All posts by Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, pro-life activist, hiker.

Fetal homicide: nudge the committee

If you want to see fetal homicide legislation pass in New Hampshire this year, you might want to send a friendly emailed nudge to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Brief, polite, nothing cut-and-pasted: recommend Ought to Pass on SB 66, without weakening the bill’s language. You’ll certainly want to send an email if one of your own reps is on the committee (see the table below).

The committee earlier this year voted to retain HB 156, one of two 2017 versions of the legislation. “Retain” means the committee will have to make a recommendation one way or another to the House next January. In short, “retain” is a delay. (Here’s a reminder of what happens without fetal homicide legislation.)

Now the same committee has to decide what to recommend with the other fetal homicide bill, SB 66. The hearing is past. The committee vote has yet to be taken. Today, in a comment on someone’s Facebook post, a member of the Criminal Justice committee made an alarming observation.

“You ca[n]’t believe the number of emails I get from people that are opposed to the pre-born (fetal) homicide bill.”

I am willing to bet that most opposition isn’t coming from people concerned about the point in pregnancy when such a law could be used: 20 weeks in SB 66, 8 weeks in HB 156. Opposition is coming from people who hate the very idea of fetal homicide laws.

Opponents are pushing for an Inexpedient to Legislate vote from the committee. Sounds like they’re generating a serious number of emails.

Perhaps the members of the Criminal Justice committee need some more emails, this time from people saying “YES” to SB 66. This will be good practice for when the bill gets to the House floor, as it will unless the committee goes for another “retain” vote.

Here are the names of committee members. I’ve included party identification and the towns in each district, along with email addresses as listed on the House web site. The committee as a whole can be reached at HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us. If you see your own rep’s name below, though, send a customized email and identify yourself as a constituent.  Be sure you view the entire table; there are 21 names.

nametowns representedemail address
Beth Rodd (D)Bradford, HennikerBeth.Rodd@leg.state.nh.us
Bonnie Ham (R)Lincoln, Livermore, Waterville Valley, Woodstockbdham@roadrunner.com
Carolyn Gargasz (R)Holliscarolyn.gargasz@leg.state.nh.us
Dave Testerman (R)Franklin wards 1& 2, and Hilldave@sanbornhall.net
David Welch (R)Hampstead, Kingstonv-chcj@outlook.com
Delmar Burridge (D)Keene wards 1-5dburridge@ne.rr.com
Dennis Fields (R)Sanbornton, Tiltondennis.fields@leg.state.nh.us
Dennis Green (R)Hampstead, KingstonDennis.Green@leg.state.nh.us
Frank Sapareto (R)Derrysapareto@comcast.net
Jody McNally (R)Rochester ward 3mcnally_jody_usmc@yahoo.com
John Burt (R)Deering, Goffstown, Wearejohn.burt@leg.state.nh.us
Kate Murray (D)New Castle, RyeKate.Murray@leg.state.nh.us
Larry Gagne (R)Manchester ward 6lgagne25@comcast.net
Laura Pantelakos (D)Portsmouth ward 1lcpantelakos@comcast.net
Linn Opderbecke (D)Dover ward 3no email listed; phone 742-4119
Richard O'Leary (D)Manchester ward 6no email listed; phone 668-0069
Robert "Renny" Cushing (D)Hamptonrenny.cushing@leg.state.nh.us
Robert Fesh (R)Derryrmfesh@comcast.net
Roger Berube (D)Somersworth wards 1, 3, 4, 5, and Rollinsfordrogerrberube@hotmail.com
Scott Wallace (R)Brentwood, Danville, FremontScott.Wallace@leg.state.nh.us
Shannon Chandley (D)AmherstShannon.Chandley.NH@aol.com

 


 

Undermining the First Amendment in the name of “Health Care”

Short memories make for bad public policy. I can’t help but reflect on that.

As I write this, Congress is about to take a vote on doing something-or-another with Obamacare: repeal, replace, whatever. I’m not sure they know what they’re doing, despite good intentions all around. In all the tinkering, I am not hearing much from Members of Congress about what made the “Affordable Care Act” utterly unacceptable to so many Catholics, including me: the contraceptive mandate. Continue reading Undermining the First Amendment in the name of “Health Care”

“Authentic Love” is louder than words

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington is always interesting, and it’s been known to include some pro-life panels. Now and then, even a marquee speaker will say something encouraging. The most constructive conversations and connections, for anyone interested in pro-life media and politics, occur in the breakout sessions in the side rooms, away from the huge mainstage ballroom. This year’s conference was no exception.

“Changing Hearts and Minds in the Pro-life Movement” was tucked away in one of those side rooms, in the last time slot of the day. (Always read your conference agenda through to the end.) The panel was made up of a pair of political folk, an entertainer, and a worker in a front-line pro-life nonprofit agency about as far from politics as can be. And in that high-powered company (by CPAC standards), it was the guy from the front lines who left the deepest impression.

