Abortion Survivors: “Don’t Have a Conversation About Us Without Us”

From my latest post at DaTechGuy Blog:

President Trump invited abortion survivors to the White House on February 14 to tell him their own stories. Among the survivors was Melissa Ohden, whose 2017 book You Carried Me is an account of her remarkable life, a life she knows wasn’t supposed to happen.

From Ms. Ohden via Facebook:

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It seems like the world is having a conversation about abortion, children surviving abortions, and they don’t realize or acknowledge that there are a group of people who know all too well what everyone is talking about. 

Don’t have a conversation about abortion without those who have survived it. Don’t have a conversation about us, without us. 

Listen to our voices. Share our stories. We’re not hypothetical cases. We’re human beings.

You can find my full post here. Thanks for reading.

“Life is a Fact, Not an Opinion”

Ever had one of those days when you thought your audio recorder was working, and it turned out it wasn’t? That happened to me the other day when I was supposed to be covering a New Hampshire GOP press conference for a blog to which I’m a contributor. Among the speakers was a retired state rep, Dan Itse, who gave a pro-life speech of rare passion for a party event. I went home eager to transcribe it, and…nothing. (Note to self: store electronics in an inner pocket on 20-degree days.)

Fortunately, GraniteGrok.com posted video, preserving the speech. The Honorable Mr. Itse was inspired – more like goaded – by remarks from the Governor of Virginia indicating acceptance of the idea of infanticide for children surviving abortion. Mr. Itse takes a different view.

Ladies and gentlemen, my friends, you’re probably wondering why Governor Northam was so overjoyed at that legislation in Virginia. I believe that it was because it ratified what he had probably been doing for years. His voice was one of experience, not conjecture….New Hampshire must send representation to Washington, D.C. that knows life is a fact, not an opinion. If we can’t do that, then God save us.

Read the full speech at GraniteGrok.

N.H. Abortion Law: Even the Pros are Astounded

Just when I think I’m beyond surprise, this happens.

A reader of this blog who was taken aback at my post about New Hampshire’s lack of abortion regulation decided to write an op-ed column on the topic for her local newspaper. That’s usually a routine process for her. She’s active in her community, and she knows the editor. This time, the editor got back to her and asked for documentation.

In particular, he sought documentation of this fact: New Hampshire allows abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. “Do you have the RSA so I can link the law? There should be a state law that allows…late term abortions.”

That question came from a professional journalist working in New Hampshire.

I checked his profile on LinkedIn. He has worked in this area for many years. He was around when Jeanne Shaheen signed repeal of New Hampshire’s abortion laws. He was in college when Roe v. Wade was handed down. He is a prizewinning editor. He’s a pro.

And he has no idea that late-term abortions are the default setting in the United States. Unless a state has a law placing a time limit on abortion, there is no limit. He also apparently doesn’t know that New Hampshire legislators have repeatedly refused to impose a limit, most recently last year.

The op-ed writer can’t show a New Hampshire law “allowing” late-term abortions because there isn’t one. None is needed in order for unlimited abortion to be legal. Roe v. Wade permits states to assert an interest in protecting the preborn child at the point of viability, but it does not require states to do so.

New Hampshire lawmakers have chosen not to assert that interest.

Whether the reader’s op-ed makes it into print is between her and the editor. I hope it gets published. The editor’s initial reluctance to move ahead with it isn’t a matter of pro-abortion bias.

He honestly can’t believe our state’s situation – not yet, anyway. New Hampshire law allows abortion throughout pregnancy, because New Hampshire law imposes no time limit.

If you think that goes without saying, think again.

Update: within a few days of the initial submission of the op-ed, the editor chose to print it.

Facts About N.H. Abortion Laws

(Note: This is based on a post I wrote for Cornerstone Action, which kindly gave me permission to re-post here.)

New York’s governor ordered buildings to be illuminated in pink lights on January 22, in celebration of state law he had just signed eliminating most limitations on abortion. Legislators in Virginia and Vermont are ready to follow suit with radically anti-life policies.

Think it couldn’t happen in New Hampshire? The grim fact is that it already has. New Hampshire is one of the most abortion-friendly states in the country. Here are the facts.

How far into pregnancy are abortions permitted in New Hampshire?

  • Abortions are legal, unrestricted, and unregulated throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy in New Hampshire.
  • As recently as 2017 and 2018, legislators rejected bills that would have provided protection for viable preborn children.

What laws in New Hampshire affect abortion now?

  • New Hampshire has a parental notification statute. When a minor seeks abortion, she needs to notify a parent or guardian, or else use a “judicial bypass” in which a judge determines she is mature enough to make her own decision. The law calls for notification, not consent.
  • New Hampshire bans the barbaric abortion method known as partial-birth abortion or dilation-&-extraction, in which a child is delivered partway before being killed. This ban was passed in 2012.
  • As of early 2019, New Hampshire policy limits the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.
  • New Hampshire adopted a fetal homicide statute in 2017, allowing prosecutors the option of filing homicide charges against a person whose bad actions cause the death of a preborn child against the mother’s will. While not an abortion law, it was bitterly opposed by abortion advocates.

How many abortions are performed in New Hampshire annually?

  • No one knows, and that includes state lawmakers. New Hampshire does not have an abortion statistics law, despite the fact that the federal Centers for Disease Control attempts to collect abortion data. Forty-seven other states manage to collect and report such data, while protecting the anonymity and privacy of individual women obtaining abortions.
  • New Hampshire public health officials have no reliable data on the age of women seeking abortion, the stage of pregnancy at which abortions are performed, and whether women are experiencing abortion complications.

