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.

 

Deal with it: life after the Court’s latest misstep

I have a constitutional right to substandard care, as long as abortion’s involved. At least that’s what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Breyer and four of his colleagues think. All women, pro-choice and pro-life alike, have reason to choke on that.


In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court tossed out hospital admitting requirements for abortion providers and requirements that abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers. Gosnell must be loving this.

I’m not. I was discouraged for about forty-five minutes, then I got angry. The decision stinks. Even so, I have to deal with it.

I’ll deal with it like this.

  • Witness. Recommit to 40 Days for Life with its peaceful and decidedly un-political witness to clients and workers at abortion facilities.
  • Demonstrate. Marches for Life in Washington and in my state capital next January, rallies at the State House:  simple ways to remind the Justices and their abettors that they haven’t settled anything.
  • Demand stats. Keep working for an abortion statistics law. Without reliable stats, people like Justice Ginsburg can chant about how “safe” abortion is.  There are no reliable uniformly-collected nationwide public health statistics to back that up. Ask the Centers for Disease Control. Its abortion surveillance reports are full of footnotes about the different figures kept by different states, and about the lack of information from several states including my own.
  • Protect whistleblowers. If a worker at an abortion facility goes public with concerns about facility conditions, is the worker protected from reprisals? Time to find out.
  • Remember Gosnell, from grand jury report to verdict.  Breyer mentioned the Gosnell scandal in the Whole Woman’s Health decision, only to dismiss its relevance. He has the devil’s own nerve being so cavalier about women’s health.
  • Fight public funding of abortion providers who with their support of Whole Woman’s Health are in favor of making substandard care a Constitutional right.  

A tall order, all that – until I’m reminded that five Supreme Court Justices, including three women,  consider women’s health to be less important than the business interests of abortion providers.

That’s unacceptable. Pushback starts now.

 

Abortion provider’s fundraiser: “Women’s lives are at stake” – but public policy budget is safe

A reader has forwarded me the latest fundraising email she received from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. As marketing pieces go, it’s sharp, as may be expected from an organization with a $200,000 marketing budget.

Perhaps the marketing types didn’t have time to fact-check the text. Neither did PPNNE’s president/CEO, apparently, who let this whopper go out over her signature:

“New Hampshire stripped our funding.” 

screenshot from PPNNE fundraising email, April 2016
screenshot from PPNNE fundraising email, April 2016

That refers to one Executive Council vote last August that denied PPNNE a contract worth $638,000 over two years.

The most recent annual report for PPNNE that I can find covers 2014. That year, PPNNE’s revenue was $20,739,512. Of that, federal/state/local funding (that’s your money) came to $3,824,582.


A $638,000 two-year government contract works out to $319,000 per year. PPNNE in 2014 took in $3.8 million in government funds. If the expected government funding for 2015-2016 stayed level in other respects, loss of the contract represents an 8% reduction in the investment taxpayers are making to PPNNE.

Stripped their funding?

The 2014 annual report also says that there was enough funding to allow $805,413 in public policy spending. $235,796 went straight to the national Planned Parenthood office for “program support.” A million bucks went to development (i.e. fundraising), yielding about $4 million in contributions and bequests. This doesn’t even get into salaries (delving into PPNNE’s IRS form 990 will tell you more about that), which for the annual report are folded into General and Admin expenses.

“Women’s lives are at stake,” frets the CEO in the email. At least public policy and fundraising aren’t at stake.

When you hear politicians running for office saying that they “stand with Planned Parenthood,” ask if they stand by the bogus claim that PPNNE’s been “stripped of funding” in New Hampshire.

By the way, did you notice how the clip from the email smoothly and deceptively lists a contract denial along with criminal activity as one of the things making things “tough” for PP? In case that point might escape a potential donor, this graphic topped the email:

Graphic from PPNNE fundraising email, April 2016.
Graphic from PPNNE fundraising email, April 2016.

Protest, protests, picket, defunds (sic), …hatchet attack. One of these things is not like the other. Can your reps tell which one?

And how do you like the “protests close in as buffer zone vanishes”? No zone has vanished since none has been set up (as of two days ago, anyway). If you don’t believe me, ask Judge Laplante.

There’s more: as the clip below shows, the fundraising email claims that New Hampshire had sixteen bills this year “that would limit women’s access to reproductive health.”

ppfundletter3

Based on the bills opposed by PPNNE this year, the organization believes that women’s access to reproductive health is limited when First Amendment rights are asserted (HB 1570), when there is a duty to care for children who survive attempted abortion (HB 1627), and when there’s a ban on trafficking in the body parts of aborted children (HB 1663).

That’s enough to give reproductive health a bad name.


Here’s a screenshot of the email, minus header and hyperlinks:

ppfundletter4

 

 

House committee ties 8-8 on abortion funding bill; gives thumbs down to abortion facility licensing

A measure to prohibit the use of public funds, employees and facilities in assisting or performing abortions will go to the New Hampshire House floor this week without recommendation after the Judiciary Committee tied 8-8 on HB 1684.


The House will convene on March 8 and 9 to deal with an extensive calendar including bills on buffer zone repeal and restrictions on mid- and late-term abortions, as well as bills described below on abortion facility licensing, human trafficking, abortion-inducing drugs, and commercialization of the remains of aborted children.

“Insulate taxpayers who object to having to fund a procedure they do not condone”

The funding bill has seven sponsors, led by Rep. J.R. Hoell. If passed, it would go into effect in 2017.

