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Dr. Dean and Abortion

George Neumayr

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"Dean's 'Dr. Dynasaur' health care program...allowed low-income mothers to claim their unborn child for eligibility in the program, then gave them funds to abort the child. "

Pols tend to find Jesus Christ not through priests and preachers but through pollsters. Howard Dean, a baptized Catholic turned Episcopalian turned Congregationalist, has seen enough polling to realize that he better appear religious pretty quick if he wishes to compete with George Bush. But as Dr. Dean suddenly ruminates on the life of Jesus Christ, Americans should ask him how his "committed" Christianity led him to an OB/GYN rotation at Planned Parenthood in the 1970s.

The Democrats, as if to underscore that they belong to the party of abortion, appear ready to make a former Planned Parenthood doctor and executive board member their nominee. Dean has said that he is "proud to have served as a Board Member of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England." But he is not so proud that he wants to claim credit for any of its abortions. Though he worked at Planned Parenthood on an OB/GYN rotation and as a "contract physician," according to news reports, he says that he never performed abortions. "I did not perform abortions, I'm a medical doctor," Dean has said. My, what a snob. Perhaps his old colleagues from Planned Parenthood should take offense.

Dr. Dean's work for Planned Parenthood invites further journalistic scrutiny. Is it true he never performed an abortion? Never even assisted at one? Somehow along the way he gained a knowledge of abortion procedures, according to Vermont Magazine in 1998. How did he learn them?

Surely Dean will at least take credit for abortion referrals. Recall his NARAL dinner speech last year where, in a attempt to score a debating point against parental notification laws, he described an occasion in his medical office where he lent a sympathetic ear to a 12-year-old who had been impregnated by her father. Under questioning from NBC's Tim Russert, Dean had to admit his incest story was bogus. The girl's father wasn't involved. Russert: "...when you told the story, you knew otherwise." Dean: "That's right." Russert: "Why didn't you say that?" Dean: "Because it didn't make any difference."(It would have made a difference for his argument. He needed the incest fabrication to punctuate the story with the line: "You explain that to the American people who think that parental notification is a good idea.")

Such lies and schemes are familiar to Vermont pro-lifers. They are still shaking their heads over Dean's "Dr. Dynasaur" health care program which allowed low-income mothers to claim their unborn child for eligibility in the program, then gave them funds to abort the child.

Mary Hahn Beerworth, the executive director of the Vermont Right To Life Committee, recalls Dean's ludicrous television ads where he would appear outfitted in a stethoscope as he touted the program. "Under Dean's Dr. Dynasaur program an unborn child is considered a family member for the purpose of income eligibility for the program," she says, even as it provides funds for the "abortion of that unborn child." "Dr. Dynasaur could be a real Achilles heel for him," she says.

"There is no abortion that Governor Dean doesn't think is a good idea and doesn't think the government should pay for," she says. "There is no more pro-abortion a politician in America."

Beerworth also recalls Dean's failed attempt to get the Vermont legislature to pass a universal health care plan that included "$5 copay" abortions. "Dean is unbelievable," she says, also noting the time he refused to talk to Vermont pro-lifers because, as he explained on a Vermont talk show, he didn't want to meet with common criminals.

That Dean is a "moderate" comes as news to Vermont pro-lifers. They remember him giving $350,000 a year in taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood. They remember him supporting partial-birth abortion, opposing parental notification laws, and engaging in surreal bombast. "I am tired of people in the Legislature thinking that they have an M.D. when what they really have is a B.S," he has said, reports LifeNews.com (in this case, about his support for physician-supported suicide). It also noted that he was the only Dem to appear at NARAL's presidential forum, where he said, "I'd hate to have Tom DeLay, who exterminates cockroaches when he's not in Congress, decide what my medical needs are."

Vermont pro-lifers say Dean personifies a "Yankee elitist mentality" common in the state. "Planned Parenthood is a beloved institution here," says one. "It deals with a lot of the messy people" who might encroach upon the "quaint lives" of the Yankee elite. Dean's proud association with Planned Parenthood, while making sure to distance himself from any direct hand in its abortions, is typical of this mindset, they say.

Under Governor Dean, Vermont ranked near the top of the nation in rate of abortion.

It averaged 359 abortions for every 1,000 live births in 1992.

Needless to say, Planned Parenthood is very proud of their alumnus. So much so it has given Dr. Dean its prestigious Margaret Sanger award.

George Neumayr is managing editor of The American Spectator.

Read this article on The American Spectator website. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Posted: 1/9/04



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