How many doctors do abortions in New Hampshire?

  • No one knows, since public health authorities do not collect any data on abortions.
  • There is no requirement that abortion providers in New Hampshire have any medical training or certification whatsoever.

Do New Hampshire state public health authorities inspect abortion facilities?

  • No, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. From a May 19, 2013 report in the New Hampshire Sunday News: “Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Department of Health and Human Services, explained in an email that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and the Concord Feminist Health Center are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements because they are considered physician offices. Twenty-three health care providers such as hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and dialysis centers are licensed by the state, but not abortion clinics. ‘In New Hampshire, there is no such thing as an abortion clinic – the majority of abortions are done in doctors offices … and doctors’ offices are exempt from licensure under RSA 151:2 II,’ Neilsen said. ‘Because they are exempt, we have no jurisdiction over them, and neither does anyone else.’”

Who sets standards for abortion facilities?

  • The abortion providers themselves determine what standards to use. Since there is no law that providers have any medical training, those “standards” need not relate in any way to women’s health.

What’s the rate of post-abortion complications experienced by New Hampshire women?

  • No one knows, since lawmakers refuse to demand abortion statistics and public health officials decline to collect them. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” sums it up.

Does New Hampshire law protect children who survive attempted abortion?

  • No. Children who survive attempted abortion are not entitled to any more care than the abortionist wishes to provide. A bill to recognize a duty to care for such infants was defeated by the New Hampshire House in 2016.

Does New Hampshire law recognize the conscience rights of health care personnel who choose not to participate in abortion?

  • No. A bill to provide conscience protections was killed in the New Hampshire House in 2018. Health care professionals in New Hampshire can lose their jobs and be subject to professional sanctions for refusing to assist in abortions.

How did New Hampshire become such a haven for abortion providers?

  • In 1997, then-Governor (now U.S. Senator) Jeanne Shaheen signed a law repealing New Hampshire’s 19th-century anti-abortion laws. She did so knowing full well that no updated laws were in place. With a stroke of her pen, and with the cooperation of legislators, New Hampshire abortion regulation disappeared. So did concern for the health of women obtaining abortions. So did concern for preborn children, even moments away from birth.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can help turn a culture of abortion into a culture that respects and nurtures life, especially in its most vulnerable stages.

  • Share the message: Knowledge is power, and many people don’t know the facts about abortion in New Hampshire.
  • Pray. Join with your faith community. A culture of prayer will lead to a culture of life.
  • Politicians bear a great deal of responsibility for New Hampshire’s abortion-friendly laws, but blaming Concord won’t help. What will help is electing representatives at all levels of government who respect the right to life, and who care about the health of pregnant women and their children. Vote for candidates who recognize that New Hampshire law relative to abortion must be changed.
  • Consider running for local or state office.
  • Work within your community to create and sustain life-affirming options for women and children at risk from abortion. Contact your local pro-life pregnancy care center to learn about practical ways you can help.

(The original version of this post contained an incorrect alternative term for partial-birth abortion. This version contains corrected information.)

Don’t Get Mad. Get Busy.

Yes, New York just passed an outrageous abortion law. But remember, New Hampshire got there first: no limitations on abortion, and no protection for children born alive after attempted abortion. We even out-do New York in one way: New Hampshire doesn’t collect any abortion statistics. And therein lies the best way for a Granite Stater to react to the news from New York.

Demand an abortion statistics law. There’s a hearing for one on Thursday, January 24, 2019 – mere hours away, as I publish this – at 11 a.m. in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The bill is HB 158-FN.

My social media feeds are full of upset New Hampshire neighbors, all of them sick at heart over the New York news. Here’s our challenge: get just as upset about New Hampshire’s situation, and then do something about it, starting with the abortion statistics hearing.

If every single one of my distressed friends were to contact the committee members who will consider the statistics bill, they’d make an impression. You can send a message to all twenty-two members of the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee by sending one email to one address: HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us. Simple message: Please vote ought to pass on HB 158-FN, the abortion statistics bill.

If even half of my upset friends took a day off work to attend the hearing and sign the “blue sheet” supporting the bill, they’d make an impression. They’d pack the whole committee room, in fact, and overflow into the hallway all the way down to the elevators. I know it’s hard to take a day off work. I also know it hurts to go to a hearing and see how many abortion advocates make that kind of sacrifice without batting an eyelash.

It’s easy for me to rail about New York politicians. It’s easy to go online and warn that Governor Cuomo’s soul is in peril (not a message from me, but I’ve seen it more than once in my media feed). It’s easy to share photos of New York buildings lit up in pink to “celebrate” the passage of the new abortion law.

How about we take that energy and anger and indignation and grief and put it where it will do some good?

The abortion statistics bill would authorize New Hampshire public health authorities to do what 47 other states already do: collect abortion information in a way that protects patient privacy, and report the numbers to the federal Centers for Disease Control. How many abortions, maternal age, gestational age, incidence of post-abortion complications: New Hampshire public health authorities only know what abortion providers tell them. There’s no reporting law. HB 158-FN would change that.

I am aware that passage is unlikely, given the current makeup of the New Hampshire legislature. This is a modest little test case, though: will we bring the same intensity to this bill that we’re bringing to the online fuss over New York’s lamentable law? Will we write those emails, call those reps, come to the hearing, and eventually show up for the House vote? Will we use social media as intensively to promote HB 158-FN as we use it to criticize New York?

We can try.