Save the Storks ad from CPAC 2017 program.

Jeff Gilbert of Save the Storks was on the speakers’ platform. His organization adapts vans into mobile units where women can obtain pregnancy resources and no-cost ultrasounds. The vans are designed to be used by pregnancy resource centers anywhere they’re needed, even near abortion facilities. Save the Storks has just launched its 33rd bus. (One of them visited New Hampshire last year to demonstrate a unit’s capabilities.)

Jeff had a no-doubt answer about how his project has changed hearts and minds: it builds one relationship at a time, where a woman is seeking aid. “We showed up. We didn’t just pass her on to someone else.”

The people who came to hear the panel sat up and took notice when Jeff talked about Save the Storks. This was not a typical political-conference speaker, and hardly anyone in the room had ever heard of Save the Storks. The agency seemed to have stepped way out of its zone to come to CPAC to reach people who might not otherwise have heard about its mission and message. Continue reading “Authentic Love” is louder than words

Prayers for Suicide Prevention: a N.H. Vet’s Project

Matt Mayberry is a familiar face to anyone who’s been active in New Hampshire Republican politics in recent years. What you might not know is that Matt is a military veteran. Like too many vets, he has faced depression and the temptation to suicide. He is calling on his fellow Granite Staters to join him on May 7 for a statewide prayer effort dedicated to suicide prevention.

He’s looking for 100 churches and 20,000 people to participate. I think we can get there. Having lost my sister to suicide, I understand the need for what Matt proposes, which is just another way of calling on God to help us value and respect life.

Matt visited the recent Culture of Life conference in Rochester to share some information about the project. He handed out a letter describing his goal. It was written for pastors, but it really speaks to all of us. Here is his letter in full. Thank you for reading and sharing it.


Dear Friends in Faith:

Recently I have been trying to find a way to help others like myself: a veteran who suffered from depression and considered suicide. I spoke about my personal struggles with mental illness in a few very public forums (a political convention and an interview with the Union Leader). I fundamentally believe that if we talk about mental illness, even a little bit, it may help one person who is suffering feel a little relief.

I rely daily on God helping me through my struggles and challenges in life. I, like you, understand and value the power of prayer. From my days of working for the White House to organizing large scale events here in NH, I wanted to create an event that would galvanize the religious community for a one day, one moment event and I hope to solicit your help. I don’t want your money. I do, however, ask to be included on your prayer list.

On Sunday May 7th I am organizing a state wide Prayers for Suicide Prevention-NH. I am respectfully asking that on this day you ask your congregation to say a prayer for those suffering from depression and contemplating suicide. We want our brothers and sisters to know that they are loved. The 2nd leading cause of death amongst NH children 10 to 14 years old is suicide. Every 70 minutes in America a veteran has committed suicide. I’m asking your congregation to pray that this trend will stop.

A little known fact: Spring time has the highest rate of suicide deaths in America, not the holidays….spring time, thus the timing of this prayer outreach.

This is a grassroots effort primarily through social media and a statewide network of friends. Myself or one of my friend will be calling you and asking for you to participate. We will continue through a media push to hopefully have 100 churches and 20,000 people praying to end suicide.

Please join us as a prayer partner. There is no guideline about how you address this issue with your congregation. You can develop a whole sermon or simply when taking prayer requests talk about the statewide moment of prayer and add it to list of prayer recipients that day. We will be posting updates through Twitter (@prevsuicideNH), Facebook (Prayers for Suicide Prevention NH) and email.  I am also very open to suggestions! Although not required, Prayer Partners are asked to sign up through Eventbrite (eventbrite.com/e/32056399554) for immediate updates and to keep track of our partners.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Matt Mayberry, Dover NH

[Contact information omitted here, since I’m not sure how much personal information he wants to circulate; you can reach out to him via the Facebook page.]


Another writer’s view: “Anti-Trafficking Task Force in N.H.?”

Darlene Pawlik (photo: thedarlingprincess.com)

Recommended reading: make your way over to Darlene Pawlik’s blog, The Darling Princess, for a critical look at an anti-human-trafficking task force in New Hampshire. Darlene is on target with her concerns about the “New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force Advisory Committee” and its recent hire, a woman not unsympathetic to decriminalizing sexual exploitation.

Darlene writes,

It was frustrating news to see that an outspoken advocate of decriminalizing prostitution entirely, including buyers and pimps, would be taking the lead for the NH anti-trafficking task force. Her smooth talk of decriminalizing the sex trade to ensure safety for sex workers shields the most contemptible practice of human slavery. Her motives may be well-meaning, but she is terribly misinformed.

…Decriminalizing pimping and the sex trade would tie the hands of investigators. The buyers and the sellers would be able to continue their devastating business, while victims would have no clear way out. Sex trafficking is not an event, but a process and the results of that process. Sex trafficking cannot exist without the existence of prostitution.

Read the whole thing. I hope some legislators come across Darlene’s post, too.