A timely throwback video: “Bureau of Womanhood Conformity”

The team at the Susan B. Anthony List reminded me today of a canny little video they made a few years back, when the outgoing president and his appointees imposed the HHS mandate.  The video hits a nerve anew, in this week of the rescission of an invitation to pro-lifers by organizers of a so-called “Women’s March.” This week, it’s not a president speaking – but the Bureau of Womanhood Conformity sounds like it’s still in business.


The First Amendment is soooo intimidating

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.

PPNHAF statement here

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.


Signups begin for N.H. bus to national March for Life

I’m pleased to pass on this message about buses from New Hampshire to the national March for Life in Washington next January 26-27, arranged by members of the Catholic Diocese of Manchester. Reservations are being accepted until November 1. A 50% deposit will be due at that time with the balance due December 15.

If your church or other group is planning to charter a bus, let me know and I’ll be glad to spread the word.

This message is from Patrick Kiefer of Laconia, and his contact information is at the end.

March for Life: We need you to go to Washington, DC for the March for Life and Pilgrimage of Faith.

Why do we go to the March for Life and Pilgrimage of Faith?

In 1974 Nellie Gray organized the first March for Life to remember the infamous US Supreme Court decision on January 22, 1973 that declared children in the womb are not persons – with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.   

Hundreds of NH residents travel together by chartered coaches on Thursday morning, January 26, 2017 returning after the events of the day on Friday January 27, 2017 arriving back in NH very early Saturday morning.

What is included in the cost of the trip?

  • Round trip bus transportation/Group T-Shirt
  • One night hotel stay at Best Western(Lanham)/Best Western Plus (Largo),  MD
  • Bag Lunch on Ride Down/Continental Breakfast
  • Round Trip Metro Ticket

What will we do in Washington, DC?

  • Option of Mass at Basilica or group Mass at Hotel
  • Mass with Bishop Libasci at Local Church/or Youth Rally Mass for those with tickets
  • Noon Rally on the National Mall (in between Smithsonian Museums)
  • Peaceful March to the Supreme Court Building concludes with prayers and hymns
  • Opportunity to meet and lobby with NH Members of Congress

How much will it cost for room and transportation?

  • Bus Only – $97
  • Double Occupancy – $169
  • Triple Occupancy – $150
  • Quad Occupancy – $141

Make checks payable to: St. Andre Bessette Respect for Life

Who can participate?

  • All ages are welcome to participate
  • There must be at least one adult  who has completed all diocesan safe environment requirements for every three minors
  • Chaperones must complete all diocesan safe environment requirements on or before December 21, 2016

…Reservations forms should be forwarded to Patrick Kiefer, 19 Folsom St, Laconia, NH 03246 or kiefer@metrocast.net.  Registrations should be received by November 1, 2016 along with a 50% deposit.   Final Payments should be in by December 15, 2016.

Group Registration Form

Download (PDF, 250KB)

Individual Registration Form

Download (PDF, 129KB)

Featured photo for this post: screenshot by Ellen Kolb of EWTN coverage of 2015 March for Life.

Weekend Reading: know your rights; Zika; women betraying women

Gerard Nadal, M.D.: A doctor takes on the betrayal by the Supreme Court’s women – of other women (gerardnadal.com)

“As chemical abortions take deeper root, and as hospitals increasingly absorb the lucrative business from the closing of local clinics, the issue of the Texas law will shrink in importance; but the abandonment of women by all three women on the highest court in the land will live and grow in infamy. It will be seen by future generations for what it truly is.” Read the rest of the post.

Jonathan S. Tobin: Planned Parenthood undoes a Zika bill (commentarymagazine.com)

“Funding for Zika was defeated in the Senate on…when Democrats voted it down. Like all Congressional spending bills, this one contained a variety of provisions that came out of the dickering between the two bodies. Among the ‘poison pills’ that offended Democratic sensibilities was a provision that excluded Planned Parenthood from the funding…

“Yet the reason this bill failed can be boiled down to one memo and the memories of the government shutdown crisis of 2013. Faced with the choice of either offending Planned Parenthood or failing to pass a bill that provided the Zika money they had been demanding be allocated for months, the Democrats chose the latter. Moreover, they did so because they were also sure that no matter how partisan and divisive their own behavior, Democrats have come to believe that the media will blame Republicans for any Congressional standoff.” Read the rest of the post.

40 Days for Life podcast: what are your rights on the sidewalk?

From the 40 Days for Life headquarters’ podcast library comes reassuring information about the rights of peaceful witnesses outside abortion facilities. Here’s the link; the relevant information begins around the 8:45 mark.

Buffer zone repeal battle coming to N.H. House after 11-9 committee vote

Opponents of New Hampshire’s court-enjoined buffer zone law eked out a narrow victory when the House Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 this week to recommend repeal. The repeal bill, HB 1570, now goes to the full House for action on March 8 or 9, with a floor fight all but certain.

buffer zone repeal

According to Rep. Kurt Wuelper (R-Strafford), writing in support of the Judiciary Committee majority’s Ought to Pass (OTP) recommendation, “The majority believes the current law is an unconstitutional restriction on the people’s right to freedom of speech and access to public property. Keeping the law commits the state to years of legal expense defending a law that purports to resolve a problem never substantiated by any documented offense.”

Shortly after the buffer zone law was signed by Governor Maggie Hassan in 2014, it was challenged by seven New Hampshire pro-life activists in the case Reddy v. Foster. A federal court judge issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the law. The case is still open.

Rep. David Woodbury (D-New Boston) of the Judiciary Committee wrote for the minority, urging that the bill be found inexpedient to legislate. “The statute is dissimilar to a Massachusetts statute found unconstitutional in 2014 because the buffer zone is smaller and subject to modification as conditions require. The statute strikes a fair balance between the interests of these lawfully using the sidewalks and access ways and those wishing to express their opposition to the abortion procedure. The statute is on hold until the federal court rules and should not be repealed, if at all, until the court rules.”

The Massachusetts statute was struck down by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court (McCullen v. Coakley) not because of the size of the Massachusetts “buffer,” but because the statute violated the First Amendment without less-restrictive means having first been used to address alleged problems caused by peaceful pro-life presence outside abortion facilities. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in McCullen, 

“Respondents assert undeniably significant interests in maintaining public safety on those same streets and sidewalks, as well as in preserving access to adjacent healthcare facilities. But here the Commonwealth has pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a tradi­tional public forum to all speakers. It has done so without seriously addressing the problem through alternatives that leave the forum open for its time-honored purposes. The Commonwealth may not do that consistent with the First Amendment.”

The New Hampshire law does differ from the struck-down Massachusetts law in an important respect, not noted by Rep. Woodbury: the New Hampshire measure delegates to abortion providers the authority to determine a buffer zone’s size, placement, and enforcement hours.

Find contact information for your representatives here.