The Hyde Amendment, a restriction on taxpayer funding of Medicaid abortions, turns 40 later this week. If you haven’t already discovered the #HelloHyde web site, please check it out. On the home page, you’ll meet some of the Medicaid kids who may owe their lives to the amendment.
Something else you’ll see on the site are the goals of the #HelloHyde coalition: celebrate the lives saved by the Hyde Amendment, and strengthen the amendment so it protects children conceived in violence. (Currently, Medicaid will fund abortions of children conceived through rape or incest.)
The Hyde Amendment is under attack. It has always had its detractors, who now sense a vulnerable moment in this election year. This is just one more thing at stake in November: the politically-connected abortion industry wants more of your money. The people who win seats in Congress will determine whether the industry will get it.
I wrote this today at DaTechGuy Blog, about the anniversary of the Hyde Amendment and what the presidential candidates are saying.
Abortion providers have tried to torpedo the Hyde Amendment since the day it was proposed. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is a determined foe of Hyde.Slate quotes her as saying that it “mak[es] it harder for low-income women to exercise their full rights.” Clinton and candidates in step with her are prepared to coerce all taxpayers into subsidizing abortion.
[Quoting hellohyde.org] The Hyde Amendment’s life-saving impact is hard to overstate. Both supporters and opponents agree that the Hyde Amendment has prevented over a million abortions. The disagreement, sad to say, is over whether that’s a good thing.
Last night’s screening of the documentary Hush at the Nashua (N.H.) Public Library attracted a modest audience. It also attracted online criticism and denial of its documented claims.
I don’t know how many of the deniers actually saw the film.
This was the second time I watched it, and if anything it increased my respect for the director who refuses to shut up about her findings and experience, even in the face of disbelief or outright condescension. Something on my Twitter feed this morning serves as a brief illustration: “Unfortunate this film gets any play. It ignores available scientific evidence & distorts issue.” (At least that tweet was polite.)
The lengthy list of references at the end of the film was displayed very quickly, and only a screenshot would allow close scrutiny. There’s an abbreviated list at hushfilm.com, as long as “available evidence” is at issue.
Director Punam Kumar Gill is steadfastly pro-choice but refuses to turn away from research pointing to conclusions that most abortion advocates don’t want to hear: links between abortion and breast cancer, between abortion and subsequent preterm births, and between abortion and adverse physical and psychological outcomes for women. She’s still pro-choice. She is also, as one of her interviewees put it, pro-information.
I’ve already written about the documentary elsewhere, albeit briefly. A few thoughts about last night’s screening:
I recognized four elected officials in the audience, all of whom remained afterward for conversation. New Hampshire’s lack of an informed consent law for abortion and failure to collect abortion statistics were topics of interest.
The film ended twenty minutes before the library closed for the evening. A library employee assured us we were welcome to stay for discussion as long as the building stayed open. I can attest that discussions continued outside on the library plaza after closing time.
No facilitator was needed. As soon as the lights came up, about four groups formed spontaneously. One woman who was there said this morning that her group’s discussion led to her, a pro-lifer, having a conversation (not an argument) with a pro-choice viewer of the film, lasting several hours off-site. The film’s director and producers would probably be pleased at that.
By far, most of the people who attended were women. I overheard several of them talking about bad experiences with condescending doctors. They don’t trust health care providers to be candid with them about abortion or anything else. It was only a generation or two ago that such medical condescension was recognized as misogyny, treating women as less-intelligent creatures who really oughta leave their health (and that of their children) to the professionals.
There was a collective gasp from the people seated near me during the film as the director was shown being escorted off the premises of a cancer research agency. All she, a pro-choice woman, had wanted to do was ask questions regarding information the agency promulgated online and in print dismissing any link between abortion and breast cancer.
The library hosted the screening after a city resident asked for it and kept following up until she heard “yes.” Maybe that gives you ideas. The film is also available for individual purchase.
Two of New Hampshire’s five Executive Councilors are now running for Governor, while the other three will be defending their Council seats in November. I’ll be posting more information about these candidates in the coming weeks.
The Executive Council’s responsibilities include voting on state contracts and deciding whether to confirm the Governor’s nominees to various posts. Read more about the Council at nh.gov.
District One: North Country
Incumbent Councilor Joe Kenney (R-Wakefield) is being challenged for the third time by Democrat Michael Cryans. The two went head-to-head in the 2014 special election that followed the death of longtime Councilor Ray Burton, and Kenney prevailed narrowly on that occasion as well as in the regular election a few months later.
Kenney was part of the Council majority that denied a contract to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in 2015. The contract was brought up again in June 2016 and was approved thanks to the flip-flop of Councilor Chris Sununu. During that June meeting, just before the contract vote was taken, Kenney explained his reasons for voting No.
“I’ll be voting against the contract, mostly because of the prioritization….[F]amily planning services is not the crisis of the day…. The number one issue in the state of New Hampshire is the opioid crisis. Number one.
“…We’re basically re-addressing something that was taken up last year, and this Council spoke very articulately and very forcefully that they were not going to support the contract….We should put that money into the drug opioid crisis.“
District Two: Concord, Keene, Durham, etc.
