A bit of background: a few weeks back, an abortion advocacy outfit called ReproAction had a webinar on how it’s impossible [sic] to be a pro-life feminist. Among the speakers was one who bent over backwards to explain the racist views held by Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger.
I’ll let Béatrice take it from here. “Truth is truth whether it fits our agenda or not.” Read her full post.
“As chemical abortions take deeper root, and as hospitals increasingly absorb the lucrative business from the closing of local clinics, the issue of the Texas law will shrink in importance; but the abandonment of women by all three women on the highest court in the land will live and grow in infamy. It will be seen by future generations for what it truly is.” Read the rest of the post.
“Funding for Zika was defeated in the Senate on…when Democrats voted it down. Like all Congressional spending bills, this one contained a variety of provisions that came out of the dickering between the two bodies. Among the ‘poison pills’ that offended Democratic sensibilities was a provision that excluded Planned Parenthood from the funding…
“Yet the reason this bill failed can be boiled down to one memo and the memories of the government shutdown crisis of 2013. Faced with the choice of either offending Planned Parenthood or failing to pass a bill that provided the Zika money they had been demanding be allocated for months, the Democrats chose the latter. Moreover, they did so because they were also sure that no matter how partisan and divisive their own behavior, Democrats have come to believe that the media will blame Republicans for any Congressional standoff.” Read the rest of the post.
From the 40 Days for Life headquarters’ podcast library comes reassuring information about the rights of peaceful witnesses outside abortion facilities. Here’s the link; the relevant information begins around the 8:45 mark.
We know now that every New Hampshire Executive Councilor knew when the June 29 meeting began how he intended to vote on the family planning contracts with two abortion providers. The prepared statement by Councilor Chris Sununu that was posted to social media immediately after the vote confirmed that his “swing” vote was swung some time ago.
State department heads or their deputies attend Council meetings in order to answer any questions the Councilors may have about proposed contracts. (That’s why most of the chairs in the chamber are taken by the time members of the public arrive.) Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers was on hand for questions from Councilors Joe Kenney and David Wheeler about the contracts with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Joan Lovering Center.
Meyers, by the way, was confirmed as Commissioner in January. During the confirmation process, he told Councilors that he would bring back a PP contract. He followed through.
The Q and A at the Council meeting – almost entirely thanks to the diligence of Councilors Kenney and Wheeler – highlighted a few things not known by the general public. Family planning funds are tied into behavioral health money, for one thing. Another tidbit: the family planning funds may be used for agency “infrastructure.”
While Meyers’s intention regarding the contracts was clear, one Councilor told me that the actual contracts, totaling over a hundred pages, were not available to him for review until they were posted to the public, five days before the meeting.
While at the State House waiting for the recent Executive Council meeting to begin, I met Jim Adams. He’s running in the Republican primary for Executive Council district 4, in hopes of taking the seat away from incumbent Chris Pappas. Our chat didn’t rise to the level of a formal interview, but he said something to me that I thought was worth taking down.
When I was in Vietnam, I was a hospital corpsman, eighteen years old. I dealt with the human wreckage of war. I had no opinions [on] pro-life; that was not as prominent as it is today.
I had a young Marine who was badly injured. It was easy for me to see he was not going to make it. He grabbed my left arm and held onto it so tight I could barely get started [assisting him]. I was doing everything I could. You have to keep them focused, because if they don’t look in your eyes, they see how bad it is, they go into shock. He’s wanting his mother; all the things people think happen at that time, most of it does. He was hanging on to his life with every fiber in his being. And he slowly started to let go of my hand. He was not going to make it.
At eighteen years old, when I saw how hard that young man was trying to hang on to his life with every fiber in his being, I saw that life is the most important gift we have, and one should never be taken as a matter of convenience.
That’s one way to start a conversation about the life issues. Mr. Adams’s web site, under the heading “Fight for Your Family”, mentions his opposition to using funds to “support abortion.” I encourage district 4 voters to pursue specifics with Mr. Adams and with his GOP primary challenger, Joe Kelly Levasseur.
On the Democratic side, incumbent Pappas is unopposed. Pappas has voted twice in Council for public funding for abortion providers.
(District 4 includes the city of Manchester and the towns of Allenstown, Auburn, Barrington, Bedford, Bow, Candia, Chichester, Deerfield, Epsom, Goffstown, Hooksett, Lee, Londonderry, Loudon, Northwood, Nottingham, Pembroke, and Pittsfield.)
Here are a few observations from the June 29th meeting at which Executive Councilors sent public funds to two abortion providers, including one that spent over a million bucks on public policy in 2014 while warning that thousands of people were at risk of losing health care if a $500k+ contract were to be denied. (Photo credits [or blame]: me.)
