Category Archives: Prolife

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“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.]


The Quiet Hours at 40 Days for Life

The banner across the front of the Equality Center partially obscures the old Feminist Health Center sign. “Safe Legal Abortion IS Pro-Life.” The lawn sign says “Pray to End Sidewalk Bullying.”

6 a.m., 40 Days for Life, Concord NH. Photo by Beth Scaer.

No bullying, even the imaginary kind, was going on the other day as I joined a 6 a.m 40 Days for Life vigil hour in Concord. There was simple witness to the early-morning drivers on Main Street, to the city employee quietly sweeping the street, to the few pedestrians. Later in the day, other 40DFL participants took our place.

Not a sidewalk counselor? (I know I’m not.) Concerned about doing a 40DFL vigil hour solo? (Nowadays, I sure am.) Are you new at this and not sure how to get started? (We all were at some point.)

Get the information you need about 40 Days for Life and about the Concord and Greenland vigils. You’ll make a strong campaign even stronger. Remember that committing to the 40DFL Statement of Peace is a requirement for all vigil participants.

40 Days for Life general information

40 Days for Life Concord campaign

40 Days for Life Greenland campaign

40DFL local opening events

The Spring 2017 40 Days for Life campaign begins on March 1, with kickoff events taking place next weekend.

Greenland, New Hampshire

Kickoff rally Sunday, February 26, 2 p.m. For more details, register for vigil hours at the Greenland 40 DFL page. The campaign takes place outside the Lovering Center.

DSCF8357
Hand-embroidered sweater worn by one of the Greenland 40DFL volunteers.

Concord, New Hampshire

Kickoff event Saturday, February 25, 5:30 p.m. (following 4:00 Mass) at St. John the Evangelist Church activity center. (Christ the King Parish), 72 S. Main Street.

Beth Gaby
Beth Gaby, campaign leader for 40DFL Spring 2017 in Concord.

The official opening of 40 Days for Life will be at midnight on March 1, the very first hour of the worldwide campaign. (Or you could think of it as the end of the last evening of February.) Area Knights of Columbus will be praying from midnight to 1 a.m. To join them or to select your own vigil hours. sign up at the Concord 40DFL page. The campaign takes place outside the Equality Center, formerly known as the Feminist Health Center.

The Worcester, Massachusetts 40 Days for Life team is having its kickoff event on Sunday, February 26, in Medway, MA. Guest speaker will be Dr. Anthony Levatino. He is a physician, a lawyer, and a former abortion provider.

Worcester 40DFL Spring 2017

 

On legalizing exploitation: HB 287

Sometimes, my day job brings to my attention some bills in Concord that I would have otherwise missed. This one is straight out of are-you-kidding-me territory: HB 287, “establishing a committee to study the decriminalization of sex work.” That’s prostitution, in the PC lexicon.

Don’t laugh. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee voted overwhelmingly to recommend Ought to Pass, until in a fit of either common sense or leadership arm-twisting (I honestly don’t know which), they took it back. You can’t even see evidence of that vote on the docket anymore. Instead, you see that the executive (voting) session was “recessed” until February 14.


That’s do-over time. I hope they get it right. The bill’s text, listing the agencies to be consulted for the “study,” makes clear that the question is not whether to decriminalize prostitution, but when and how.  Otherwise, the committee would have been charged with hearing from survivors of commercial sex trafficking, and with people who work with those survivors.

When I saw the bill, I began asking questions, and I was very shortly in touch with women from around the country who have been active in efforts to resist treating – exploiting – people as sexual commodities. Without exception, all were concerned about some existing laws relating to prostitution – treating trafficked minors as criminals, for example.

Making commercial sex legal isn’t the answer.

I am still absorbing all that I have heard and read from the women fighting for human dignity in this policy arena. Some of them are trafficking survivors. They take legislation like HB 287 personally.

Thanks to them, I’m now in touch with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, which is among other things a clearinghouse for public policy information. Maybe the next bill  will task a “study” committee with hearing from the Center. The current bill doesn’t. Likewise, World Without Exploitation is a resource not cited in HB 287.

Darlene Pawlik has a message for the committee, and she has shared it in her blog The Darling Princess.  She is an amazing Granite State woman and a powerful advocate for fellow survivors of sexual abuse.

Real people, human beings with dignity and value are worthy the protection of the law. People should not be sold. People should not be purchased.

You are seated on the committee charged with public safety. This isn’t about installing a crosswalk.

Graphic courtesy National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

By the way, did you know that Amnesty International has come out in favor of full decriminalization of prostitution? Their concern for human rights and dignity, which has been exemplary in many cases, falls to pieces when the subject is abortion or commercialized sex.

Buying and selling people is bad public policy. If a study committee is going to start with assumptions, start with that one.

Update: On February 14, 2017, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 12-8 to “retain” HB 287. That means that the bill has not been killed but it will not be advanced to the full House this year.