They’re to busy making sure everything is censored and fits into their narrative. Bravo TNR!

  2. sounds like “we the people” of vt should file a class action suit against the state for mishandling of funds IMO,,,,sign me up

  3. Brilliant, The State doesn’t have enough money to pay their bills, so let’s give 3/4 of a million to some murderous thugs to kill our children. Folks remember this in November, time to change the underwear in Montpelier, and start pushing for term limits and a recall law.

    • The $750,000 is in addition to the $300,000. they already receive and an outrage. Shame on Benedict Scott and agency commisioner Levine for this brazen thievery of taxpayers for another obsolete buraucracy.

    • You already have term limits with your votes. The problem is that few people that would be helpful can run because of the intentionally long session lengths. If you want change in Montpelier, from my own experience there, I believe the most important item to address is the session length.

      I know it seems a bit innocuous, but it very much defines the make up of the legislature because only people who have 6 months available each year can really run for office. That pretty much shuts the doors on anybody that feeds their family by working in the competitive market place. I served two terms and it took a decade to get our financial situation back where it should be and of course we will never recover what it cost us. That is the main reason I only served two terms and the only reason I ran for a second term was to honor all the incredible people who worked to get me elected, most of whom were not overly politically active people, just people who wanted to live in a state with some sense of sanity.

      I very much think this is fixable and in one election. It requires a full slate of busy people running for office in every district. And long session length needs to be their number one focus and they can show how everything else trickles down from that. It determines who can serve and who cannot serve and creates a statehouse with people that have no clue of real life. So they pass unworkable laws every year and the mess gets deeper and deeper. They never focus on the true obligations of state government and keep creating new ways, just like this insane $750K theft. It gives them time to meddle in all sorts of things that they have no business meddling with. Etc. I believe with an effort statewide, this is a winning issue. Each candidate makes it clear that they will end their time in Montpelier at a certain time, barring a real emergency. I believe the goal the first year after each election could do everything needed 2 months and should create a 2-year budget. The second year should be limited to budget adjustments to account for dependencies between projected revenue and real revenue.

      We now live in Virginia, which is far more complex than Vermont. It’s population is diverse, where as Vermont’s population is largely homogeneous. Virginia has cities and congested areas. Vermont has neither. It may have city forms of government, but they really are towns. The first year ends in mid March and the second ends in early February. By contrast one year I was in Montpelier it ran into June! There is no reason for this except to keep people who live in the real world out of the legislature and to give them time to create more problems for them to “solve”.

  4. This is outrageous!!!!! As an over taxed voter in Vermont, I OBJECT!!!! FIRST, rescind the grant and next you fire Levin. What right does he have to arbitrarily give state funds to a private organization misrepresenting itself as a “women’s health provider” when in fact it’s an abortion mill????

  5. Why can’t Vermonters make the connection of how so much of their confiscated tax dollars go to entities that from a political perspective are used to help reelect the people who spend that money?

    As Ben Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”

    That is who the Vermont have become.

    • “Vermont” in my above statement was meant to be “Vermont legislators” … meaning the majority who politically benefit from how they vote to spend taxpayer money.


  7. Beware the wolves in sheep’s clothing. It is not a kindness to help poor women to legally kill their unborn children. I hope poor women have enough wisdom to realize Vermont wants to eliminate their children . It is nothing but evil.

  8. It’s the Vermont circle of life for politics, did anyone notice they pretty much funded the entire Democratic Party last election? As a candidate we were offered $3,000 if we answered all of planned parenthood so questions with a yes.

    Then did you note when voting for our abortion bill, planned parenthood publically declared they were watching how everyone was voting on Vermont Digger.

    Now,the legislators award planned parenthood with complete funding, now they could have done something else but it wouldn’t complete the Vermont circle,of life for sleazy politicians and lobbyists.

    Meanwhile the Vermont public just got fleeced a million dollars to fund the Democratic Party and pass out free condoms at high school! And we thought doc was corrupt? They got nothing on Montpelier. We didnt earn our d- in ethics for nothing.

  9. You’ve got to be kidding me. They are going to use more of my tax dollars to pay for something that I totally disagree with. Where’s their common sense legislation in this.
    These idiots have to go. There are much more useful places to spend our money than on that corrupt organization of baby killers.

  10. Let’s see we have a state that has a heavy tax burden, it’s in debt with all the unfunded
    liabilities …….. and our elected officials can pony up $750K to fund this ” butcher Shop ”

    Why, if you want an abortion, then pay for it yourself, take the responsibility for the position
    you put yourself in……… an Idiot comes to mind.

    Apparently, all logic has left Montpelier !!

  11. Your article may be slightly confusing Guy – I’m not sure that it is clear to your readers that the Trump Administration and the federal government changed the rules for Title X availability.

