Tag Archives: Sharon Toborg

Vermont’s Anti-Abortion Movement Just Acknowledged It Can’t Win

The Vermont Right to Life Committee, which has led the losing battle against abortion in our state for decades, is strangely absent from the campaign over Article 22.

Or so it would seem.

In a tacit acknowledgment that their brand is irredeemably tainted, anti-abortion activists have gone under cover. They’ve created a new group with the anodyne monicker of Vermonters for Good Government Action to lead the fight against Article 22. They’ve adopted rhetoric that never expresses blanket opposition to abortion. No fetus pictures, nothing whatsoever about life beginning at conception, no screaming about The Abortion Industry.

Because hey, who could possibly oppose Good Government Action?

But look at who’s funding this thing: ultraconservative donor Lenore Broughton has dropped a cool $100,000, ardent prolife donor Carol Breuer gave $50,000, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which long ago forfeited any claim to moral superiority, kicked in another 50 G’s. The rest of the human race donated a total of $14,039.

Also, there on the “Treasurer” line of VGGA’s campaign finance filing is the name “Sharon Toborg,” who is merely the second most prominent (behind Mary Beerworth) anti-abortion activist in Vermont and a stalwart leader of Vermont Right to Life.

The one to watch is Broughton, who once spent more than a million bucks in a futile bid to swing the 2012 election for the Republicans. She could top that figure easily. I think we should expect that she will.

The problem with Broughton’s backing is, well, it’s kind of a curse.

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Vermont Right to Life Practices the Art of Not Being Seen

The folks at Vermont Right to Life know they’re up against it. Vermont voters will have their say in November on Proposition 5, a constitutional amendment protecting reproductive rights, and they will almost certainly pass it by a wide margin. Right to Life knows this. So they are setting out to campaign in stealth mode. Like the many conservative school board candidates I’ve written about, VRTL has abandoned its real agenda in favor of a whitewashed, seemingly inoffensive suite of arguments.

They’ve even launched a new organization, Vermonters for Good Government. Now, doesn’t that sound like something we can all get behind?

But a brief perusal of VfGG’s website shows that their vision of “good government” consists of one thing: Defeating Proposition 5. But they aren’t doing it by shouting about how fetuses are human beings, no sir. They simply want to expose “the implications of swift changes to the Vermont Constitution.”

Swift, ha. The amendment process takes a full two four* years. Ain’t nothing “swift” about Prop 5.

*The amendment must be approved in two successive bienniums, not two successive years.

But wait, there’s more! These people are the real feminists, don’t ya know? VfGG warns of “the unseen, harmful impact of Prop 5 on the health and well-being of young girls, women, our communities, our healthcare system…” And they close by saying they are nothing more than guardians of the Vermont Constitution.

How do I know VfGG and VRTL are one and the same? First, according to the Secretary of State’s nonprofit registry, the principals of VfGG include two prominent figures in the right to life movement, Sharon Toborg and Norman Smith. And second, the VRTL Twitter account is promoting an event sponsored by VfGG.

That event, by the way, is a campaign strategy session led by a notorious figure in far-right politics.

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