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Public Statements - Shumlin Rallies with Pro-Choice Advocates

News Article

Location: Burlington, VT

By Gina Bullard

The countdown to election day is getting slimmer and the candidates for governor are campaigning more than ever. Democrat Peter Shumlin held a rally with his supporters in Burlington Sunday showing his pro-choice support.

The rain didn't stop many people from marching in Peter Shumlin's pro-choice rally down Church Street.

"I believe the government should stay out of the critical decision between a woman and her health care provider," Shumlin said.

"I think that choice is an incredibly important issue in this election," Sarah Kenney, a Shumlin supporter.

Shumlin's opponent, Brian Dubie is pro life, and when asked about abortion in the case of rape or incest, does not answer the question.

"I believe that is a value that most Vermonters don't share and I don't share and I don't want the leader of my state to force women and girls who have been the victim of rape and incest to have to carry those pregnancies to term," said Kristin Balanchette of Monkton.

"I work with survivors of sexual violence in my day job and I see the impact that this has on them. They need to have a full range of reproductive rights," Kenney said.

Abortions became legal in 1973 and Shumlin feels that women still should have the right to choose in all cases. "If something terrible was to happen to any Vermont woman, whether it was against their will or unplanned pregnancy, I just believe the government should not be making those decisions. Men should not be making those decisions for them. I trust Vermont's women," Shumlin said.

"I want all women to have access to health care info and public services, so it really scares me. It would be the first time we had a right-to-lifer in the government in Vermont -- it's terrifying," said Rick Moulton, a Shumlin supporter.

Currently Vermont funds low income women's right to make reproductive choices, including paying for abortions in the case of rape and incest.

"I believe it's really important for low income women to have the same rights as the rest of other women in Vermont. Brian could easily change that with one stroke of the pen in his proposed budget. I could give you hundreds of other examples but the point is, we need a pro-choice governor -- I am it," Shumlin said.

Dubie has repeatedly said that abortion laws are not on his political agenda. In a recent debate he said he is open to considering measures that allowed parental involvement in abortion decisions if it also had provisions for a judge or third party to be involved in instances of rape or incest.

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