Reproductive rights an “economic” issue? NH visitor says Yes

The president of a political action committee dedicated to the election of “pro-choice” female candidates was in New Hampshire last week. Stephanie Schriock of EMILY’s List presided at a town-hall-style event organized to promote a female candidate for president in 2016.

Reporter Pat Grossmith of the New Hampshire Sunday News of 9/29/13 reported,”As for reproductive rights, [Schriock] said it was a economic issue, not a social issue, along with minimum wage, equal pay and child care.” I’ve heard this before. I call it the Make Life Perfect First argument: start by making everything else in life perfect, and then it will follow that women won’t have abortions.

Not that easy

It’s not that easy. It’s nearly impossible to calculate the the amount of money that’s been spent on the state and federal levels in the past few decades on the welfare of women and children. Still, hundreds of thousands of abortions are committed annually in the U.S. – over a million in some years, according to the shaky data that’s available.

The foundation of pro-life belief and action is the unshakable understanding that the right to life is inherent from the first moment of prenatal life. It doesn’t depend on any external factor like the mother’s feelings or the local WIC allotment. That understanding is free. Its implications are profoundly at variance with the Make Life Perfect philosophy.

Reproductive rights means abortion on demand (and without apology, according to its most ardent partisans).  That’s the most deadly civil rights challenge of the last 40 years. When rights are dependent on how much one is wanted, injustice prevails, no matter what any judge says.

Money and language

EMILY’s List through the years has raised more than a quarter-billion dollars to help elect pro-abortion women. That’s billion with a B. I’m sure Schriock felt very much at home as she visited a state with a pro-abortion governor, two pro-abortion members of Congress, and a pro-abortion U.S. Senator – all women.

And yet when questioned by the Sunday News reporter, Schriock wouldn’t use the word abortion. In a political discussion, “rights” sells; “abortion,” not so much anymore. That’s telling. The public is shrinking from abortion, as shown by the passage of so many state-level pro-life laws in the past few years. Yet abortion advocates still win elections.

The only way to do that is to use euphemisms and distractions. EMILY’s List and organizations that share its goal have been very good at that. It’s hard to argue in favor of abortion up until birth, if the focus is on the preborn child and on the well-being of the mother. Shift the terms to “choice,” war-on-women and “reproductive rights,” and combine that with political opponents who prefer silence to making the pro-life case, and pro-abortion candidates gain an edge. I’m not giving away any secrets.

To EMILY’s List, then, a key is to introduce economics to the discussion. They’re out for big game: a female pro-abortion president. Schriock noted at her New Hampshire stop that Hillary Clinton isn’t the only possibility. She reeled off a half dozen other names as well, including Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services secretary. Yes, the HHS mandate queen looks like presidential timber to that outfit.

Pro-life alternatives

It’s up to individual candidates and individual donors to pick up the gauntlet. The Susan B. Anthony List‘s PAC is the sole nationwide political action committee dedicated to identifying and electing pro-life candidates. “Advancing, mobilizing and representing pro-life women” is the SBA List mission. They’ll help pro-life women who are running for office, but they don’t neglect pro-life men. I know state-level PACs can operate as well. Keep an eye out for them.

If you’re telling yourself that politics shouldn’t be about money, you’re half right. Politics is about policy. Getting elected to influence policy does cost money. Try traveling around your state without it, or buying ads, or bringing together a team dedicated full-time to helping in the effort.

Think about the quarter of a billion dollars that EMILY’s List has spent. Where’s the pro-life equivalent? SBA List is willing to go the distance, with sufficient support from pro-life donors.

That’s where economics comes in. Keep the dollar signs off the babies.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Five reasons (so far) to watch NH legislators in 2014

New Hampshire State HouseJanuary’s still three months off, and as of this writing 355 proposals for bills have been filed in Concord. The complete list of these LSRs, or legislative service requests, is here.  It’s always interesting to get a preview of coming attractions. This is a simple list of sponsors and topics; the texts of the bills haven’t been prepared yet. Other sponsors will undoubtedly sign on to these proposals later in the drafting process.

Abortion. Rep. Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester) is proposing bills regarding licensure of abortion facilities and collection of abortion statistics. An aside: A post I wrote recently mentioning the lack of a stats bill in NH drew an objection from a reader, who said I had no statistics about abortion’s effect on women to support my concern that we need statistics to measure abortion’s effect on women. Got that?

Death penalty. Rep. Robert “Renny” Cushing (D-Hampton), whose father was murdered in 1988, is once again introducing a bill to repeal the death penalty in New Hampshire. I oppose the death penalty, after years of being ambivalent about it. I have attended hearings on death-penalty bills before, and I am always struck by how many abortion advocates oppose the death penalty and how many defenders of the unborn support it. Time after time, the most consistent voice, defending the right to life for preborn children as well as for condemned murderers, comes from representatives of the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

Another Dominick’s Law? Rep. Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster) has an LSR to “include ‘fetus’ in the definition of ‘another’ for the purpose of certain criminal offenses.” Another fetal homicide bill, perhaps? If so, recall that in 2012, only a last-minute desperation move by abortion advocates prevented an override of Gov. Lynch’s veto of a similar bill.

Suicide. Rep. Donna Schlachman (D-Exeter) wants to see suicide prevention programs in schools. Rep. Tim O’Flaherty (D-Manchester) has submitted a pair of LSRs relative to suicide, including one to create an affirmative defense for a person who aids or assists someone to commit suicide. Interesting juxtaposition there.

