House committee to take up retained bills 5/23, including fetal homicide

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has scheduled a work session for Tuesday, May 23 on several retained bills, including two on fetal homicide (HB 156 and SB 66).

Also on the agenda is HB 287, which was introduced as a bill to study decriminalization of prostitution. All three of these bills were retained by the committee earlier this session, preventing them from coming before the full House.

A work session has no predetermined outcome. It is possible that the committee may vote to reconsider an earlier decision to retain a bill.

Watch the blog’s Facebook page for updates on May 23.


What’s Gone Right: a 5-Year Review

As the blog’s 5-year anniversary month winds up, I’ll take one last look back. It would be easy to reflect on things left undone, such as the failure to pass this or that pro-life law. Not today, though. This is about good news from the past half-decade. Just a few highlights.

Peaceful witness outside a Manchester NH abortion facility.

No buffer zones. There are no abortion-related buffer zones yet in New Hampshire. Abortion advocates in both parties whisked an anti-First-Amendment law onto the books in 2014, and they have yet to use it.

While the so-called buffer zones could be imposed any minute now, the fact that none are thus far in place can be credited in large part to the New Hampshire residents who went to court as soon as the law was signed, with support from the Alliance Defending Freedom legal team. New Hampshire residents are ready to step up again if ever the buffer zone law is used.

New Hampshire has a law banning partial-birth abortion. That’s a big deal. This is a state where the right to life is given short shrift in the State House, to the point where even a women’s-health measure like abortion statistics is rejected time and again.

It took enormous effort to pass the bill in 2012 over John Lynch’s veto.  You may recall that there was a 19-5 GOP majority in the state senate that year. The majority leader managed to persuade all 19 to support the partial-birth ban, whereupon the minority leader took to the Senate floor to compliment the majority leader for his masterful handling of the bill. As I said at the time,

…wait a minute here. Why was it such a big deal that a Republican majority leader got all of his caucus to support a bill to ban an abortion method that shades into infanticide? What is so controversial about that? Who had to be persuaded? (And why does the Democratic party defend partial-birth abortion?)

But I digress. The partial-birth ban was and is a good thing.

A new shelter for homeless pregnant women is coming to New Hampshire, as an existing one celebrates 30 years of service. I recently reported on the launching of the crowdfunding effort in support of St. Gianna’s Place. Over in Greenland, New Hampshire, New Generation has just turned 30.

These are grassroots projects by New Hampshire people who see neighbors in need and then work to serve them.

From a 40 Days for Life baby shower to benefit pregnancy care centers in greater Manchester NH

Pregnancy care centers are expanding their scope. Every New Hampshire pregnancy care worker I’ve met over the past five years has told me about services that extend far past crisis intervention and pregnancy tests. In fact, it’s time for me to re-name the blog’s “crisis pregnancy services” page.

Ultrasounds (and thank you, Knights of Columbus). Parenting classes. Clothing, baby needs, furniture and car seats. Referrals for services like housing. These aren’t add-ons. They’re integrated into a center’s mission.

A Stork Bus visits Manchester NH.

On the national scene, mobile ultrasound units have come a long way since this blog’s first post. To mention just one project, Save the Storks sent one of their “Stork Buses” to Manchester last year to demonstrate each unit’s capability to support a pregnancy care center. (A Stork Bus will soon visit Keene.) More than a hundred Stork Buses are now in use. Not bad for an agency that hired its first employee in 2013.

As a Save the Storks representative said, “We show up with resources and support. It brings hope into darkness, it brings light into darkness.”


Finally, another national note: I can’t look at pro-life cultural progress over the past five years without mentioning Abby Johnson. If she had done nothing but publish Unplanned, I’d be in her debt. She has since done much more. This is what can be done in five years.

    • As a former Planned Parenthood manager, Abby Johnson learned when she left PP that she faced financial, legal, and spiritual challenges on the “outside.” She founded And Then There Were None to support other people in her position. The ATTWN team has so far served hundreds of former abortion workers.
    • She co-wrote The Walls Are Talking, using her own high profile to draw attention to the life stories of former abortion workers.

  • The first Pro-Life Women’s Conference in 2016 was her brainchild – “can you believe it took 43 years to do this?” She brought together women from a variety of backgrounds – religious and secular, political and non-political – so that we could learn from each other and bring some new lessons home.
  • In every speech she makes, she tells about her Planned Parenthood experiences. She challenges PP’s “3%” claim and tells about its abortion quotas. She challenges abortion opponents who fail to see the need to build relationships with abortion workers. She calls for an increase in peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities.

Good work from good people: spread the good news, and then go make some good news of your own.

From Abby Johnson’s speech at Dartmouth in 2014. Ellen Kolb photo.

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Resistance to prenatal ultrasounds is “non-negotiable”?

Pro-life Democrats are getting some national attention this week, courtesy of a party leader.

The Washington Post has a commentary by Adam Blake about a declaration this week by the Democratic National Committee chairman, Thomas Perez. The occasion for Mr. Perez’s outburst was concern over a  Democratic candidate in Nebraska.

