Senate targets pregnancy centers

Aspire, in Williston, is among the seven privately-funded pregnancy counseling services being targeted by a Vermont Senate advertising gag bill.

By Guy Page

A Senate bill shielding abortion and transgender medical service providers from any legal action also would restrict advertising by Vermont’s seven pro-life pregancy counseling centers. 

S37 was reviewed by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee this week. It would:

  • Require that a health insurance plan covers gender-affirming health care services and abortion-related services
  • Protect a health care provider from professional disciplinary action for providing or assisting in legally protected health care services, and 
  • Establish a new unfair and deceptive act regarding pregnancy centers. Specifically the bills states:

“It is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce and a violation of section 2453 of this title for any limited-services pregnancy center to disseminate or cause to be disseminated to the public any advertising about  the services or proposed services performed at that center if the management of the center knows or, by the exercise of reasonable care, ought to know it is untrue or clearly designed to mislead the public about the nature of services provided. Advertising includes representations made directly to consumers; marketing practices; communication in any print medium, such as newspapers, magazines, mailers, or handouts; and any broadcast medium, such as television or radio, telephone marketing, or advertising over the Internet such as through websites and web ads.”

S37 also would give the Attorney General or State’s Attorney authority to make rules, conduct civil investigations, and bring civil actions with respect to violations.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers have long insisted that Vermont’s seven privately-funded, pro-life pregnancy centers use deceptive advertising because their ads and online media promise to offer abortion information, even though the centers do not perform abortions. In fact the pregnancy centers do provide abortion information, and explicitly state they do not perform abortions.

The four lead sponsors of S37 are: Sens. Virginia Lyons, Ruth Hardy, Alison Clarkson and Kesha Ram Hinsdale. Additional sponsors are Philip Baruth, Christopher Bray, Brian Campion, Thomas Chittenden, Ann Cummings, Martine Gulick, Wendy Harrison, Nader Hashim, M. Jane Kitchel, Richard McCormack, Andrew Perchlik, Richard Sears, Tanya Vyhovsky, Anne Watson, Rebecca White and Irene Wrenner. No Republicans sponsored S37.

Abortion advocates have repeatedly said that Vermonters’ overwhelming (72% yes – 22% no) support for Article 22, the ‘reproductive liberty’ amendment approved in November, provides a strong mandate for aggressive legislation. Article 22 critics say it was misrepresented by supporters and under-covered by most news media.

Contact information for all lawmakers is available in Vermont Daily Chronicle’s “Toolbox to Follow and Influence the Legislature.” on its Vermont Legislative Directory page.

A former Vermont lawmaker criticized media characterization of the attempt to silence the pro-life pregnancy centers. When VTDigger wrote that “Senators have begun discussing a wide-ranging bill that would safeguard Vermont doctors from professional repercussions for providing abortions within state lines — and crack down on non-medical, anti-abortion facilities that some deem deceptive,” Former Mendon Rep. Job Tate wrote this morning on Twitter:

“Digger says they are seeking to “crack down” on crisis pregnancy centers – like they’re selling knock-off Gucci bags out of the trunk of their car. The bigotry of low-expectations that people think a young woman could be “tricked” into bringing their baby to term.”

Pro-life pregnancy centers in Vermont include: Aspire Now in Williston, Care Net Pregnancy Center of Central Vermont in Barre, The Women’s Center in Middlebury, First Step Pregnancy Clinic in Rutland, True North Pregnancy Resource Center in Bennington, Branches Pregnancy Resource Center in Brattleboro and Birthright of Burlington.

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Categories: Legislation, Life&Death

20 replies »

  1. How is it that the VT Senate committee members aren’t familiar with the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution? Like many things the legislature is currently considering, this proposal is absolutely crazy. Totally unconstitutional.

  2. Part of the left’s continued attacks on religion and thought that differs from the accepted diktat.
    Vermont Constitution, Ch. 1:
    Article 3. [Freedom in religion; right and duty of religious worship]
    That all persons have a natural and unalienable right, to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings, as in their opinion shall be regulated by the word of God; and that no person ought to, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of conscience, nor can any person be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of religious sentiments, or peculia[r] mode of religious worship; and that no authority can, or ought to be vested in, or assumed by, any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship. Nevertheless, every sect or denomination of christians ought to observe the sabbath or Lord’s day, and keep up some sort of religious worship, which to them shall seem most agreeable to the revealed will of God.