The Executive Council district map that illustrates this post features district 2 outlined in red. This, folks, is what a gerrymander looks like. Outgoing Councilor Colin Van Ostern of Concord will be succeeded by either Democrat Andru Volinsky of Concord or Republican Sam Cataldo of Farmington.
With his Council bid, Cataldo is giving up his district 6 Senate seat. He has a pro-life voting record, including support for a death penalty repeal bill which failed on a tie Senate vote in 2014.
Volinsky, an attorney from Concord, scored a decisive win in a three-way Democratic primary.
District Three: Seacoast & Southern Rockingham County
Democrat Beth Roth and Republican Russell Prescott are running for the Council seat being vacated by Chris Sununu.
In a Union Leader column last May, Roth wrote that the Council’s 2015 denial of the PP contract “mortgaged the health of women and families to satisfy a national partisan agenda….I’m running for Executive Council in District 3 because I believe we must fully restore funding for Planned Parenthood…”
Prescott (R-Kingston) has served several terms as state senator for district 23. He has supported many life-issue bills but opposed death penalty repeal in 2014.
District Four: Manchester + areas north and east of the city
Incumbent Councilor Chris Pappas, a Manchester Democrat, is being challenged by Manchester’s Joseph Kelly Levasseur.
In August 2015, Pappas said it would be “inhumane” to deny PP a contract with the state of New Hampshire.
Levasseur has served the city of Manchester as alderman and planning board member. I don’t know anything about his views on the life issues – yet.
District Five: Nashua + points west and northwest
As Councilor, and before that as state senator and state representative, incumbent David Wheeler (R-Milford) has been an outspoken advocate for the right to life. He has opposed the use of public money for any abortion provider, not just PP. I’ve been proud to have Dave as my district’s Councilor. Note that he has not had occasion in recent years to vote on the death penalty, and I won’t guess where he stands on that.
Dan Weeks (D-Nashua), holding a Planned Parenthood endorsement, does not mention it on his web site. The site does mention “critical investments in women’s health.” I don’t suppose that includes investing in statistical collection of abortion data, but I could be wrong.
Keep an eye on these five races, which will determine how readily abortion providers can get at your money. Recall that the state commissioner of health and human services Jeffrey Meyers said that state contracts with abortion providers for non-abortion services pay for “infrastructure”: “My understanding from speaking with both of the vendors after the contract was brought forth for the agenda is that that money will continue to support their infrastructure, some specific needs, that will allow them to continue access.” There’s no way to divide “infrastructure” under one roof to keep abortion financially separate from non-abortion work.
The New Hampshire primary election for state and federal offices is over. More about that later this week. Today, though, just one day after the primary, I’ve received a letter paid for by the New Hampshire Democratic Party. (That’s one of the questionable pleasures of being an independent voter. I get mail from all sides.) That means it was sent before the votes were counted. It’s an attack on incumbent Senator Kelly Ayotte, who is being challenged in November by Governor Maggie Hassan.
I think it’s worth sharing in full.
The signature on the letter is that of Oglesby Young, M.D. A quick online check of the name tells me that he is a practicing OB/GYN in Concord. He’s also a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Geisel Medical School at Dartmouth.
Will Senator Ayotte be willing to confront challenges like this? Or will she take refuge in the jobs-and-the-economy mantra that has served GOP candidates so poorly?
And will pro-life health care providers be willing to speak up? Are their jobs in jeopardy if they do?
As a practicing medical doctor, I care very much about policies that affect the well-being of my patients, but I tend to stay out of politics. This election is different. I’ve watched with disbelief as Senator Kelly Ayotte and her special interest allies have attempted to completely rewrite her record of voting to undermine women’s access to critical health services – and so I feel the need to set the record straight and add my voice to the chorus of medical professionals who oppose Senator Kelly Ayotte’s reelection to the Senate.
First, I am personally offended by the positions taken and claims made by Senator Ayotte, who insinuates that my patients and I are somehow less qualified to make private medical decisions than she is.
Abortion is a difficult topic for a lot of people. I know that because I have had thousands of conversations about it with women and couples who depend on me for factual, rational, objective information about what’s best for their personal health. Doctors and nurses are trained – very well, I would add – to understand the implications, necessity, and repercussions of abortion. We are the front lines. We are the ones giving careful advice and performing the procedures. Does Senator Ayotte think so little of our training, our judgment, and our character – and that of our patients, of New Hampshire women – that she must impose her own partisan beliefs on us?
I also take issue with Ayotte and her colleagues who want to overturn Roe v. Wade and continue to fight so vigorously to shut down Planned Parenthood and women’s health clinics, here at home and nationwide, because they provide abortion care. This crusade against a legal, constitutionally protected, legitimate, safe medical procedure actively hurts women.
Too many women of lesser privilege have a tough time finding and paying for standard medical care, let alone preventive care like cancer screenings and mammograms. Senator Ayotte is even pushing a bill that would increase costs of and limit access to birth control – forcing women to pay up to $600 more per year in out-of-pocket costs. When women aren’t allowed to make their own health decisions or have equal coverage for their prescription medications, it violates their freedom, and it also creates a huge economic strain on the entire family.
