Pro-life winners in New Hampshire Senate recounts

Three New Hampshire senators who voted to table a 2020 born-alive infant protection bill were voted out of office on November 3rd. Three recounts this week confirmed that pro-life senators will take their places.

In district 11, Gary Daniels (R-Milford) will return to the Senate after losing the seat two years ago to Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst). After an intense campaign, the margin of victory was 159 votes out of more than 34,000 cast. A mailer from the New Hampshire Democratic Party attacking Daniels for voting pro-life apparently didn’t boost Chandley as intended. (See The Attack Ad Told Me to Check the Facts – So I Did.) Daniels previously served two terms in the Senate after 9 terms in the House.

Kevin Avard (R-Nashua) unseated Melanie Levesque (D-Brookline) in District 12. Avard had served two terms before being ousted by Levesque in 2018. This time, Avard prevailed by 805 votes. The “singing Senator” will soon be back on the job.

District 9’s Jeanne Dietsch (D-Peterborough), a one-term senator, was beaten by Denise Ricciardi (R-Bedford), a newcomer to state-level politics. Hours into a recount on November 10, Dietsch withdrew her challenge when a hand count of ballots from the largest towns in the district failed to put a dent in Ricciardi’s 409-vote lead.

Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead) of district 19, sponsor of the 2020 born-alive bill, was re-elected easily.

Republicans will have a 14-10 majority in the upcoming Senate term.

Sununu victory, GOP legislature: what’s ahead?

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, has won a third term. The same election flipped the House and Senate from Democrat to Republican majorities, subject to a few Senate recounts.

Will this yield any pro-life legislation?

You may recall that when Sununu ran for Governor the first time, he ran an ad touting his “pro-choice” position, but later said that he supported certain common-sense measures: fetal homicide legislation, Women’s Health Protection Act (standards for operation of abortion facilities), healthcare freedom of conscience, a late-term abortion ban, and buffer zone repeal.

(From 2016: A concerned Republican and Sununu’s reply)

After two terms, he has signed a fetal homicide law. None of the other measures he mentioned has even made it to his desk. It’s possible that a Republican majority in House and Senate will make a difference. After all, the Republican majority during Sununu’s first term did manage to pass that fetal homicide law, with the help of four Democrats and one Libertarian.

“Pro-life” isn’t spelled G-O-P. Neither is “First Amendment,” for that matter, as I recall repeated failures to repeal the buffer zone law. Even so, maybe some of those common-sense measures mentioned by the Governor might have a chance in 2021.

An election is a beginning, not an ending

As I write this, Election Day is here. I’m preparing to spend the afternoon serving as an election volunteer along with some neighbors. First, I’ll vote.

And then what?

Do you know what you’ll be doing when the election is over, no matter who wins?

Among my personal crusades is to eliminate catastrophic thinking among pro-life voters. I’ve fallen prey to it now and then myself, and I know what a time-waster it is. Here’s what I mean: So-and-so has to win or it’ll be a disaster. Life as we know it will end if this-or-that candidate wins. There’s no turning back if these people get re-elected.

Sound familiar?

Yes, election results can be awful. Life as we know it can change. There’s no going back to yesterday. Accept all that, and then keep going: and then what?

Continue reading “An election is a beginning, not an ending”

An Alternative Pilgrimage

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester has released Pilgrims for Life: a digital guide for prayer and advocacy, which “offers ideas and resources for us to continue our strong, Pro-Life advocacy even though we won’t be boarding busses [sic] to D.C. this coming January.”

Some of us have wondered whether COVID concerns might affect diocesan-sponsored transportation to the January March for Life in Washington DC. Now we know. I’m a little sad, but not surprised. I’ve been on some of those diocesan pilgrimages to past Marches, and “social distancing” is at best an amusing notion in that environment.

The March goes on

The national March for Life itself is still scheduled for January 29, 2021, regardless of how scarce bus transportation might be. The Roe v. Wade decision will be 48 years old on January 22, and it still needs to be challenged socially as well as judicially. There’s no word yet about New Hampshire’s own 2021 pro-life rally and march in Concord, which is usually scheduled and managed by New Hampshire Right to Life independent of the national event.

While the annual diocesan bus caravan has always carried hundreds of people to the national March, it’s not the only way to get to Washington. Some faith communities arrange their own bus or carpool. I’ve taken the train from Boston to Washington, overnight both ways. I’ve flown down and back in a day, when I’ve found deep-discount airfares. There’s always I-95. If you want to get to the March for Life, you have options.

Pray, Advocate, Unite

The Pilgrims for Life program is not a virtual march. (I like it already.) It is intended to be an ongoing program of prayer, advocacy, and unity leading up to the March, to “build up a culture of life in New Hampshire and beyond.” To summarize briefly the 13-page guide:

Prayer will include special services at churches throughout the diocese in mid to late January.

Advocacy includes taking action on relevant public policy issues, including life-issue bills in Concord.

Unity – “unit[ing] our intentions, prayers, and actions around the same cause” – includes a suggestion to take the money one would otherwise have spent on a trip to Washington and donating it instead to a pro-life cause. I love that idea. A DC trip for me, even a one-day down-and-back sprint, is easily $200. That includes a couple of bucks for an indispensable hot pretzel purchased from a vendor on the National Mall. (I travel in style.)

The guide has many more ideas for your consideration.

What’s your plan?

If your own church or community group decides to head down to the March, let me know. I’d like to hear about your experience. If you typically make the trip but decide to forgo it in 2021, I’d like to know if you decide to participate in a local effort instead.

I still haven’t decided on whether to travel to Washington for the March. It is an extraordinary opportunity to meet and learn from people from different backgrounds with different pro-life ministries. If I go, I’ll cover it for my readers as usual. If I skip the trip, I’m confident there will be plenty to write about here at home.

For more information: Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, Respect Life and Pilgrims for Life

On Judge Barrett

As one Catholic woman to another, I send my best wishes to Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the U.S. Senate votes on her nomination to the Supreme Court. 

I don’t know how she’d vote on a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and neither do you. Even so, I think every objection to her nomination comes down to one thing: the possibility that she might have even the teensiest reservation about abortion. Any objections to her faith I’ve encountered are all about that. It’s not that she’s Catholic; it’s that she might take Catholic teaching on the nature of abortion and conscience rights seriously.

That’s “might.” One may hope.

Read the rest of the post at ellenkolb.com.