Update to recent post: In the final legislative session of 2017, the New Hampshire House and Senate accepted an amendment to SB 66 to correct a drafting error. The bill still has the 20-week provision that drew the ire this month of some pro-life activists.
Barring yet another unexpected detour, the next stop for the fetal homicide bill should be Governor Sununu’s desk. Given his expression of support for such legislation, signing this one ought to be easy. I’ll certainly encourage him to do so. His office phone number is 603-271-2121.
Women’s Health Protection Act: However that may be defined – whether informed consent, or making abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory care facilities, or letting a woman know in advance the name and qualifications of the person about to perform her abortion – no such legislation came forward in the 2017 New Hampshire legislative session.
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act: No legislation offered.
Late-Term Abortion Ban: Failed. A motion of “ought to pass with amendment” on HB 578 failed in the House on a 170-189 vote. The bill was then tabled on a voice vote. A few representatives indicated that they voted ITL because the bill didn’t go far enough. That was not the prevailing view.
Buffer Zone Repeal: Failed.HB 579 was voted “inexpedient to legislate” on a 191-165 House vote, the First Amendment notwithstanding. Note, however, that no abortion facility has yet posted a zone. No thanks to the legislature for that.
From candidate-now-Governor Sununu’s letter: “I know that my winning the race for Governor will be our best chance to get this important work done.”
By the way, there are Republican majorities in the New Hampshire House and Senate this year. Do not confuse “Republican” with “pro-life.”
The Governor’s term still has a year and a half to run. He may get something relevant on his desk next year from House and Senate. It remains to be seen if he’ll sit back and wait, or if he’ll work to build support for the measures he said he’d sign.
If the only information you want is for your own district’s reps and senators, go HERE to find your House representatives and HERE to find your state senator.
Governor-elect Chris Sununu already has a State House contact email (GovernorElect@nh.gov) and phone number (603-271-0200), which will be good until his inauguration on January 5.
Updated information for the Executive Council will be available later. Note that if you’re in Districts 1 (Joe Kenney), 4 (Chris Pappas), or 5 (Dave Wheeler), the information currently posted on the state web site will still be correct when the new term begins in January.
I’m not trying to beat the New Hampshire gubernatorial race to death; it just seems that way. I’ll stop after this post, at least until the election’s over. File this one away until the next time a contract with New Hampshire’s leading abortion provider comes up at the State House.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) has gone after Mr. Sununu for his statement that he would back a few commonsense policies including repeal of the buffer zone law. Yes, THAT buffer zone law, enacted but never used because every abortion provider in the state knows that the law in its present form would be doomed in court.
I’m sorry I haven’t the time on this pre-election Sunday to fisk the full statement. I’ll settle for pointing out its references to the First Amendment rights of New Hampshire women and men.
The PP statement says “Chris Sununu said he’d…allow harassment of women seeking health care” and would “turn a blind eye to intimidation of women seeking health care by rejecting the bipartisan enactment of New Hampshire’s Buffer Zone law.”
Equating the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights with “harassment of women” is as egregious as equating “health care” with public funding of PP. I don’t know whether or not the irony is lost on PP’s target here.
If Mr. Sununu is “turning a blind eye to intimidation”, then so are the police departments in every New Hampshire community with an abortion facility. During the hearings on passage of the buffer zone in 2014, not one police department representative could be found to testify about problems with abortion-facility demonstrations that couldn’t be addressed via existing law.
That was the fatal flaw in the Massachusetts buffer zone law thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley:Massachusetts failed to use existing laws to address demonstrators’ behavior before abrogating the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.
The safety of women entering or working in an abortion facility, like the safety of women demonstrating outside, cannot be protected or enhanced by nullifying the First Amendment on public property adjacent to abortion facilities. That’s what the buffer zone law seeks to do. The “bipartisan enactment” was bipartisan error.
No one has good reason to fear the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights. Rejecting New Hampshire’s yet-unenforced buffer zone law means rejecting that fear. Embracing the law means giving in to that fear.
