Looking to 2020: State Legislation

More than a thousand bills have piled up, awaiting hearings in the 2020 session of the New Hampshire General Court – or legislature, to use a less exalted term. Another bill to be voted on is a holdover from this year, which deserves your notice.

Anti-Trafficking Bill To Be Voted On In January

The retained bill is HB 201, which will get a House vote in early January. It seeks to increase the allowable penalty for adults buying sex from minors. It should not have been held over – “retained” is the technical term. Passage last spring would have been the right outcome. Survivors of juvenile sex trafficking supported the bill with compelling testimony. One of them will be a familiar name to longtime readers: Darlene Pawlik, who was an absolute showstopper who called out nonsense when she heard it.

I’ll make a long, infuriating story short, with a note that an organization called Decriminalize Sex Work has hired New Hampshire lobbyists to advance its agenda: HB 201 was retained by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. After consideration this past fall, the committee voted to recommend Ought to Pass on the bill. The full House is likely to vote on that recommendation on January 8 or 9. Good excuse for contacting your state reps, in my humble opinion: YES on the OTP motion for retained bill HB 201.

Thumbs up to chief sponsor Rep. Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton) and her co-sponsors, and to Rep. Nancy Murphy (D-Merrimack) who wrote the committee OTP recommendation for her colleagues.

No Hearings Yet

For all the bills described below, there are no hearings scheduled yet. Watch this blog and its related Facebook page for updates as the House and Senate calendars are published. As it happens, all these bills will start in the House Judiciary Committee, even if their subject matter might seem to fit better elsewhere. Such decisions are made by finer minds than mine.

Enshrining Abortion Into N.H. Constitution

Watch out for CACR 14. This is a proposed constitutional amendment, which in order to pass will have to get a three-fifths vote in the House, three-fifths in the Senate, and then two-thirds from voters in next November’s general election. The governor has no substantive say in the process. Here we go:

“The right to make personal reproductive medical decisions is inviolate and fundamental to the human condition. Neither the State nor any political subdivision shall infringe upon or unduly inconvenience this right.”

It doesn’t say “abortion.” It doesn’t have to, in order to place abortion squarely into the New Hampshire constitution as a protected right – a right “inviolate and fundamental.”

You’ll forgive me if I shout at you about this one. Silence implies consent to the amendment’s corollary: that there is no inherent “right” to life, only a privilege to be conferred by others. Now that’s discrimination.

Sponsors: Reps. Timothy Smith (D-Manchester), Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham), Catherine Sofikitis (D-Nashua), Sherry Frost (D-Dover), Heidi Hamer (D-Manchester), Chuck Grassie (D-Rochester), Arthur Ellison (D-Concord).

Born-Alive Infants Protection

HB 1675 (chief sponsor Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, R-Derry) seeks to assure medically appropriate care and treatment for any infant born alive following an attempted abortion.

The bill would be a step toward making New Hampshire a bit less Gosnell-friendly. I look forward to reporting on who supports it and who opposes it at the hearing.

Assisted Suicide

After two years of trying to “study” assisted suicide via end-of-life related bills, advocates of assisted suicide have come out with a straightforward bill. HB 1659-FN has nine co-sponsors, led by Rep. Catt Sandler (D-Somersworth). The analysis in the heading of the bill says it “allows a mentally competent person who is 18 years of age or older and who has been diagnosed as having a terminal disease by the patient’s attending physician and a consulting physician to request a prescription for medication which will enable the patient to control the time, place, and manner of such patient’s death.”

You might wonder “what’s with the FN in the bill number?” FN means “fiscal note,” and it’s attached to any bill that is expected to cost money. Such bills go to the Finance Committee for a closer look (and a second full-chamber vote) if they pass the full House or Senate after the first committee is done with it.

While we’re on the subject: the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, whose USA affiliate is headed by former New Hampshire legislator Nancy Elliott, is a good source of information. I’ll cite others as HB 1659 makes its way through the legislative process.

Prenatal Non-Discrimination

The co-sponsors of HB 1678-FN think that Down syndrome, genetic abnormalities, and being an undesired sex shouldn’t call for a death sentence. The bill would prohibit abortions performed solely for one or more of those reasons. Chief sponsor is Rep. Abigail Rooney (R-Milton).

The bill calls for a limited penalty for violations by the abortion provider: liability for damages, and revocation or suspension of medical license if the provider has one. This is not a let’s-jail-abortionists bill. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone tries to say otherwise. Further, no penalty would attach to the mother of the child, and her anonymity in any ensuing civil action would be protected.

Heartbeat Bill

Into this Gosnell-friendly state comes HB 1475-FN, sponsored by Rep. Dave Testerman (R-Franklin) and Rep. Walt Stapleton (R-Claremont). It would prohibit abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat.

Parental Notification

HB 1640-FN (chief sponsor Rep. Werner Horn, R-Franklin) would repeal the judicial-bypass provision of the New Hampshire law requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion.

If this bill should pass and be signed by Governor Sununu, it would pose a challenge to U.S. Supreme Court rulings on parental-involvement-in-abortion laws dating back to 1976. See the testimony of Americans United for Life on a Florida parental involvement law from March 2019.