Yellow “Life” stickers and the usual pink t-shirts gathered early at the State House the day of the vote. I was surprised to see a heavy state police presence. I thought to myself Isn’t this a bit much? Then I learned that the police had nothing to do with competing rallies over the Council vote. Instead, there had been a scare over an unattended package that reportedly turned out to be a bag of clothing. The police response that I saw was thorough and courteous, and the rallies went on without incident.
Campaign material lined the walkways on State House Plaza before the meeting. These pro-Clinton bags set up the morning of the vote outnumbered the actual number of pro-PP people who rallied before the Council meeting.
The meeting began late, and after the usual preliminary business (Pledge of Allegiance, musical interlude, confirmations and appointments to state boards), Governor Hassan and the Councilors swiftly agreed to take up the Planned Parenthood/Lovering contract immediately. Stuffy though beautiful room plus many standees made that a welcome decision.
Seen in the crowd: retired Councilors Ray Wieczorek and Dan St. Hilaire, who were among the three Councilors who voted to deny a PP contract in 2011. The third of those Councilors, Dave Wheeler, is an incumbent, and he held firm to his position from 2011.
Noted on Councilors’ desks before the meeting: a bound volume from Planned Parenthood, declaring on the cover that 12,000 people depend on PP for basic health care. I obtained a copy after the meeting and found that the thick volume was not full of statistics or client stories, but instead lists of I-Stand-With-PP names, organized by Council district. Interesting numbers, considering that the districts are roughly equal in population: Joe Kenney’s district one (North Country) had 162 names; Colin Van Ostern’s district two (a sprawling gerrymander that includes Concord and Durham) had 661; Chris Sununu’s district 3 (Seacoast and much of Rockingham County) had 193; Chris Pappas’s district 4 (whose main municipality is Manchester) had 309; David Wheeler’s district 5 (main municipality: Nashua) had 184.
Councilor Sununu’s formal statement about his vote noted that PP was no longer under investigation. That is not accurate, and he knew it if he read material made available to all the Councilors by Councilor Wheeler. Part two of this post will include a transcript of Wheeler’s comments and questions during the meeting.
I saw these incumbents and candidates in the crowd, opposing the contracts and determined to watch the Councilors cast their votes: State representatives Frank Edelblut (now running for Governor), Ralph Boehm (now running for State Senate district 18), Jeanine Notter, Josh Moore, Gary Hopper, Victoria Sullivan, J.R. Hoell, Max Abramson, Kurt Wuelper, Mark McLean, Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien; candidates Jim Adams (Executive Council District 4) and David Love (state rep, Rockingham 6). I may have missed a few.
The Governor sensibly called a recess after the PP/Lovering contract vote, knowing that most people weren’t planning to stay for the rest of the meeting at which dozens of other contracts were up for a vote. This also gave Councilor Sununu and Governor Hassan (or their staffers) a chance to tweet out their prefabricated statements, obviously prepared before the vote. Sununu statement here; Hassan statement here.
Part 2, to be posted later: transcript of the questions and concerns expressed by Councilors Wheeler and Kenney; brief remarks from Executive Council candidate Jim Adams; a link to an audio recording of the meeting.
This was a tough week to pick only three items from the Best of the Rest pile for your weekend reading. I hope these are three that you haven’t seen yet – enjoy them, and have a happy Independence Day weekend!
This is a link to a web site, not a single blog entry, but this is can’t-miss information. September marks the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which sharply limits Medicaid funding of abortions. (There are exceptions for abortions in case of rape, incest, and life of the mother.) Abortion providers want Hyde eliminated. A pro-life coalition led by Secular Pro-Life wants to celebrate it and expand it:
“Celebrate the lives saved by the Hyde Amendment and the lives of all Medicaid kids. Preserve the Hyde Amendment against attacks from the abortion lobby. Expand the Hyde Amendment to cover children in every state and children conceived through violence, and cut the abortion industry off from all sources of taxpayer funding (not just Medicaid).”
Watch Twitter & Instagram for the #HelloHyde hash tag.
Commentator and occasional provocateur Jonah Goldberg has a modest proposal: contrast anti-Second-Amendment rhetoric with pro-abortion rhetoric. Read the full post. (Don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger.)
Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition reports on the unanimous vote by the New Mexico Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision that “found” a right to assisted suicide in the state.
“The original case was based on a word game. The original case argued that ‘aid in dying’, which is also known as assisted suicide, is not prohibited by the New Mexico assisted suicide law because ‘aid in dying’ is not assisted suicide.” Read the full post.