    This country and state were founded as a Constitutional Republic, and quoting John Adams: “Our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”. As evidenced by the bills introduced so far this biennium, John Adams was correct.

  3. How about targeting COVID vaccination locations as engaging in unfair and deceptive acts? It is unfair to require their product be used or else be in jeopardy of losing one’s livelihood…deceptive since we had the President himself declare that if you get vaccinated you wont get COVID.

  4. This is a note which I sent to a Senator who I personally know out of my concern for this bill. S37 is akin to them being like the Gestapo:

    “I am HIGHLY disappointed that you support the S37 proposed bill. I always thought of you as a very fair person. Planned Parenthood gets to say & do whatever they want including receiving financial gov’t aid yet a Pro-life center which is privately funded can’t encourage and help a woman who is deciding what to do with her pregnancy??? Isn’t this America anymore??

    They don’t push or force anyone! I know a number of those CARING people who work there. The centers offer ultrasound so the woman can see what’s inside of her body (and there’s nothing wrong with a machine that was paid for by volunteer donations).. They give support in many ways to help achieve success, even provide baby supplies & clothing if she decides to keep the pregnancy. PP does not do anything besides perform abortions (oh and maybe some minor ‘health care’). Pregnancy Centers are not being deceptive in any way other than to offer help to a woman who may consider keeping her child.

    The Centers do say that abortion is an option but that they don’t offer that procedure. WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT??? I can go to a masseuse and she might say that she doesn’t do a hot stone massage, or go to a auto repair place and they can do this or that repair job but not another. That is their option as private places of business! Are ordinary people (like myself or in this case, a young woman trying to figure out what to do) not free anymore to make their own decisions??.

    PLEASE ___ do NOT support this Bill! This is America where we must maintain our personal freedoms. Please don’t forget that. The all-Dem legislature has become dangerous because there’s no balance with no consideration of the Constitution.

    What’s fair is fair. I encourage you to change your mind___, on this and encourage your fellow senators to do what’s right–to be fair and not close or penalize a place just because they have a belief in only one side! THAT is playing God!”

  5. Am I mistaken or did I not see that a federal law was passed recently that no religiously based pregnancy services nationwide could be harassed or targeted by abortion advocates??????

    • With sincerity Cathy Dodge, could you link me to this federal law, or give me some idea of where I could find it ?

  6. This is nothing but overreach. This is a majority trying to silence the opposition. I think it’s a disgusting waste of leadership if that is what you call this.

    • This isn’t leadership, it’s harassment. This isn’t leadership, it’s ruling instead of representing. This isn’t leadership, it’s bullying! We are seeing the same bullies names on all these bills. The killing squad!

  7. They have the nerve to declare pregnancy centers as being “deceptive.” That just takes the cake now doesn’t it? How quickly have they forgotten the very OVERTLY DECEPTIVE (some would say outright FRAUDULENT) propaganda plastered all over TV, radio, online and print media during the election regarding Article 22.

    Such remarkably selective memories for such brilliant liberal academics. SMFH.

  8. You know they’re pushing buttons for a reason, right? They up the ante every day. They keep hoping to draw us offside, like in a football game. Beware, that is exactly what they are looking for every moment of their puny little despicable lives. They want someone else to start the war so they can feel absolved of any and all crimes they’ve committed to get to this point. Organize offline.

  9. They are taking over and we are letting them. Just like the Sander’s adminisration, keep putting in progressive morons that have no morals and they will defeat the ones that let it happen.

  10. Wow…that is way more detailed than any non-life affirming care legislation! In a logical world that wording would cause Planned Parenthood to be brought to court. There is so much missing from their advertising and presentation of services as well as offering little to no alternatives to abortion. Right is wrong and wrong is right in Vermont today.

  11. Do these centers conceal their purpose? It wouldn’t appear so. This is a clear violation of rights.

  12. Both, the S37 bill and the Article 22 amendment are an insult to the intelligence of Vermonters.
    How anyone could vote for either is beyond comprehension. Article 22, called “Reproductive Liberty” SHOULD imply that one is “free to reproduce” – NOT to kill, poison, or dismember.
    It’s inhumane and immoral to legally stifle a handful of groups (groups that, by the way, are financially self-supporting) – (unlike PP, that relies on government funding.)
    These pregnancy centers offer help, guidance, and education to potential mothers. Why do liberals feel so threatened by this?
    The “Dems” are professionals at “pulling the wool” over the eyes of the voters.

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