Top ten posts, 2016: part 2

Leaven for the Loaf readers shared certain posts far and wide, making these five posts the most popular of 2016. (See yesterday’s post for numbers 6 through 10.)

#5: “Trojan Horse”: a veteran pro-lifer warns about an end-of-life study committee

Nancy Elliott (photo by Ellen Kolb)

When an end-of-life study committee bill (SB 426) was proposed in the New Hampshire Senate earlier this year, I asked former New Hampshire state rep and current Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA leader Nancy Elliott about the legislation. What’s wrong with a “study”?

Photo by Jeanine Notter

Elliott noted that the bill as introduced “talks about end of life choices, but singles out ‘Aid in Dying’ – a  euphemism for assisted suicide and euthanasia.  It is apparent that the ‘choice’ that this bill wants to promote is suicide.  By rolling this into a commission stacked with pro-euthanasia people, this idea can be foisted on the citizens of New Hampshire.  It gives a platform for pro-assisted suicide/euthanasia advocates to have a platform to push this with.”

#4: Aftermath: roll calls of selected New Hampshire House votes

Last March, I compiled voting records for eleven life-issue bills considered by the New Hampshire House this year, offered a few observations, and gave a thumbs-up to the reps who were consistently pro-life.

#3: Book Review: “The Walls Are Talking”

The Walls are Talking (Ignatius Press, 2016)

Abby Johnson and the team at And Then There Were None have helped more than 300 abortion workers who have chosen to leave the abortion industry and seek other employment. Johnson and her co-author Kristin Detrow share the stories of some of those workers in The Walls Are Talking. 

“Abby Johnson gives fair warning in the preface to her new book: ‘This will not be an enjoyable read. It is a necessary one, however…’ She’s right on both counts. The Walls Are Talking gives former abortion workers a voice, and what they have to say is unsettling. ‘Settled’ is not how Johnson wants to leave anyone.”

#2: State Senate candidate Bill Gannon has notable 2016 voting record

Sen. (former Rep.) William Gannon (photo from NH House web site)

Yes, Rep. Gannon had a notable pro-life voting record – and now, thanks to the voters of state senate district 23, he has just been sworn in as Senator Gannon. Congratulations and best wishes to him.

#1: On the Democratic ballot for president, Henry Hewes offers a pro-life option

Henry Hewes (photo from electhenryhewes2016.com)

By the modest standards of this New Hampshire-based blog, the popularity of this post was truly remarkable. It was published in February and continued to draw readers throughout the national presidential primary season.

“A day before the New Hampshire primary, two major Democratic candidates are campaigning hard against each other. On one point, they’re united: absolute support for unregulated abortion. [Henry] Hewes does not buy it, and he’s willing to bring a pro-life message not only to voters in New Hampshire but to other states holding primaries. ‘The primary goal of my campaign is to raise a bunch of money to do pro-life education. My family is not preparing for a move to Washington, D.C.  [I want to] raise money to run pro-life ads that are not really designed or focused around getting people to vote for Henry Hewes, but around pro-life education, educating people to what’s going on and focusing their attention on the prolife issue.'”


 

Two Notes on Rand Paul

Observations, not an endorsement, from two recent encounters I’ve had with a presidential candidate:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) at 2015 Susan B. Anthony Summit
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) at 2015 Susan B. Anthony Summit

I had a chance to ask Senator (and presidential candidate) Rand Paul of Kentucky about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision regarding Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate (see WMUR-TV’s Conversation with the Candidate for transcript). Was it a net win or loss for liberty? Paul didn’t hesitate for a moment: “Net win.”

More recently, I attended the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C., where Senator Paul spoke for about ten minutes on the right to life. The full speech is available on YouTube. What struck me were his remarks on the life/liberty nexus. “Some have said to me, ‘well, you’re big on all this liberty stuff; why do you want to restrict a woman’s right to choose?’ And I say, you know what? Government has some role in our lives. One of the main roles a government has is to restrict you from harming another individual, which gets us back to the original debate: when life begins, there is a role for the state. It’s not that I’m against people choosing things. I’m one of the biggest believers in choice and liberty. But you can’t have liberty if you don’t protect where your liberty originates from, and that’s your right to life.”


Ten hours at CPAC

In spite of practical considerations, I’m fond of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. It’s an expensive indulgence, but I managed a one-day trip this year. Even by my First-in-the-Nation standards, it’s an impressive gathering.

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Never mind the headliners. The best of the presentations are usually to be found in the breakout sessions, and this year was no exception. Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List joined Dr. Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life and Darla St. Martin of National Right to Life spoke to a packed room about pro-life victories throughout the country in 2014. As New Hampshire turns ever bluer on the political map (I’m not giving away any secrets here), it’s easy to lose sight of the pro-life political gains elsewhere in other states. Ask North Carolina’s Joni Ernst about that.

Chris Crawford and Laurie Lee
Chris Crawford and Laurie Lee

A lower-profile presentation by Chris Crawford and Laurie Lee of Women Speak Out, an SBA List PAC, was a nuts-and-bolts description of the field effort that went into the winning campaigns last year. They called their session “The Margin of Victory.” No theoretical stuff here. How many canvassers, how many live phone calls, how many face-to-face interactions with pro-life voters did it take to yield victories for pro-life candidates? This was independent PAC with an astonishing ground game, independent of any party. They got results with good hard field work: one-on-one contact with voters.

One thing was clear after hearing from candidates and pro-life activists all day: don’t expect the presidential candidates to lead on the life issues. That’s going to be the voters’ job. Most pro-life or fence-sitter candidates will bring up the life issues only if asked – so be prepared to ask. (Pro-abortion candidates seem to have no trouble being upfront about their beliefs, if you can call it “upfront” when they use euphemisms like “pro-choice.”)

All photos by Ellen Kolb for Leaven for the Loaf