Judiciary Committee member Rep. Mark McLean wrote a statement for publication in the House calendar expressing support for an Ought to Pass motion on HB 1684. “While the right to an abortion is guaranteed following the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, the current public disagreement on the matter has led to the barring of federal and, in many cases, state funds to pay for abortion. These restrictions on funding have been held up as constitutional for almost 40 years. New Hampshire, like 32 other states, follows the federal standard established by the current version of the Hyde Amendment and bans the use of Medicaid funds to pay for abortions except in limited cases. This bill expands the funding ban from Medicaid to all public funds and it eliminates the involvement of state employees and facilities in abortion except in the case of preserving the life of the mother. Abortions are currently performed in over a dozen facilities throughout the state, all of which are private hospitals or clinics. As a result of this fact, a large portion of the committee felt that this bill would not limit a woman’s access to abortion, but that it would insulate taxpayers who object to having to fund a procedure they do not condone.”

Against the bill: “would prevent public employees from fulfilling their responsibilities”

Rep. Charlene Takesian provided a statement in favor of ruling the bill Inexpedient to Legislate, warning that the state would lose funds for “cancer screenings” if taxpayers were to divest from the abortion industry. “This bill would restrict the use of public funds for abortion when in fact the use of public funds for abortion is already limited to very rare and narrow circumstances. It also would disqualify New Hampshire from receiving nearly $750,000 per year in federal family planning funds and funds for preventive care like cancer screenings, access to birth control and annual well-woman exams. This bill would result in the defunding of family planning providers such as community health centers who provide critical and important care that actually reduces unintended pregnancy and the need for abortion. It also would prevent public employees from fulfilling their responsibilities when working with teens in foster care or female inmates, all who may need information about pregnancy options and providing such information or support would be outlawed under this bill.”

Abortion facility licensing gets negative report, despite committee member plea that “women deserve the protection that clinic licensing would provide”

A bill to require licensing of abortion facilities has a bipartisan panel of ten sponsors including two state senators. Chief sponsor of HB 1399 is Rep. Kathleen Souza.

The Judiciary Committee voted 14-5 to send the bill to the full House with an Inexpedient to Legislate report. Rep. Larry Phillips wrote on behalf of the majority: “There are procedures done in unlicensed physician’s offices that are not as safe as abortions. Although facilities may not be licensed, medical professionals who work in them, including abortion clinics, are.”

Rep. Kurt Wuelper wrote for the committee minority, mindful of documented deaths of women in other states at abortion facilities. “Women across our country have died because of inadequate facilities at abortion clinics. Women have died because of blocked exit doors, hallways not wide enough for emergency equipment and other difficulties with the physical facilities. This bill left the Department of Health and Human Services to decide what requirements would be. We think New Hampshire women deserve the protection that clinic licensing would provide.”

Unanimous “ought to pass” for bill against sex trafficking of minors

The Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee voted 12-0 on an Ought to Pass motion for HB 1628, which would make it a crime for a person to pay to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18. It also would makes it illegal to observe a sexually explicit performance involving a person under the age of 18. Rep. Brian Gallagher is the lead sponsor; the bill has five sponsors altogether.

HHS Committee skeptical of heeding FDA protocols for abortion drug use

HB 1662, an abortion-inducing-drug safety act, goes to the House floor with a 16-1 Inexpedient to Legislate vote from the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee. Rep. Thomas Sherman wrote for the majority. “Without demonstrating a compelling need, this bill would set several precedents in addressing abortion including requiring use of FDA guidelines rather than the medical standard of practice, requiring admitting privileges for an outpatient procedure and requiring a contract with her physician to handle procedure complications. Furthermore, it would apply criminal penalties for activities under the jurisdiction of the Board of Medicine.”


The bill’s eight sponsors including lead sponsor Rep. Kurt Wuelper were responding to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England advertising chemical abortion up to 63 days into pregnancy, when FDA protocols recommend a maximum of 42 days. The text of HB 1662 cites FDA recommendations for administration of the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, along with an FDA report about “adverse events” occurring to women taking the drug.

New Hampshire Right to Life sought for several years under a Right to Know request to find out if PPNNE, a state contractor, was properly licensed by the state of New Hampshire to distribute abortion-inducing drugs. A Strafford County judge ruled last year that the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services should not have delayed responding to the RTK request. At that time Jane Cormier of NHRTL said, “New Hampshire DHHS broke the law when it did not enforce a simple right to know request. By doing so, they gave Planned Parenthood the ability to redact important information regarding RU-486 protocols, which Planned Parenthood was legally required to fully disclose.”

10-8 “inexpedient to legislate” vote on bill to bar trafficking in fetal remains

The Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to recommend that the full House kill HB 1663,  prohibiting buying, selling, and experimenting on unborn infants or bodily remains resulting from abortion.

In the wake of the Center for Medical Progress videos, Rep. Kathleen Souza had no trouble finding nine other legislators to co-sponsor the bill. Clearly, other legislators were untroubled by the CMP revelations.

Rep. Linda Kenison in her majority report took issue with the bill’s title, which she called “misleading.” “The true impact of this bill would be to ban the voluntary donation of fetal tissues by abortion patients and to ban any fetal tissue research taking place in this state. The committee heard no evidence that the sale of fetal tissue was occurring in New Hampshire. In fact, we heard testimony to the contrary. Fetal tissue research has the great potential to continue to advance clinical knowledge and treatment options for life-threatening and chronic diseases. The majority of the committee feels that voluntary fetal tissue donation should remain an option for women.”

Unfortunately, no minority report was provided in time to meet the deadline for the House calendar.

The House will convene March 9 at 9 a.m. and is likely to meet on March 10 as well. The sessions will be livestreamed via the House web site.