PP investigation/defunding hearing in Concord Tuesday, January 12

#ProtestPP event, Manchester NH 2015. Photo by Ellen Kolb.
#ProtestPP event, Manchester NH 2015. Photo by Ellen Kolb.

Ten New Hampshire state representatives are co-sponsoring House Joint Resolution 3, calling for the investigation and defunding of Planned Parenthood. HJR 3 will have a hearing Tuesday, January 12 at 2:30 p.m. in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building.

The hearing will come two days after Planned Parenthood of Northern New England welcomes PP national president Cecile Richards to New Hampshire for an “election kickoff event.”

HJR 3 cites numerous concerns arising from investigative reporting by the Center for Medical Progress and Live Action, reports of Medicaid fraud by PP affiliates in other states, and improper dispensation of prescription medication. The resolution calls for nine actions, including a freeze on any currently allocated state funding for abortion providers, “in particular the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and its affiliates in New¬†Hampshire.”¬†Full text here.

Lead sponsor is Rep. Warren Groen (R-Rochester), who has worked in the past to allow taxpayers to avoid funding abortion providers.

Senate committee OK’s amended fetal homicide bill

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee has recommended passage for HB 560, the fetal homicide bill introduced as “Griffin’s Law” last year by Rep. Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster) – but with an amendment that reportedly substitutes language similar to last year’s SB 40. (The amendment, 3011-S, is not yet on the docket for the bill available for viewing, as of the time this is being posted.)

Committee chair Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) said that she had consulted Rideout about the amended language. Rideout confirmed that information to me after the hearing, saying that while he hasn’t yet seen the text of the amendment, he wants conversation about fetal homicide legislation to continue.

Referring to last session’s failure of a conference committee on SB 40, Carson said, “I know we’re divided on this issue. We can try again.”

The committee vote of Ought to Pass with Amendment was 3-2 along party lines, with Sens. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Gary Daniels (R-Milford) and Sam Cataldo (R-Farmington) in favor. Senators David Pierce (D-Lebanon) and Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) voted no.

[Click on Topics on the blog’s header for coverage of last year’s fetal homicide bills.]



Abortion stats bill headed to NH Senate after House passage

The New Hampshire House today passed a bill to establish a state abortion-statistics collection program. The bill will be scheduled for Senate action at a later date.

The bill, HB 629, was introduced a year ago and was studied by a House subcommittee last summer and fall. The bill was amended by the subcommittee, adopted by the full Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee on a 12-1 bipartisan vote, and placed on the consent calendar for today’s 2016 opening session in the House. Passage came on a voice vote.

The original bill had bipartisan support from eleven co-sponsors, led by Rep. Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester). The amendment adopted today was presented by Reps. Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield) and Thomas Sherman (D-Rye). Nelson reported on behalf of the subcommittee, “As amended, this bill provides statistical information that brings New Hampshire in line with 48 other states. The committee took care to be sure the identity of the patient is confidential and follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols. All stakeholders agreed to the final version of the bill.”

Related post on an earlier stats bill, 2014: “Putting down a marker for women’s health.”


Legislators, you’re in more than just my thoughts

As I write, the New Hampshire House and Senate are 45 minutes away from convening for 2016. Four hundred twenty-four people are up there when there’s a full complement. I’m thinking of all of them this morning – and praying.

If you’re a person of faith in God, I trust you’ll join me. Include everyone up in the State House, including the Governor and Councilors. Uphold them in prayer in good times and bad. They could use it.

So could I. It reminds me to put my trust in the right place. Either God is sovereign or He isn’t. Since He is, I might as well act accordingly, even though I need every reminder I can get once the legislative dust is kicked up.

Do you know your own reps – at least their names? Do they know you? Can you lift them up in prayer by name? Long ago, a nonprofit organization with which I worked had a sort of internal adopt-a-rep program whereby our supporters were asked to pray for a specific representative throughout the session. One of the best things about that program for each participant was the way it put a face on that amorphous entity called the House.

It’s easy to criticize and give up on a legislative body. I’ve done so more than once. It’s harder to write off an individual, especially an individual with whom one has built a relationship.

So for the House and Senate as a whole, and for each representative and senator, I’ll offer these petitions in all humility, knowing that no one is in need of prayer and mercy more than I.  Waste of time, you say? I respectfully disagree. Respectful disagreement seems not to be in vogue this week. I never was fashionable.