Establishing a committee to study end-of-life decisions. Rep. Charles Weed (D-Keene) is back. Recall what one of his colleagues had to say the last time Weed sponsored an “end-of-life” bill.

Stay tuned for more clues about the 2014 session. At this point, no LSR has been posted online about repealing New Hampshire’s parental notification law.

 

 

 

 

40 Days for Life starting off strong in New Hampshire

40 Days logoLast evening, on the eve of the latest international 40 Days for Life campaign, New Hampshire women and men came out in force to commit to an intense peaceful, prayerful daily vigil outside local abortion facilities until November 3. I went to the kickoff rally in Manchester and had trouble finding parking – my first clue that there was an amazing turnout.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. 40DFL efforts nationwide have had powerful results.

There’s already an ongoing sidewalk-counseling effort at the Planned Parenthood office on Pennacook Street. Some of those activists have rented an apartment across the street from the office, as a place of respite and prayer, calling it the Pray for Life Center. That’s where we gathered last evening – myself and at least fifty other people, filling every one of the apartment’s tiny rooms, spilling out into the little back yard. The “rally” was more like a neighborhood party, with people of all ages laughing and chatting and eating dinner standing up.

There’s no “typical” pro-lifer anymore, if such a person ever existed. Kids, college students, young professionals, Women of a Certain Age such as yours truly, people well into retirement: all were there last night. 40DFL is an explicitly faith-based initiative, so secular pro-lifers were probably underrepresented. We had an impressive blend of people nonetheless. It’s worth noting that I met a lot of new people last evening. I’ve been involved in pro-life work in New Hampshire for the better part of three decades, and I’ve met more new activists in the past three years than in all the preceding years combined. The post-Roe generation has come into its own. They see themselves as survivors, and it’s sobering to think about how accurate that is.

Paul Swope, guest speaker at Manchester 40DFL kickoff
Paul Swope, guest speaker at Manchester 40DFL kickoff

We all went outside into the tiny back yard in the chilly night air to hear the speakers. There was simply not enough room in the apartment to accommodate a crowd for a formal program. Nice problem to have. We listened to Paul Swope of nearby Derry, whose labors in the pro-life vineyard have taken him from scrubbing floors in a Philadelphia nonprofit’s office to working in eastern Europe to promote the culture of life. He reminded us last evening of “the power of the pro-life message. I owe to this movement everything that is important to me,” pointing out his wife Jenny as an example.

As a young man, Swope had no problem with Roe, even paying for his onetime girlfriend’s abortion (“I was a gentleman,” he remarked with gentle irony). Seemingly minor experiences led him only a few years later to a very different view of things. He talked about his mother’s prayers for him – which he didn’t want; “part of my story is to give you mothers hope” – and the trip to Europe that brought him into contact with people and books that he had never encountered in the course of his Ivy League education. He cited the books Whatever Happened to the Human Race and Abortion: the Silent Holocaust as crucial to his pro-life formation. “I was weeping at what I read. [Those books] were God’s chisel. All my Ivy League graduating-at-the-top-of-my-class didn’t matter.”

Swope says that through 40DFL, “We know that great things are happening, and it’s the Lord’s work. There’s a lot to be thankful for. We have much to celebrate.”

Fr. Chris Gaffrey offers opening prayer in Manchester NH
Fr. Chris Gaffrey offers opening prayer in Manchester NFr. Chris Gaffrey of St. Thomas parish in Derry

Fr. Chris Gaffrey of Derry said, “This is what our 40 days of prayer and fasting should be about: not only for the children, but also for those who go in there [to the abortion facility] – be they the workers, be they folks feeling as though they have no other options. We ask for the kind of love that would make us willing to die for any of those people, not just the children.”

Meanwhile, over in Greenland, New Hampshire, another 40DFL crowd gathered in front of the Lovering Center for its own vigil. Jackie McCoy emailed me today with photos and a brief report. “Throughout the hour, we experienced the usual feedback from passing traffic–some thumbs up, some unfriendly loud honks, and the neighbor across the street running his lawn mower to drown us out, but … we count it as blessings when we are persecuted and we pray for them, and pray for the abortion Dr and clinic workers.”

Both 40DFL locations in New Hampshire welcome participants who will sign a statement adhering to nonviolence and cooperation with local authorities. (The statement also includes an affirmation that “I am in no way associated” with any abortion provider.) Hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., today through November 3. To sign up online to pray in front of PP or the Lovering Center during the campaign, go to one of these sites:

www.40daysforlife.com/Manchester

www.40daysforlife.com/Greenland

Full house in Manchester for 40 DFL kickoff, overflowing to the deck.
Full house in Manchester for 40 DFL kickoff, overflowing to the deck.
40DFL kickoff in Greenland NH. Jackie McCoy photo.
40DFL kickoff in Greenland NH. Jackie McCoy photo.

 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

More for a pro-lifer’s reading list

My semi-regular Basic Books feature is giving way to another blogger’s suggestions this week. Pro-Life Philosophy offers for your consideration Ten Books Every Pro-Life Advocate Should Read (And Own), including writing from abortion advocates. I agree with the blogger that understanding the “pro-choice” arguments makes one a better advocate for the life issues. I have read only one of these books, Aborting America, which is one of my Basics, so I cannot give any kind of recommendation for the rest of this reading list. Some of the titles are out of print but can be found online. So if you’re inclined, click on the link above to see how another blogger fills his bookshelf.