    For nearly 50 years the Title X funds have been available for family planning services for low income Americans. The Trump Administration has changed the Title X eligibility to disqualify recipient healthcare facilities that provide referrals to all legal reproductive healthcare services. So Vermont is losing federal funding for low income women’s healthcare because we provide referrals to legal reproductive healthcare services.

    • Hopefully our schools have educated our populace on how children come into this world if their parents haven’t. Let’s hope they also educated them in the concept of birth control too. If you can’t afford birth control perhaps one shouldn’t be playing the game that creates children.

      Life is not too difficult to understand, some things are pretty simple, perhaps not the easiest thing in the world, but it’s not too complicated in this regard.

      • Yes, Luke and other men commenting here that are concerned about this cut to women’s healthcare: after 50 years, we are now disqualified from receiving federal funds that are used for breast screenings and pelvic exams for low income women because our health care professionals make REFERRALS for other LEGAL health care services such as abortion.

        When I was a young mom working three part time jobs and raising my two young daughters on my own, I used both the breast screening and the pelvic exam programs at PP.

        This cut in federal funds will not stop abortion. It will simply hurt low income women and children. Imagine how much more costly it could have been to taxpayers to have had to raise my children if I had died from undiagnosed breast or ovarian cancer.

        • Female comment alert: Ms. Sibilia says “Yes, Luke and other men commenting here that are concerned about this cut to women’s healthcare: after 50 years, we are now disqualified from receiving federal funds that are used for breast screenings and pelvic exams for low income women because our health care professionals make REFERRALS for other LEGAL health care services such as abortion.”

          Noting that commenters are mostly men a cheap shot…as it is *not* “family planning services for low income women” or “funds that are used for breast screenings and pelvic exams for low income women” being discussed here…but specifically abortion most notably third trimester abortion up to and including live birth.

          Services mentioned are mostly performed in doctors offices by primary care providers of family or womens services, funding of which VT health care system needs much more than defacto abortion-industry operating under the guise of necessitating “funds that are used for breast screenings and pelvic exams for low income women”.

          Ending this missionary work for abortion industry would allow funding to be received. So kindly spare your audience obligatory story of extreme hardship as I personally disbelieve it as subjective storylines a red-flagged strategy to highlight the need for million-dollar projects.

          And shame on you for deceptive and *false* statements.

        • You have not been in a PP recently they do not do breast screening they will only refer you. They may do a pelvic exam but again they will refer you out if there is a problem. They have become nothing more then abortion mills and contraceptive clinics. WE should not kid ourselves that what was in place 50 years ago is what is happening today. Title X funds is still available for family planning for the low income, just how it should be used. PP has plenty of money to support their abortion clinics. They can stop giving money to politicians!

        • Rep. Laura Sibilia,

          First there was no cut to anything except abortion. If you want to defend abortion, go ahead, but please do not pretend that this cut had to impact anything else, except for the fact that PP determined that abortion was a higher priority than women’s health. And I suspect, like just about any corporate decision, if you follow the money you will understand their decision … if you really wan to understand it.

          One upside from this is that it could open up more options for women now since a reality of the presence of any mega-sized operation tends to push out smaller, more organic options that in many ways provide better service. Just like Home Depot pushes out the small local hardware stores that you could get almost anything you ever needed in less than 5 minutes. I am not saying that Home Depot does not have other qualities, but it does force the smaller and most certainly home-grown stores out of business. So give this some time before you claim that PP decision to take abortions over this money is all bad for women’s health. Comments like that at this point seem way to premature.

          Lastly, as for what seems to be your bigger concern, please do not get sexist on abortion. It kills both boys and girls, although overall likely more girls because in some cultures boys are valued far more than girls. Thankfully that is not the case in America for those who live out our founding principles of all people being created equal. I also suspect you are aware that data points to somewhere around 75% of abortions are a result of the father pressuring the mother to kill the baby so he will not have to take any responsibility. This issue is far more complex than your sexist comment “Luke and other men …” pretends.

          For the record, I oppose abortion, regardless if the baby is a boy or a girl. A nation that does not value individual human life cannot protect the right to individual liberty, the right to self-defense, individual property rights or any other individual right. And make no mistake about the erosion of these basic human rights, it all ties back to a culture that allows the life to be stripped from its most defenseless members.

          BTW, Does or would PP in any way help you get elected? Including by working against an opponent that values human life, if you had such an opponent? That happens regularly, just as it did in my state senate races. I won anyway, but the dirty money was quite present.

        • Doesn’t appear anyone here is saying or suggesting what you’ve stated. Quite the opposite, we wish you and everyone well. Glad you were able to nip the big C in the bud. Insurance is much different now, I think you can get these things done at the doctors office with Vermont Health Connect.

