By Guy Page
Barre police are investigating the scrawling of graffiti at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Barre.
40 Days for Life anti-abortion sidewalk prayer coordinator Tom Kelly of Barre said that when he arrived at 7 AM Friday morning, he discovered someone had scrawled ‘Baby Killers’ in red paint on the side of the building and the sign in the driveway.
“I contacted police,” Kelly – a deputy state’s attorney in Lamoille County – said in a Saturday email to supporters. “We urge law enforcement to get any security video and prosecute those responsible.”
The Chronicle has requested the Barre Police Department for more information.
40 Days for Life has a near-constant daytime prayer presence on the sidewalk near the clinic. The peaceful ‘prayer warriors’ do not physically interfere with activities at the clinic or engage visitors. After conferring with 40 Days for Life leaders, Kelly decided on “a vigil pause while the dust settled.”
Despite the pause in the vigil, some late afternoon vigil participants did not get the word and were subject to angry responses by so-called “counter-protesters” holding signs and passersby. One emailed the following to Kelly:
“A woman across the street yelled at us to look at her. She had her camera taking our picture saying very vehemently that she would be posting our pictures everywhere and everyone would know what we were doing. In other words, she was threatening to dox us. Our response, we posed for the picture.
“She went and talked to the woman with the PP sign and approached us. She implied we had no right to be there and [we] informed her we had every right to be there. Then the woman that lives directly across the street in the grey apt building. I’ve seen her on the porch before shaking her head at us, well she decided to speak out yesterday. She started yelling vile obscenities at us. I invited her to come and talk to us, which just infuriated her. she literally screamed, ‘You need to stop this! We all have to live here! We are SICK of it!’ Seemed like everyone was angry yesterday.”
According to WCAX, Planned Parenthood of New England offered this statement: “Hateful racist actions like what happened at the Barre Health Center are designed to shame and intimidate our patients and staff and keep them from accessing health care … The bottom line is that everyone should be able to get health care without fear of violence – harassment or intimidation.”
A total of 1204 abortions were performed in Vermont during 2018, according to the Vermont Department of Health. Planned Parenthood is by far the largest abortion provider in the state. 109 women residing in Washington County had abortions in 2018, health department statistics say. There is no publicly available data for how many abortions have been performed at the Barre clinic.