Cecile’s Legacy

Originally posted at DaTechGuy blog, 5/2/18.

Seen at NH March for Life 2018.

The Twitterverse murmured #ThankYouCecile the other day to mark the end of Cecile Richards’s tenure leading the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Hats off to the Babylon Bee for skewering that bit of social media hashtagging: “Woman Celebrated for Killing 3.5 Million People.”

That satirical bull’s eye came just a few days after another one from the same source: “Planned Parenthood Defends Bill Cosby: ‘Sexual Assault Is Only 3% Of What He Does’”. I wish I’d written that.

But in all seriousness, Richards is a consequential woman. It would be a mistake to pretend otherwise. Planned Parenthood has had high-profile leaders before and will have them again. What sets Richards apart are the sheer bloody numbers and her solid brass determination. Continue reading “Cecile’s Legacy”

Trust Women, You Say? Start Here

A New Hampshire legislative committee had a hearing this week on a proposal for a bill on informed consent for abortion. I was only able to stay for the first hour, by which time the room was still filled to capacity with people anxious to go on record.

I signed the blue sheet familiar to Legislative Office Building regulars, noting that I was in favor of the bill and did not wish to speak. By the time my hour at the hearing was up, there was plenty I wished to speak about.

Anyone can read the text of HB 1707. In summary, the bill sets up requirements for information abortion providers need to give an abortion-minded woman, and it sets up a 24-hour reflection period between the time a woman receives the information and has the abortion or takes the abortion prescription. The 24-hour provision would be waived in cases of medical emergency.

It also gives a woman the right to know 24 hours in advance who’s going to be performing the abortion.

Last time I checked, roughly two dozen states had reflection periods in effect for abortion, ranging from 18 to 72 hours, as part of informed consent for abortion. Even in Texas, some of whose laws were struck down in the Hellerstadt case that established women’s right to substandard medical care, a 24-hour waiting period is on the books. Such laws, properly drafted, have been consistent with Roe for a long time now. This is not groundbreaking healthcare policy. But this is New Hampshire, as Gosnell-friendly a place as one could find, and HB 1707 faces an uphill battle.

One provision of the bill that apparently shocked a committee member – a physician, as it happens – says that no abortion provider gets paid before the woman has had the 24 hours to review the information about the procedure. “Not even a co-pay?” he enquired of one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

That’s right. Not even a co-pay, if the bill means what its plain language says.

As the legislator-physician asked about the co-pay, I thought of Catherine Adair‘s description of her work at Planned Parenthood in Boston: “The first thing – the first thing – that happens in an abortion clinic is the money changes hands. You’re not getting anywhere until you pay for that abortion.”

Another physician, who comes faithfully to every hearing on every bill he perceives as threatening Roe v. Wade, was present to tell the committee, “I’m listening to a lot of people [at the hearing] who don’t trust women and don’t trust the medical system.”

Trust women. Makes as much sense as trust men. Which ones? To do what? What about the three women who co-sponsored HB 1707? What about me?

I’ll give him full marks for speculating about not trusting the medical system, though. I have tremendous respect for the technical skills of health care professionals, and the potential such people have to make the world a better place. There are individual providers who have earned my trust. But trust a “system” with my health? Trust the “system” that has endorsed a public policy that says women are inherently broken and need to be fixed? Trust people for whom abortion – and assisted suicide, for that matter – are considered “health care”?

No.

More from the doctor: rates of pregnancy terminations “have dropped dramatically.” Not by New Hampshire’s measure, since New Hampshire does not collect abortion statistics, which this doctor knows perfectly well.

I heard in that hour more than a few deferential remarks about health care professionals who do abortions. As I expected, I heard criticism that the bill refers to abortion providers as “physicians,” which leaves out the nurse-practitioners who do the job.

In that first hour, no one – nary a sponsor, committee member, or member of the public – mentioned the fact that New Hampshire has no restriction on who may perform abortions. There is no requirement for medical background or training or certification.

If anyone on the committee wishes to change that, HB 1707 provides the opportunity. The committee could amend it to add nurse-practitioners. Then again, perhaps a majority of committee members prefer the status quo, and all the talk about how abortions are safely performed by medical personnel is so much sand in our eyes.