Ayotte and her partisan cohorts could succeed in revoking women’s health care options – but only if we let them.
I hope that this letter moves you to consider the effects of this election on the women and medical professionals of New Hampshire and our nation as a whole. I strongly urge you to vote to unseat Senator Kelly Ayotte on Election Day.
At the end of the 2015 and 2016 New Hampshire House sessions, I took note of representatives who had cast pro-life votes on all the bills I chose to track. Here’s a review, featuring only the reps who have a primary election tomorrow, September 13. Alas, no Democrats are on the list – their doing, not mine. (Democrat Roger Berube would probably have made the lists if not for absences.)
Why basically re-post this information? Because reps with primaries who voted extremely well in 2015 or 2016 ought to be noticed. You’ll see that some of these challenged reps made the list in both years.
The usual election season caveats: I have not interviewed or surveyed these candidates. This is just one piece of information for you to take into account as you evaluate your local House candidates. There are many other pro-life representatives, and some may have missed out on the list I’ve compiled here simply because of absences from votes or because they don’t have a primary tomorrow. Check the links below to each year’s votes, for further information about other representatives. If you catch any errors, please let me know.
Selected 2016 votes here – eleven bills included: CACR 22 (right to “privacy”, which has been used in other states to invalidate abortion regulations), HB 1328 (limiting abortions post-20-weeks), HB 1399 (abortion facility licensure), HB 1560 (barring dismemberment abortion), HB 1570 (buffer zone repeal), HB 1623 (barring abortion for genetic abnormalities), HB 1625 (barring abortion after viability), HB 1627 (requiring care for infants surviving attempted abortion), HB 1636 (barring abortions at the point in pregnancy when the preborn child can feel pain), HB 1663 (barring trafficking in fetal remains), HB 1684 (prohibiting the use of public resources to assist in or perform abortions).
The following representatives who have primaries tomorrow cast what in my opinion are pro-life votes on all eleven of the 2016 bills.
Belknap County: Brian Gallagher, who is running for state senate district 2 against former Rep. Bob Giuda (who has his own pro-life record).
Carroll County: Frank McCarthy (district 2), Glenn Cordelli (district 4).
Hillsborough County: Rick Christie (district 6), Linda Gould (district 7), Jeanine Notter (district 21), Eric Eastman & Carl Seidel (district 28), Jordan Ulery (district 37).
Selected 2015 votes – five bills included: HB 194 (personhood), HB 403 (buffer zone repeal), HB 560 (fetal homicide/Griffin’s Law), HB 670 (conscience rights for medical professionals), and HB 677 (limiting public funding to abortion providers.
Voting pro-life on all five, and having a primary tomorrow:
Carroll County: Frank McCarthy (district 2), Glenn Cordelli (district 4).
If there’s a Republican primary election in your district tomorrow, be sure to participate if you’re a registered Republican. Independent/undeclared voters may pick up a GOP ballot and may re-register as undeclared after voting (before leaving the polling place). Same-day voter registration is available, with proper ID; check with your town clerk or supervisor of the checklist for details.
Watch the blog for a report on primary election results.
The next 40 Days for Life campaign is three weeks away. New Hampshire vigils will take place in Greenland outside the Lovering Center and Manchester outside of Planned Parenthood’s Pennacook Street facility.
40 Days for Life will run from September 28 to November 6. As always, 40DFL has three components: prayer and fasting, keeping peaceful & prayerful vigil outside abortion facilities, and community outreach. To participate – which requires signing a commitment to peaceful action, including cooperation with local authorities – go to 40daysforlife.com and search for your local campaign.
Some national 40DFL leaders are going to be touring the country by bus during the campaign, with stops scheduled in New Hampshire on Sunday, October 2. There will be a rally in Manchester at noon followed by a meet-and-greet in Greenland at 2 p.m.
Manchester, New Hampshire
Manchester’s 40DFL campaign will have a kickoff on September 26 at Ste. Marie’s church hall, 378 Notre Dame Ave. in Manchester from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Ovide Lamontagne will be the featured speaker, with music provided by students from Northeast Catholic College. RSVP to Beth at 978-226-3240 or email@example.com.
Vigil hours will be 7 a.m.-7 p.m. beginning September 28, outside PP on Pennacook Street between Elm and Chestnut. On-street parking only. Follow the campaign on Facebook.
Kickoff will be Sunday, September 25, from 2 to 3 p.m. on the sidewalk outside the Lovering Center on Portsmouth Avenue. Parking is available in the nearby Town Hall lot.
Greenland’s midpoint rally will be October 16. Watch this blog’s Facebook page for more information.
Special guest at Boston kickoff: Jill Stanek
Boston’s 40DFL campaign will open with a Mass and fellowship at the Betania II retreat center in Medway, with special guest speaker Jill Stanek. As a nurse some years ago, Jill learned that children who survived attempted abortion in her hospital were left to die. The revelation changed her life. She’s now a full-time pro-life activist. All are welcome to the Boston kickoff.