          All these men are sticking up for the rights of the children and the rights of the person to be the mother and the responsibility of them to be a father. I’d say you’re in pretty good responsible company.

        • Everybody in Vermont is now required to have health insurance – and ‘low income’ women and children are covered by Medicaid (one third of the state’s population), thanks to the folks who actually pay taxes.

    • With 30% of the population on medicaid (that others pay for) and just about everyone else on health insurance, explain why PP is needed at all — and why we should be paying for it?

      • To feed the Democratic party with money every year to win elections. It’s pretty important to them, it’s their life blood of free tax payer money, a little blood money apparently.

    • How about putting some of the onus on the men who helped cause the problem in the first place.

    • I believe you’re slightly confused Ms. Sibilia – Planned Parenthood voluntarily left the Title X program because they didn’t want to comply with the new rules. So Vermont is ‘losing federal funding for low income women’s healthcare’ because one agency doesn’t like the rule change, and we’re making it up by shifting taxpayer money from the VT Dept of Health.

      Are you still wondering why so many in this state don’t trust any of you under the dome?

    • Obfuscating comment appears to be false or misleading. What is being targeted are funds used for abortion…while you may chosse to categorize abortion as ‘family planning’ it is in fact the taking of a life.

      “Womens health services” could still be offered – but also opens the door for similarly dedicated womens health services which *do not* offer abortion referrals to receive that funding.

      This would also free up Planned Parenthood offerings for their main purpose – specialty of killing babies to be used in trafficking of freshly harvested body parts and human tissue. This is what the $750,000. represents.

      And here in VT as well as other places full term babies are now being killed which is being used to facilitate farming of live children.

      Dirty secret alert: Its been going on since removing above third-trimester ban – babies live-birthed have been left to die.

      What this new law of facilitating full-term live killing of children just prior to and following birth accomplishes is to facilitate organ-farming as organs need to be taken from a live ‘donor’. And to remove from liability hospital personnel and those performing these ‘crucial’ “family planning services”…child would be kept ‘comfortable’of course (as comfortable as an oxygen-starved hungry dying child can be) as ‘mother’, family and doctor ‘discuss options’…

      • Dear anonymous poster – Please provide any evidence of “here in VT full term babies are now being killed which is being used to facilitate farming of live children” to law enforcement and to the press. Both are illegal in Vermont.

        • I’m not the anonymous poster, Rep. Sibilia, nor am I taking a position on this issue. I’m simply offering some insight into your request for evidence, which someone of your position should be able to provide in the first place.

          Consider this from the Committee on Oversight and Reform, the main investigative committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

          Planned Parenthood receives reasonable reimbursement for its tissue donation services, as expressly permitted by law.

          Currently, only two of Planned Parenthood’s 59 affiliates participate in fetal tissue research. One is reimbursed for reasonable costs at $60 per specimen, and the other receives no reimbursements.[10]
          Tissue procurement companies confirm that they reimburse Planned Parenthood only for “reasonable costs,” including “processing, preservation, quality control, transportation, and storage.”[11]

          Whether or not these practices occur in Vermont may be beside the point for some people. But Vermont’s abortion law apparently does allow “.. a child to be aborted right up to the moment of birth”, even if the statement is deemed to be “… true in a strict legal sense, but only if the law existed in a practice and policy vacuum.”

          Again, this distinction, too, may be beside the point for many Vermont taxpayers now finding they are subsidizing even the limited occurrence of these practices. And speaking of being guilty until proven innocent, can you provide evidence this isn’t happening in Vermont.

        • Newsflash Rep Sibilus: Only a commenter whose username is ‘anonymous’ is actually anonymous…but interesting that you of all ppl would need a map to my door to consider my comments valid:
          Rep. Laura Sibilia
          Be aware of what personally identifiable information you are sharing – including bio-metric #privacy vs. #security…

          9:16 AM – 19 Aug 2019

          Pants on fire much Ms. Sibilia
          HORRIFIC: Planned Parenthood Has Been Caught HARVESTING ORGANS From LIVING Babies
          by A.M. Smith 2 months ago

          Oh…but that’s illegal…call the police indeed…

          Again…you of all ppl should know this aaand…it’s *not new*…soo would you have readers believe that you were completely in the dark about Planned Parenthood Tissuegate…but you see… but that’s illegal too…

          I find your glib dismissal disturbing Rep Sibilia *facepalm*

    • The law creating Title X states that funds cannot go to programs that include abortion as a method of family planning. The law has been ignored; the new rules make sure the law is followed. Will there be any limits on the use of these State funds or can they be used to promote abortion as just another method of family planning?

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