DNC chairman Tom Perez

Perez: “Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health. That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

Abortion on demand, without apology, and at your expense – but wait! There’s more. The occasion for Mr. Perez’s ire, according to the Post, was the fact that the Nebraska candidate “supported a bill requiring doctors to tell women where they can receive ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion.” Continue reading Resistance to prenatal ultrasounds is “non-negotiable”?

Help Open St. Gianna’s Place

At a recent New Hampshire event, I was pleased to see former state representative Laura Gandia, who was there promoting an exciting new project: a home for pregnant women in need of housing and other services. It will be called St. Gianna’s Place, and if all goes well, it will be located in Londonderry, NH.

The administrative framework is in place: board of directors, nonprofit status, and so forth. Now comes the next step: acquiring a house.  That’s where you can help. Crowdfunding is underway, dedicated to the purchase of an appropriate building.

Please use and share this Go Fund Me link:  https://www.gofundme.com/st-giannas-for-women-in-crisis

I hope to interview a St. Gianna’s board member soon. Until then, I’m happy to spread the word about their work to bring direct services to pregnant women.  As co-founder Liz Neville says, “We are grateful for any donation amount as it will bring us that much closer to helping women and their unborn children live in a safe and nurturing place.”

 

“Planned Bullyhood” Author Runs for Congress from Georgia

Karen Handel, candidate for U.S. Congress from Georgia

Out of the corner of my eye, I’m seeing coverage of a special election in Georgia to fill a Congressional seat. There will be a runoff on June 20 between a well-funded Democrat and a Republican whose name rings a bell: Karen Handel.

You’ll recall Handel as the ex-Susan G. Komen exec who probably still has Planned Parenthood’s tire marks all over her back. 

In 2012, Handel was senior vice-president of public policy for Komen, a charity supporting research into breast cancer and ways to prevent it. The Komen leadership announced it would stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood, since PP’s work did not advance the Komen mission. No hard feelings on Komen’s part; this was strictly a business decision.

Planned Parenthood immediately went into full punishment mode. PP’s public attacks on Komen, including false claims that Komen was abandoning women, resulted in Komen caving in after only three days. Shame on them, then and now. Handel’s job was among the casualties as Komen attempted damage control.

Handel responded accordingly, with a book she called Planned BullyhoodAs an insider’s view of the 2012 situation, it’s unmatched.

Handel ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 and fell short. Now she’s facing an uphill battle in the current Congressional race.

I have no idea what she’s doing or saying as a candidate. The world is littered with nominal Republicans who reflexively chant “jobs-and-the-economy” when Dems call for public funding of abortion providers. I hope Handel hasn’t drifted into that lane.

In any case, now I have a reason to watch the Georgia race. PP’s political machine is no doubt revving up to run over Handel once again.

This post contains an Amazon Associates affiliate link.

 

Thanks, Readers: the Blog Turns Five

Five years ago today, I put up the first post on Leaven for the Loaf. Pro-life issues in New Hampshire seemed like a tiny niche for a blog, but I plunged in anyway.  Thank you for plunging in with me. As long as I can travel and observe and report, I’ll keep blogging.

From an earlier “blogiversary”: a cupcake decorated by a creative neighbor.

Want to celebrate with me? Hug your family. Pray with steady faith. Give a box of diapers to your local pregnancy help center. Volunteer for an elder support program like Meals on Wheels. Donate blood. Stay in touch with your elected representatives. Witness to the value of life, publicly and peacefully. And have a cupcake.

I’m deeply grateful to the supporters who have helped defray expenses for travel and tech support. That includes those of you who have made Amazon.com purchases via the links on this site.

In the long-ago inaugural post, I described New Hampshire’s political/legal situation regarding abortion – which is only one aspect of pro-life work. The situation hasn’t changed much. I re-state it below not out of discouragement, but in a spirit of determination. I refuse to settle for the status quo. And with that, let the next five years commence.

New Hampshire currently is the Wild West where abortion law is concerned. Women’s safety and public health policy would seem to call for a degree of regulation and oversight, even if one were to put aside the fact that each abortion takes a human life. Abortion advocates are  loud and angry over each and every one of the bills, however, drawing no distinction among parental notification (enacted over a veto), funding restrictions, statistical reporting, and a late-term ban. To them, it’s all one big attack on Choice, part of a larger effort to set women back.

This is worse than nonsense. What I see being set back are the rights of women and men who choose not to pay even indirectly for the operation of an abortion facility.  I see people lobbying to keep abortion undocumented, so that public health officials will continue to be in the dark about how many New Hampshire women make this “choice” every year. I hear testimony to the need for eugenic abortion, which is a throwback to one of the 20th century’s worst ideas. I hear women who should know better equate a 24-hour waiting period with an outright ban on abortion.

So yes, we’re still talking about this. Pro-lifers cannot be effective if they stay huddled together. I propose that we step out in faith and leaven the loaf of public discourse. Let’s begin.



 

a Granite State pro-life blog by Ellen Kolb