Come to think of it, if opposition to buffer zones is tantamount to intimidating women, how come no PP facility in New Hampshire has posted a zone? PP worked for the law’s enactment, but has thus far declined to use it.
With less than a week to go before the election, PP’s statement is likely to get lost in the flood of overheated press releases coming from all sides. It’s worth remembering, though. PP is free to advocate for whatever it wants, including abrogation of constitutional rights. Governors and Executive Councilors are free to take that into consideration when the agency comes looking for its next contract.
PPNHAF has endorsed the Democratic candidates for Governor and Executive Council, all of whom we may therefore presume are committed to keeping the buffer zone law on the books.
I got an email yesterday that would have gone straight into the trash file if not for the name of the sender. The subject line: “Why conservatives should vote for Chris Sununu for Governor.” I’m a pro-life voter, not necessarily a conservative or a party’s member. Then I saw the name of the sender: Ovide Lamontagne.
I have the utmost respect for Ovide. He’s a New Hampshire neighbor and a longtime pro-life advocate. He’s also a high-profile Republican. He is not a fan of the recent ad by GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu. He had a conversation with Sununu about it, resulting in the correspondence below, which as you will see was meant to be made public.
Here are two messages which must be read together for full effect. Make of them what you will. They might not change your view of candidate Sununu – I remain unmoved – but I think enough of Ovide to share his message. I also think Sununu’s reply should be kept handy for future reference.
I’m trying hard not to editorialize here, but the following points drown out my best intentions.
Sununu’s reassurances are preceded by his claim that he has always opposed taxpayer funding of abortion. He apparently thinks funding abortion providers is something different. Again, make of that what you will.
The gubernatorial campaign of underdog Max Abramson goes unmentioned in this correspondence save for one oblique reference in Chris Sununu’s statement.
I’m a firm believer in defensive elections. I’ve voted for candidates just because they’re less awful than their opponents. It riles me, though, when a candidate hands my money to abortion providers and then basically tells me that he’s my only logical choice at the polls.
The GOP/Dem and conservative/liberal frame of reference does not resonate with this pro-life voter. I’ve spent too much time at the State House watching “conservatives” kill pro-life legislation and grant contracts to abortion providers.
But enough commentary. The following correspondence is unedited.
Email from Ovide Lamontagne, November 4, 2016
I hope this email finds you well.
Like many of you, I approach the next few days leading into the November 8th general election with great anticipation and energy. It is fair to say that our Primary process has led to the nomination of an interesting slate of federal and state candidates. I firmly believe that, on balance, the Republican ticket holds the best chance of advancing an agenda which more closely reflects our values and the best interests of New Hampshire and the Nation.
Regarding the campaign for Governor, I encourage New Hampshire conservatives to vote for Chris Sununu. Like many of my conservative friends, I was angry and disillusioned when Chris changed his position and voted to fund Planned Parenthood this past Summer. There is simply no justification in my mind for allowing one cent of taxpayer money to be contributed to an abortion provider, especially one as notorious and as sinister as Planned Parenthood.
Even though he knew how I felt about his vote and his stated position on Life, shortly after winning his Primary, Chris called me to discuss his views on a host of conservative issues and specifically asked me to help him understand what pro-life initiatives I thought he could support. As we discussed a number of these issues, he explained his opposition to late term and partial birth abortion; his support of conscience rights for health care workers; his view that the buffer zone law should be repealed; and his belief that abortion providers should be held to the same health and safety standards applicable to healthcare facilities such as ambulatory surgical centers and providers. While he supports a women’s ability to have an abortion during the earlier stages of pregnancy, he said he strongly disagrees with the extremist views of Colin Van Ostern who has the full-throated endorsement of Planned Parenthood’s New Hampshire Action Fund. Among other things, Van Ostern supports abortion through all 9 months of pregnancy for any reason; opposes common sense health and safety standards for abortion clinics; and given the chance, I believe he would support taxpayer funding of abortion, the official position of Planned Parenthood nationally (i.e., they want to repeal the Hyde Amendment).
