S.37 mean-spirited, anti-choice
by Janet Metz
The seven Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) in Vermont afford a choice to pregnant women who wish to keep their babies. The centers, each overseen by a licensed medical director, have served thousands of women in our state, CRPS have provided sonograms, immediate referrals to OB/GYN practitioners and social services, parenting classes, and the necessities needed to care for a baby.
All of these services are funded through private donations at no cost to Vermont taxpayers.
Since the Dobbs Decision, there has been a national campaign by pro-abortion groups to smear PRCs and push legislation designed to make it impossible for them to function. The centers’ alleged crimes are that they fraudulently advertise that they provide abortions and have unlicensed employees performing sonograms and providing medical care.
In Vermont nothing could be further from the truth. A medical director oversees the seven centers. The centers that offer sonograms use licensed medical practitioners. They do not provide pre-natal care.
Provisions that would have a chilling effect on PRCs are embedded in S.37, known as The Shield Law, which would confer liability protection for medical providers who perform abortions and “gender affirming care” to residents of other states which restrict or outlaw these procedures.
Near the end of the 24-page bill is buried a section entitled Pregnancy Center Fraud, defined as any advertising to the public that is fraudulent or misleading about the nature of services provided.
Of course, fraudulent, or misleading advertising can be in the eye of the beholder. However, PRCs in Vermont do not advertise services that they do not offer, including abortion. Nor has testimony before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee provided any evidence of such. Nonetheless, S.37 authorizes the attorney general to issue subpoenas, conduct investigations, and bring civil actions if any is alleged to be found. The current attorney general has made no secret of her wish to protect access to abortion, so one may question her fair-mindedness in investigating PRCs.
It is worthy of note that Vermont Law does not hold abortion providers to any standards. There is no state regulation, no rules for medical and mental health practitioners, no inspections in facilities that offer abortions. There is currently no medical director overseeing Planned Parenthood clinics in Vermont. The attorney general is not empowered to investigate or bring civil action against an abortion clinic.
Does anyone see the irony here? The supporters of abortion use the euphemism “Pro-Choice”. They have enshrined the right to abortion to any “individual” in Vermont in our constitution at any stage of a baby’s gestation until the moment of birth.
It is mean-spirited and unnecessary to try to silence PRCs and open them up to investigations by abortion ideologues. What about women who want to give birth and parent that child? Especially low-income women. They have a right to CHOOSE. The provisions of S.37 regarding PRCs should be struck from the bill.
The author is chair of both the Chittenden County Republican Party and the Vermont Republican Women’s Coalition, but the opinions presented are her own.