The bill is silent on certification and licensing of abortion facilities, but testimony and committee questions brought it up anyway. Maybe the committee members got the information they needed from someone who spoke after I left, but I’m going to put this in writing and send it to the committee anyway: this is from a New Hampshire Sunday News article from May 19, 2013 (reported in an earlier post), written in the wake of the Kermit Gosnell trial:

“Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Department of Health and Human Services, explained in an email that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and the Concord Feminist Health Center are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements because they are considered physician offices. Twenty-three health care providers such as hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and dialysis centers are licensed by the state, but not abortion clinics. ‘In New Hampshire, there is no such thing as an abortion clinic – the majority of abortions are done in doctors offices … and doctors’ offices are exempt from licensure under RSA 151:2 II,’ Neilsen said. ‘Because they are exempt, we have no jurisdiction over them, and neither does anyone else.'”

The House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee will vote on the bill within a few weeks.

N.H. Informed Consent Bill Hearing Scheduled for Jan. 17

HB 1707 will have a hearing before the New Hampshire House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee on January 17 at 11:00 a.m. in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. This Abortion Information Act requires a physician who performs an abortion, or the referring physician, to provide the pregnant woman with certain information at least 24 hours prior to the abortion, and to obtain her consent that she has received such information.

Among the information to which a woman would be entitled 24 hours in advance is to the name of the person performing the abortion or prescribing the drug for a chemical abortion. Not a face-to-face meeting, but a name.

A woman would be entitled to written information 24 hours in advance, which she need not read; all she’d sign for is confirmation that she received the written material. No reflection period would be imposed in case of medical emergency. Some of the information to which women would be entitled under HB 1707:

Medically-accurate information including a description of the proposed abortion method; known risks associated with the procedure or medication; known risks of carrying the pregnancy to term; and abortion alternatives.

Information on medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care.

Notification that the father of the child is liable to assist with child support; this information may be omitted if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

A reminder that she is free to withdraw consent to the abortion at any time.

 

Furthermore, no abortion provider could take payment until the end of the 24-hour reflection period.

The bill refers to “physicians” as the ones performing abortions, which will annoy the nurse practitioners for whom abortion is within scope of practice. So let someone on the committee propose an amendment to expand the provider list, if that’s a concern. Under current law, or lack thereof, there is no restriction on who may perform abortions; no medical training whatsoever is required. Maybe that’s OK with the bill’s opponents.

Sponsors: Reps. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack), Victoria Sullivan (R-Manchester), Kevin Verville (R-Deerfield), Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester)

To express your view: email the Committee (HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us) or attend the hearing (room 205 of the LOB, a block behind the State House). If you attend, options are to speak about the bill (fill out a pink card near the entrance to the hearing room), submit written testimony (either email it, or bring 20 hard copies to distribute to committee members), or simply sign in on the sheet that should be on the end of the committee table nearest the entrance to the hearing room.

After the initial hearing, the committee chairman might name a subcommittee to examine the bill further, or the committee could vote on the bill within a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

Two weeks left in this 40DFL campaign; closing rallies scheduled

Fourteen days remain in this season’s 40 Days for Life campaign, with vigils continuing 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.  through Sunday, November 6. The New Hampshire campaigns in Manchester and Greenland are still welcoming new participants who sign the 40DFL Statement of Peace, submit it to the local campaign leader, and commit to time in prayer and peaceful witness outside Planned Parenthood in Manchester or the Lovering Center in Greenland.

Manchester

The Manchester campaign will close with a candlelight prayer vigil at 5 p.m., Sunday, November 6, in the public right-of-way outside of Planned Parenthood at 24 Pennacook Street. Candles and light refreshments will be provided.  Watch for updates on the campaign’s Facebook page. 

Photo courtesy Beth Scaer/40 Days for Life Manchester NH.
Photo courtesy Beth Scaer/40 Days for Life Manchester NH.

Greenland

The Greenland campaign will have a final rally at 2 p.m. on Sunday, November 6. More details will be announced in the coming days on the campaign’s 40DFL page.

Just a thought:

40 Days for Life ends two days before Election Day. Every hour you spend at a 40 DFL vigil is an hour you won’t be getting political phone calls, greeting door-to-door campaigners, and subjecting yourself to less-than-edifying social media posts.


Gosnell film, “3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy,” available for pre-order

After three and half years, the makers of 3801 Lancaster (see link below) are ready to release the follow-up documentary, 3801 Lancaster: American Tragedy. The address in the title refers to the facility where abortionist Kermit Gosnell killed children who survived attempted abortions. He was also found guilty of manslaughter in the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar. Gosnell is in prison for his crimes.

Those crimes are at risk of being forgotten or mischaracterized. Director David Altrogge of 3801 Lancaster doesn’t want that to happen. The new film is available for pre-order on iTunes.

Here’s the trailer:

And here is the original 3801 Lancaster, 21 minutes long. Disturbing material, but must-see viewing for anyone concerned about public health in general and women’s health in particular.