Mother Nature’s buffer

Winter observations: New Hampshire, like the rest of the region, is having an exceptionally snowy season. This coincides with the current 40 Days for Life campaign. While a Planned Parenthood lobbyist works the State House halls to urge legislators to keep the buffer zone law, her co-workers in Manchester are letting Mother Nature do the buffering. The sidewalk outside the Manchester facility looked like this when I arrived at 7 a.m. last Thursday for my vigil hour.

Sidewalk at 24 Pennacook Street in Manchester NH, 2/19/15. Planned Parenthood office is on the right.
Sidewalk outside PP in Manchester NH, 2/19/15. Planned Parenthood office is on the right.

Everyone has it tough with all the snow this month. But somehow, I’m not surprised I found this particular sidewalk in the shape it was in last Thursday.

Note the path carved out in the middle of the snowpile. That was done by a member of the local 40DFL leadership team on Wednesday, first day of the 40DFL campaign. Six inches of snow fell after he did the shoveling. What you see in the photo is what I found the following morning. See the wall of snow at the end of the walkway? The other side of that wall is the entrance to the PP patient parking lot. That tells me that the snow was piled there sometime between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning.

Buffer, anyone?

When I saw the situation Thursday, I did my best to clear a few parking spaces at the edge of the street, knowing that Thursday is a big day for sidewalk counseling at the facility year-round, independent of 40DFL. Later in the day, another volunteer took a crack at clearing the sidewalk on PP’s side of the street. One has to be careful to move the snow into the pile – the wall, really – between sidewalk and street. It’s illegal to shovel the snow into the street, just as it’s illegal to trespass on PP property.

PP employee lot was plowed, presumably by a contractor. Where did the contractor put the snow?
PP employee lot was plowed, presumably by a contractor. Where did the contractor put the snow?
From the opposite direction of top picture in this post: PP, the buried sidewalk, the edge of Pennacook Street.
From the opposite direction of top picture in this post, from left to right: PP, the buried sidewalk, the edge of the street.
Pennacook Street across from PP, 2/19/15.
PP’s employee lot on the left, residences on the right, a more-or-less two-way street in between.

The day after these pictures were taken, a citywide even-side-only parking rule went into effect to allow plows widen the streets a bit more. At least one of PP’s neighbors is making inquiries to the public works department about who is responsible for keeping the sidewalk passable. As I said, everyone has it tough while this weather pattern holds.

The snow will melt eventually. With or without it, 40DFL continues.


Two weeks to Winter ’15 40DFL; sign up now

The 2015 winter (let’s not call it spring this year) 40 Days for Life campaign begins in less than two weeks. I’ve written at length about New Hampshire campaigns before and will surely do so again. For now, though, this is just a tap on the shoulder: you can sign up now for vigil hours.

Opening rally in Manchester: Monday, February 16, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Ste. Marie’s. Guest speaker: Sister Mary Rose Reddy, whose work for New Hampshire children extends from sidewalk witness outside Greenland’s abortion facility to working with troubled students from schools in her community.

I’m down for 7 a.m. once a week in Manchester, and I’d welcome company in prayer and commitment to peaceful pro-life witness. Remember, whatever hour you choose, yours may be the only peaceful life-affirming presence the workers, neighbors and abortion-minded women will see that day.

True, there are no clients showing up at Planned Parenthood at that hour. Workers at the facility have obviously been warned not to engage with pro-lifers. Neighbors sometimes come over to ask what we’re doing – an opportunity for calm discussion, in my experience.

The so-called “buffer zone” law in New Hampshire is still not in effect. Even if it were, 40DFL would still go on at the nearest lawful location – across the street, for example.

Find your nearest campaign at

Message from 40DFL Manchester: what’s your gift?

I’m happy to share this message from 40 Days for Life’s Manchester team, looking for volunteers to fill specific jobs in the next campaign. Maybe you’re just the person they’re looking for. Pass this on to anyone who could help – including the leader of your faith community. 

Hello friends,

The next 40 Days for Life Manchester campaign dates have been announced:

February 18 – March 29, 2015

The Leadership Team is beginning pre-campaign planning and need a few team members:

  • Pre-campaign planning
  • Be an Hour Captain 
  • Help at events
  • Work with media
  • Drive for a carpool
  • Write letters to the editor
  • Organize my church
  • Recruit youth to participate
  • Serve as a team leader
  • Prayer coordinator

Please contact us at

God Bless all of you and thank you for praying to end abortion in Manchester!

Maurice Huberdeau
Beth Scaer
Joan Silvernail

Leadership Team, 40 Days for Life Manchester

P.S. – Watch this short video to learn about the 40 Days for Life campaign, and to learn about its powerful track record of proven life-saving results.

40 Days for Life now accepting applications for Winter ’15 leaders

40 Days logoApplications are now open for leadership positions in the next 40 Days for Life campaigns nationwide. The Winter campaign runs from February 18 to March 29. Now’s the time to ask questions and gather information as you discern whether you have a role to play.

Link to the national site’s information page HERE.

In Manchester, when Jen Robidoux stepped down after the Fall ’14 campaign, she noted that a team was already in place to assist anyone who steps up to lead a campaign there. How perfect would that be for a first-timer?

Related news: I’ll be a guest on Senator Kevin Avard’s Gate City Chronicles next week (public access TV) to talk about 40DFL. My thanks to Senator Avard for helping to publicize this peaceful prolife project.


Only Thirteen Weeks Away

generic calendar40 Days for Life’s Fall ’14 campaign just ended. The next one is only thirteen weeks away. Time to get ready.

Thirteen weeks? Yup. There are two campaigns per year, but the Spring ’15 campaign is pegged to Lent, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Palm Sunday. In 2015, Easter comes early. The spring campaign will therefore be a winter campaign.

Now’s the time to discern whether you want to take up a leadership position for the spring campaign. It’s time to block out a daily or weekly time on your calendar, set aside for an hour of peaceful prolife witness outside an abortion facility. Wherever you live, if there’s a place where abortions are committed, there’s a place for 40DFL.

Does peaceful witness have to be done under the aegis of 40DFL? Of course not. 40DFL didn’t invent sidewalk witnessing. It has accomplished three things, though, that in my opinion are worth noting.

It has emphasized in an uncompromising way that 40DFL is a movement of peace. That includes peace toward abortion-minded women, abortion workers, neighbors, law enforcement officials – everyone.

It unites prolife witnesses from around the world in a common project that includes encouragement and communication among participants, battling the siege mentality that can beset prolife public action. When I was standing in the rain at 7:30 on a cold Manchester morning last month, saying my prayers and nodding a greeting at workers arriving to open the abortion facility, I knew there were other people in other cities doing the same thing.

It has definitely gotten notice from abortion facility operators whose bottom lines are being affected. Since 40DFL began in 2007, 59 abortion facilities where 40DFL has been active have closed, and over 9000 abortion-minded women have chosen to carry their children to term.

Think about it. Pray about it. Plan now for the next campaign in February. This isn’t a Catholic thing, as it can seem to be in some towns, or an Evangelical thing, as it can seem to be in others. It’s a Christian non-denominational movement, open to anyone of good will. Don’t take my word for it; read the 40DFL mission statement. 

Vigil, prayer and fasting, community outreach: each is a component of 40DFL. There’s a place for you. Think about it, and be ready when the campaign gears up early next year.