By Guy Page
Whether due to a worker shortage, the Dobbs decision, and/or answered prayer, the Planned Parenthood clinic on Washington Street no longer performs abortions, according to its own website and anecdotal reports from pro-life activists.
The Barre PP clinic website this spring said it offered chemical abortions, but now says it provides only ‘abortion referrals’ among its abortion-related subjects. Vermont’s largest abortion provider continues to perform abortions at four clinics statewide, the closest about 40 miles from Barre. Unlike Barre, these clinics explicitly market that they perform abortions.
The clinic is also open only three days a week – despite promising more hours when it closed a clinic in Newport last year “because of limited resources and the national crisis for reproductive health access…we’re reallocating our resources, a spokesperson said. Planned Parenthood isn’t talking about the reduction of hours or services on social media, and it doesn’t respond to VDC inquiries. Three possibilities have been mentioned:
- Worker shortage. Planned Parenthood describes itself as a ‘health care provider,’ a description heartily disputed by abortion critics and upheld by clinic supporters who point to other, non-abortion-related services. All employers, and especially health care providers, are shorthanded, due in part to the graying of the Vermont workforce and the lack of young workers. It’s possible that PP is suffering the same problem.
- Reduced demand for services due to the Dobbs decision. This seems less likely, as Vermont has aggressively positioned itself as an ‘abortion sanctuary’ from states that have passed post-Dobbs abortion restrictions. A Society of Family Planning study showed that Vermont abortions pre-and-post Dobbs are up only slightly, averaging about 110 per month on each “side” of the June Dobbs decision.
- Answered prayer. For many years, Tom Kelly of Barre has led a large band of peaceful, non-trespassing prayer and fasting vigil participants in the 40 Days for Life campaign, which has spread to Rutland and Burlington.
Kelly readily concedes the possibility of #3 is a matter of faith. “We must have faith,” he told VDC recently. “He hears and answers our prayers. PP stands for abortion. PP is the face of abortion. They promote and refer women to abortion.”
The 40 Days campaigns will continue regardless of whether the Barre clinic starts performing abortions again, he said.
“Our 40 Days for Life campaign of prayer and fasting continues whether or not they offer abortion since they promote abortion. PP stands for abortion,” Kelly said.
The kickoff for the fall 40 Days for Life campaign will be held in the cafeteria of the St. Monica’s School in Barre at 1 pm this Sunday, September 24. Eloquent pro-lifer Martin Green of Morrisville will be the keynote speaker. See advertisement on VDC for more information.
About Vermont Daily Chronicle: every weekday, we publish 10 Vermont-related news and commentary articles. Subscriptions to Vermont Daily Chronicle are free. Subscribing takes less than one minute: click here to subscribe and receive the daily edition in your email. The Vermont Daily Chronicle is supported almost exclusively by Contributing Readers who appreciate our unique place in the Vermont news media and generously give $108/year (some give more, some less) via PayPal or by writing a check to Vermont Daily Chronicle, P.O. Box 1547, Montpelier Vermont, 05641.