The Fact Checker: Does Phil Scott Oppose a Woman's Right to Choose? | Off Message

Please support our work!

Donate  Advertise

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Fact Checker: Does Phil Scott Oppose a Woman's Right to Choose?

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 8:00 AM

With the 2012 campaign season in full swing, Seven Days has teamed up with to create a fact-checker feature to test the "truthiness" of claims made by the candidates who want your vote this November. 

CLAIM: Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott is “against a woman’s right to choose.” 

— September 7 fundraising email by Jerry Greenfield, campaign treasurer for Progressive/Democrat Cassandra Gekas

FACTS: Last week, Ben & Jerry’s cofounder Jerry Greenfield served up some reasons to give money to Cassandra Gekas’ campaign for lieutenant governor. Most amounted to attacks on Phil Scott, the Republican incumbent.

In a fundraising email, Greenfield wrote, “Do you want Phil Scott to be Vermont’s next governor? ... He is against a woman’s right to choose.”

Phil Scott served 10 years in the state Senate representing Washington County before he won election as lieutenant governor in 2010. He has consistently maintained a pro-choice stance — even when he cosponsored a parental notification bill during the 2003-2004 session that would require health care providers to alert parents before performing abortions on their minor-age daughters.

For the 2010 campaign, Scott completed an issue position survey for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in which he described himself as “pro-choice but with restrictions.”

“Because of my beliefs, I find it impossible to answer the question in your survey with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” Scott wrote. “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.”

Scott wrote that he opposes “partial-birth” abortion “because I believe there are many options available to terminate a pregnancy well before that stage of development.” He also said he opposed government funding for abortions because using taxpayer dollars for something many people disagree with is “not an appropriate public policy.”

He wrote that he supports a fetal homicide bill — as long as it’s 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.”

The Vermont Right to Life Committee has listed Scott as a “preferred candidate” in past elections because of his support for parental notification. But the pro-life group has stopped short of endorsing him because of his pro-choice views, says executive director Mary Hahn Beerworth.

SCORE: Pro-choice advocates may view restrictions such as those Scott supports as a slippery slope toward outlawing all abortions — and may be rightly concerned about the slow erosion of abortion rights. But putting conditions on abortion such as parental notification for minors is not the same as categorically opposing a woman’s right to choose. It’s an oversimplification — and misleading — to say he is “against” a woman’s right to choose. A more accurate statement from the Gekas campaign might have read, “Phil Scott wants to restrict a woman’s right to choose.” For those reasons, we rate the claim “Mostly False.”

Each week in Fact Checker, reporters and editors will evaluate the veracity of statements and rate them on a five-point scale: True, Mostly True, Debatable, Mostly False, and Udder Bull. 

Got a claim you want fact-checked? Email [email protected] to reach Anne Galloway (VTDigger) and Andy Bromage (Seven Days).

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

One or more images has been removed from this article. For further information, contact [email protected].

About The Author

7D Staff

More By This Author

  • Find a Job, Make Connections and Learn About Local Innovation at the Vermont Tech Jam
  • Find a Job at Vermont Tech Jam Oct. 22

    Vermont is home to numerous innovative tech companies that make everything from underwater robots to battery-powered aircraft. Learn about them at the Vermont Tech Jam, an annual career and tech expo on Saturday, October 22 at Hula on the Burlington waterfront. This year's keynote presenters: Boston Scientific cofounder John Abele and Sarah Kalil, CEO of the Vermont-based CoreMap. (7D PROMO)
    • Sep 27, 2022
  • The Cannabis Issue
  • The Cannabis Issue

    • May 15, 2019
  • The Election Night 2018 Live Blog
  • The Election Night 2018 Live Blog

    • Nov 6, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Off Message

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2024 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation