Thank you for contacting me about my views on family planning issues.
I consider myself "pro-choice, but with restrictions." I do not see abortion issues as simple black-and-white decisions, however, and I'm sure that most women who have ever considered having an abortion themselves feel the same way. Because of my beliefs, I find it impossible to answer the questions in your survey with a simple "yes" or "no."
But I do want to respond to your inquiry and let people know how I tend to approach these issues. I hope that this discussion is helpful to you and your members, and I would be more than willing to continue the conversation at any time.
I believe that family planning services are an essential part of our health care system. In our current economic situation, systemwide reductions in health care spending may be necessary to balance budgets, but I would not support cuts directed specifically and only at family planning services.
I wholeheartedly support age-appropriate sexuality education in schools. I believe young people need guidance about the life and health consequences that come with the decision to be sexually active. For the same reasons, I also believe parents should counsel any woman under 18 who wants to have an abortion.
As I said above, I do support a woman's right to choose; however, I do not believe it needs to be a "blank check" in order to be effective. I do not support partial-birth abortion, because I believe there are many options available to terminate a pregnancy well before that stage of development.
I am also very aware that not all Vermonters share my pro-choice views; therefore, I do not believe that abortions should be funded with taxpayer dollars. Just as important as protecting a woman's right to choose, is respecting others" right to oppose abortion for religious or personal reasons. Using public funds to support something that many people strongly disagree with is, in my view, not an appropriate public policy.
I do support a state fetal homicide law. Again, going back to my statement that none of these are "black and white" issues, I do not feel that a fetal homicide law automatically endangers a woman's right to choose. I believe both groups' rights can be protected by a well-written law that carefully defines the circumstances under which a fetal homicide ruling would apply; for example, a car accident caused by a drunk driver in which a fetus was killed.
Finally, I believe we can all agree with efforts to reduce harmful chemicals in consumer goods. I believe it's important to have good scientific evidence of harmful health effects before mandating costly changes to production lines, but if the evidence is there, there is no question that the cost and the inconvenience is well worth it to protect our health.
Again, I thank you for your interest in my responses to these important questions.