I asked Chris to memorialize his support for some of the common sense measures we discussed since the Primary. Please find attached a copy of a letter he recently sent me setting forth the pro-life initiatives he would support as Governor. While I strongly disagree with Chris on his vote to fund Planned Parenthood and his pro-choice position, I do believe that if elected Chris will indeed advance a constitutional and common-sense pro-life agenda, something that hasn’t happened in NH from the Corner Office in years.
On other issues, Chris is where we need the next Governor to be: he supports Right to Work and designing a NH solution regarding expanding healthcare coverage, not a Washington-mandated “permanent” Medicaid expansion program; he opposes Common Core and the federal government’s overreach in elementary and secondary education; and he opposes the establishment of a job-killing state minimum wage and rejects the false promise of taxpayer-funded commuter rail. He’ll bring conservative leaders into his administration and I believe he will create an environment for robust economic development, reversing almost 20 years of liberal Governors presiding over economic stagnation in the Granite State.
When I consider what is at stake in this election — and despite my disagreements with Chris Sununu on some issues which are very important to me, and I know are important to you — I believe that conservatives and all NH citizens will still be much better served with Chris in the Corner Office than Colin Van Ostern. This is not even a close call.
Please let me know if you have any questions or observations about supporting Chris Sununu for Governor. I hope you will join me in voting for Chris so that together we can begin to set New Hampshire on the right track.
If you are inclined to do so, I would also ask you to forward this email and the attached letter to your email lists and/or to publish both through social media.
All the best,
From Chris Sununu, attached to Lamontagne email as a PDF on campaign letterhead, undated
Thank you for your support and assistance in trying to get New Hampshire back on the right track. I appreciate our recent conversations discussing my ad response to the Democrats’ multimillion dollar media campaign accusing me of being against Medicaid funding of cancer screenings for women and pre-natal care. Their ads are blatantly dishonest.
As you know, I have always opposed taxpayer funding of abortions. It is important for conservative voters to know that I too support many of the common sense platform initiatives that they want to see passed including:
1. Fetal Homicide Bill
2. Women’s Health Protection Act
3. Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act
4. Late Term Abortion Ban
5. NH Buffer Zone Repeal
I know that my winning the race for Governor will be our best chance to get this important work done.
It is important to remind people that there are only two real choices in this race. By voting for me the voters can undo the liberal left-wing agenda that Democrats have imposed on New Hampshire over the past twenty years. Thank you again for your advice, your guidance and your support.
I wonder if New Hampshire Republicans take exception to this: “Chris Sununu took on own party for women’s health.” That statement is featured in a television ad now running, a week before the election.
Nasty implication there, bordering on a smear of Republicans, if Sununu’s statement is taken at face value.
But let’s be serious. Sununu’s talking about his Executive Council votes to give contracts to Planned Parenthood. That one vote he cast against a contract in 2015 appears more and more like an aberration, wiped from the slate by his do-over last June.
Candidate Sununu now abuses the term “women’s health” the same way his opposite number in the Democratic party does: equating taxpayer money to PP with “women’s health.”
I was at the Executive Council meetings where the last two PP contracts were considered. Neither of the Councilors now running for governor queried the commissioner of health and human services about doing business with a vendor that publicly threatened women with loss of health care if a contract were denied while at the same time spending well over a million bucks on “public policy”, fundraising, and marketing.
Now, both candidates for governor are touting their “women’s health” credentials, debasing the term by using it as code for taxpayer funding of abortion providers. One candidate has now implied that his own party is an obstacle to women’s health – at least that’s how the ad sounds to this independent voter. The other party’s candidate ought to be drafting a thank-you note to Sununu right about now.
It’s not my business how a party’s candidate characterizes his or her own party, since I am what is known in the Granite State as “undeclared.” This ad is a curious thing, though. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s received by voters and by Sununu’s fellow GOP candidates.