That they may be dedicated to the good of the people of New Hampshire,
For protection from all harm and violence,
That they might never inflict harm and violence whether intentionally or not,
For the discernment to speak the truth persuasively,
For the ability to extend mercy and forgiveness,
For knowing when to act and when NOT to act,
For the ability to shake off ill will,
For the ability to accept and give constructive criticism,
For the ability to give encouragement,
That they may refuse to ascribe ill will to those who dispute them,
That they may think twice or thrice before hitting “send” on social media,
For persistence in the belief that building a majority for good legislation is possible,
That they may defend the right to life, knowing that without that, defense of other rights sounds like just so much vote-buying,
That they may spend more time listening to local voters than to lobbyists in the hallway (and I say that as someone who has worked as a lobbyist),
In gratitude for their willingness to work for the public interest for $100 a year,
Lord, hear our prayer.

Hardly a comprehensive list of petitions, but you no doubt have your own. Good. The more, the better.

This session is starting in contention and bitterness, not mere disagreement. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, lucky you; you must not be on social media. I prefer to think that things can only get better as the session proceeds.

Looking back: selected NH House votes, 2015

State House, Concord NH
State House, Concord NH

Personhood, buffer zone repeal, fetal homicide, conscience protection for health care providers, public funding of abortion providers, abortion statistics, restriction on post-21-week abortion: the New Hampshire House considered all those issues this year, with mixed results. Bills on personhood, conscience protection, and limiting public funding of abortion providers were killed outright. The post-21-week bill was tabled without a roll call vote. A fetal homicide bill and an abortion statistics bill (the latter without a roll call) are still under consideration for 2016. Buffer zone repeal passed the House but was tabled in the Senate.

As always, the New Hampshire General Court home page is your portal to vote results, the text of bills, and identifying your representatives.  You can find every legislator’s action on every roll call vote. Take careful note of what motion is at issue in a vote;  “yes” might mean “yes” to killing the bill.

56 legislators to thank

Five votes represents a very small piece of House business and a small segment of the right-to-life spectrum. Granting that, though, these five 2015 votes are worth noting together:  HB 194 (personhood), HB 403 (buffer zone repeal), HB 560 (fetal homicide/Griffin’s Law from Rep. Rideout), HB 670 (conscience rights for medical professionals), and HB 677 (limiting public funding to abortion providers).

Fifty-six legislators showed up for all five of those votes, favored buffer zone repeal and fetal homicide legislation, and opposed killing the bills on personhood, conscience rights, and public funding of abortion providers. They’re listed here alphabetically by county, with district number in parentheses.

By their votes, these reps defended the right to life and the right to peaceful free expression. By their votes, they agreed that people who don’t want to cooperate in abortion should not be coerced into doing so. They know that New Hampshire law needs to recognize (as do more than three dozen other states) that anyone like an impaired driver or abusive partner who injures a pregnant woman and thereby causes the termination of her pregnancy against her will has committed homicide.

Next time you see these representatives, say thanks.  I will.

Belknap County

Raymond Howard Jr. (8), Robert Luther (3), Franklin Tilton (3).

Carroll County

Ed Comeau (5), Glenn Cordelli (4), Frank McCarthy (2), Bill Nelson (5).

Cheshire County: none.
Coos County

Leon Rideout (7).

Grafton County

Duane Brown (16), Paul Ingbretson (15), Eric Johnson (7).

Hillsborough County

Ralph Boehm (20), John Burt (39), Larry Gagne (13), Linda Gould (7), William Goulette (23), Edith Hogan (34), Joseph Lachance (8), Dick Marston (19), Mark McLean (15), Josh Moore (21), David Murotake (32), Keith Murphy (7), Jeanine Notter (21), Bill Ohm (36), Carl Seidel (28), Kathleen Souza (43), Victoria Sullivan (16)

Merrimack County

Michael Brewster (21), Harold French (2), Carol McGuire (29), Dan McGuire (21), Brian Seaworth (20)

Rockingham County

Max Abramson (20), Al Baldasaro (5), David Bates (7), Allen Cook (11), Joe Duarte (2), J. Tracy Emerick (21), William Gannon (4), Richard Gordon (35), Jeffrey Harris (9), Bruce Hodgdon (1), Robert Introne (5), Daniel Itse (10), Lawrence “Mike” Kappler (3), Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien (6), Frederick Rice (21), James Spillane (2), Chris True (4).

Strafford County

Warren Groen (10), Thomas Kaczynski Jr. (22), Robert Knowles (12), Don Leeman (23), Leonard Turcotte (4).

Sullivan County

Thomas Laware (8).