“A privilege that I was not given…the right to be born”

A Congressional committee or subcommittee held a hearing this week on something called “Threats to Reproductive Rights.” Melissa Ohden was there to provide some perspective, clarity, and honest language, which is hard to come by when the day’s theme includes the words “reproductive rights.”

You see, Melissa survived an attempt to abort her. “All of these people here today had a privilege that I was not given. And that is simply: the right to be born…” 

(If the video above is not displaying, look for it on the Facebook page for the Susan B. Anthony List under “videos.”)

I’ve written about her before in this blog’s “Voices to Trust” series. She continues to write and speak about her experiences, and to bring together other abortion survivors who want to tell their stories.

Her book You Carried Me is good to read and good to share. Maybe your local library, or your Member of Congress, could use a copy.

Proof that showing up matters

Postscript about the bill repealing New Hampshire’s death penalty: the Governor’s veto was overridden. The margin in the House: one vote. Margin in the Senate: one vote.

At some point, another life issue bill will come up in Concord. Maybe it’ll call for care for children who survive attempted abortion. Maybe it’ll be a stats bill. Maybe it will be something promoting or preventing assisted suicide.

Whenever such legislation comes up, remember: every vote matters. With 400 House members, a legislator – or a constituent, for that matter – might figure that one absence more or less won’t make a difference.

Wrong. Showing up matters.

Maybe we need to be reminded of that now and then.

A Note on Death Penalty Repeal

Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire has vetoed repeal of the state’s death penalty law. As I write, the House will vote on an override in just a few hours. Whether enough votes are there is anyone’s guess. It’s going to be close. The Governor is fighting hard to have his veto sustained.

He considers capital punishment to be a way of supporting law enforcement. As the granddaughter of a cop and the niece of two others, I don’t, but that’s not what this post is about.

It’s odd that in a year when the Governor has promised that he’ll be vetoing all kinds of bills, he’s putting such a high value on vetoing this one. It’s his first veto, and he’s facing a Democratic House and Senate. I have heard from Republican legislators about the pressure being brought to bear by party brass to back up the Governor’s determination to keep the death penalty on the books.

I got a faint whiff of the pressure myself this morning at an informal gathering of political acquaintances. I’m an undeclared voter (that’s Granitespeak for “independent”), but I was admonished by someone who should know better that I had to back the Governor on this one, and tell my reps to do likewise.

A conscience vote was fine when the bill first came through House and Senate, I was told, but that was then and this is now. Now, it’s not a conscience vote. It’s a matter of supporting the Governor. The Dems are doing this on purpose, timing this, trying to make him look bad.

The Governor, by the way, touted a 64% approval rating in April, making him the third-most-popular governor in the nation. He doesn’t need my pity.

I’ve been involved in politics all my adult life. I understand horse trading, whipping votes, and how arms need to be twisted now and then. But never, least of all now, have I had any patience for considering a life-issue bill to be a matter of conscience in March and a matter of saving face two months later.

This is the kind of thing that makes “undeclared” the largest bloc of voters in New Hampshire.

Opposition to the death penalty is something of a stumbling block to a lot of people who are pro-life in other respects. Some of those people are Republican legislators who voted against the repeal bill earlier this session and will vote to sustain the veto. They’re not giving the party whips any heartburn. They will be consistent.

The Republicans who voted in favor of death penalty repeal are the ones getting the lectures now. They’re the ones I’m thinking about as the vote nears. I hope they’ll be consistent, too.

Update: “The Walls are Talking”

I reviewed the groundbreaking book “The Walls are Talking” when it was published in 2016. It was the first book to gather accounts from former abortion workers who had left the industry and were ready to share their experiences. I commented at the time that the only weak spot in the book was the anonymity chosen by some of the workers.

Since then, more abortion workers have left the industry with the assistance of the peer support group And Then There Were None (ATTWN). More are willing to go public, revealing their faces and names, despite fear of reprisal. On May 21, four of them and ATTWN founder Abby Johnson will be featured in a webinar.

At this writing, registrations are still being accepted at this link for the online event: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0vav34L6Ti-C0aHhuBWtNQ

From the email announcement of the event, sent by Abby Johnson and ATTWN:

After Unplanned: The Walls are Talking
(Abby Johnson talks with former abortion workers)
Date: TUESDAY, MAY 21, 2019
Time: 4:30PM PT/ 6:30PM CT/ 7:30PM ET

UNPLANNED, the surprise hit film based on the book I wrote (of the same name, after I quit my job at Planned Parenthood) shook the nation as people were confronted with the truth about abortion. Many people, even those who are pro-life, didn’t know how horrific abortion was or the devastating effects it has wreaked on children, women, and their families. I received hundreds of personal messages about how UNPLANNED changed their views on abortion – and how they viewed those who worked in the industry, just like I did.

UNPLANNED only showed a small portion of what it looks like to work in the abortion industry. But it also showed how love and compassion can help workers quit their jobs and leave the industry entirely. Many of their stories are told in my second book, The Walls Are Talking.

Join me on TUESDAY, MAY 21 at 7:30pm EDT and four former abortion workers to learn:

how their stories are changing the face of the pro-life movement,
– the secrets of the abortion industry, and
– how abortion clinics are dealing with the exodus of so many workers.   I will introduce you to these four courageous former workers:

– Sue Thayer – Sue was a Center Manager for Planned Parenthood for 18 years. After she became pro-life, Sue led the first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign outside the very clinic she managed.

– Monica Cline – Monica was trained by Planned Parenthood for outreach to teens and saw first-hand that the goals were more abortion-centered than they were education-based.

– Adrienne Moton – Adrienne is a former employee of Women’s Medical Center, the infamous Kermit Gosnell’s practice. She worked in the abortion industry for 3 years.

– Myra Neyer – Myra worked for Planned Parenthood in Baltimore. She witnessed an unforgettable abortion procedure that led to her quitting her job in the industry. 

Participants will be entered into a random drawing to receive an autographed copy of my book, The Walls are Talking. It can also be ordered by CLICKING HERE.  I hope you will join me on May 21. These walls are talking, and it’s time we all listen.  Sincerely, Abby Johnson.

A Fresh Look at Old News

A note for readers, especially those long-suffering souls who have followed this pro-life blog since it was a hatchling seven years ago: a couple of years ago, I promised you a sort of best-of anthology from the first five years of the blog. (If you’ve forgotten, I forgive you.) That project, like a child with a mind of her own, has gone off in another direction.

The longer I worked on the manuscript, with all of the necessary prefaces to the posts in order to provide updates, the more I realized that the updates are the real story.

And so, a new e-book is simmering away on the figurative front burner. I am reaching out to some of the people whose stories I’ve had the privilege to share, hoping to discover where they’re heading now. I’m re-visiting places and recurring events, ready to give them a fresh look. I’m taking a look at how the Granite State has moved in terms of public policy. (That might be a short chapter.)

There’s good news to go along with all the challenges we face in New Hampshire regarding respect for life. We have neighbors people doing inspiring work. I’m excited about catching up with everything.

The goal: when I’m done writing, and after the whole edit-illustrate-format cycle(s), I’ll have a short book worth sharing with you. Stay tuned.