So – ready to roll? I’ve already picked out my favorite parking space near the Legislative Office Building. It’s going to get a workout in 2020.

Massachusetts Considers Assisted Suicide Bill

Assisted suicide is up for discussion again at the Massachusetts State House – for the eighth time, according to the Boston Herald. The Joint Committee on Public Health held a public hearing on September 26 on a pair of bills “relative to end of life options” (H.1194 and S.1225).  I went to Boston to stand alongside Massachusetts residents giving public witness against state-sponsored medically-prescribed killing.

Outreach

I was happy to meet C.J. Williams, a Brighton resident who’s director of outreach and education with Rehumanize International. We had connected online some weeks ago regarding the life issues. She greeted me outside the State House and introduced me to other people who had come to fight the bills. She then spent an hour calmly engaged in sidewalk conversations with people inquiring about the legislation, before she headed into the State House for the hearing.

C.J. Williams of Rehumanize International. (Photos by Ellen Kolb.)

Full House

The hearing room was full, with strong feelings and beliefs evident on all sides. Sponsors and supporters of the bills talked about safeguards, autonomy, choice, and “gentle passing.” That last term was offered by Dan Diaz, widower of Brittany Maynard, now an activist with Compassion and Choices. C&C is the current avatar of what was once the Hemlock Society.

Consequences

The hearing was scheduled to last all afternoon, and I was only able to stay for the first hour. One of the people I heard was Kristine Correira, a physician’s assistant, who warned of the threat posed to Catholic hospitals by the proposed law. She testified that the bills would require health care providers unwilling to participate in assisted suicide to refer patients to other providers – and to pay for the transfer – in violation of the conscience rights of providers opposing medically-prescribed killing. “Is it your intention to close down all the Catholic hospitals?” A fair question, and one which remained unanswered at the time I left.

The Boston Herald’s account of the hearing mentioned testimony from Timothy Shriver, son of the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics. “Beware the law of unintended consequences,” he said. People with disabilities are “vulnerable to the calculations of human values.”

The Hampshire Gazette’s coverage of the hearing included a warning from Jacqueline Rivers, executive director of the Seymour Institute on Black Church and Policy Studies, about the legislation’s potential effect on people living in poverty. “Poor black and brown people will be affected by the subtleties of societal pressure.”

The Gazette report continued, “[Rivers] said those communities are often underserved already when it comes to palliative and hospice care and the availability of physician-assisted end-of-life options might put pressure on poor families to make a choice not to spend money on treatment and care if this bill were passed.”

By any other name…

Posted in the State House hallway: bills are described as “aid-in-dying.”

On the way to the hearing room, I saw a notice affixed to a wall, pointing the way to the “Aid in Dying” hearing. The bills themselves are titled “End of Life.” One news outlet headlined its coverage with “…bill to allow terminally ill to end their lives peacefully,” while another went with “right to die.” I find “assisted suicide” a more apt term. There was no shortage of names for what was on the table.

At last count, six states and the District of Columbia have legalized assisted suicide.


 

Top ten posts, 2016: part 2

Leaven for the Loaf readers shared certain posts far and wide, making these five posts the most popular of 2016. (See yesterday’s post for numbers 6 through 10.)

#5: “Trojan Horse”: a veteran pro-lifer warns about an end-of-life study committee

Nancy Elliott (photo by Ellen Kolb)

When an end-of-life study committee bill (SB 426) was proposed in the New Hampshire Senate earlier this year, I asked former New Hampshire state rep and current Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA leader Nancy Elliott about the legislation. What’s wrong with a “study”?

Photo by Jeanine Notter

Elliott noted that the bill as introduced “talks about end of life choices, but singles out ‘Aid in Dying’ – a  euphemism for assisted suicide and euthanasia.  It is apparent that the ‘choice’ that this bill wants to promote is suicide.  By rolling this into a commission stacked with pro-euthanasia people, this idea can be foisted on the citizens of New Hampshire.  It gives a platform for pro-assisted suicide/euthanasia advocates to have a platform to push this with.”

#4: Aftermath: roll calls of selected New Hampshire House votes

Last March, I compiled voting records for eleven life-issue bills considered by the New Hampshire House this year, offered a few observations, and gave a thumbs-up to the reps who were consistently pro-life.

#3: Book Review: “The Walls Are Talking”

The Walls are Talking (Ignatius Press, 2016)

Abby Johnson and the team at And Then There Were None have helped more than 300 abortion workers who have chosen to leave the abortion industry and seek other employment. Johnson and her co-author Kristin Detrow share the stories of some of those workers in The Walls Are Talking. 

“Abby Johnson gives fair warning in the preface to her new book: ‘This will not be an enjoyable read. It is a necessary one, however…’ She’s right on both counts. The Walls Are Talking gives former abortion workers a voice, and what they have to say is unsettling. ‘Settled’ is not how Johnson wants to leave anyone.”

#2: State Senate candidate Bill Gannon has notable 2016 voting record

Sen. (former Rep.) William Gannon (photo from NH House web site)

Yes, Rep. Gannon had a notable pro-life voting record – and now, thanks to the voters of state senate district 23, he has just been sworn in as Senator Gannon. Congratulations and best wishes to him.

#1: On the Democratic ballot for president, Henry Hewes offers a pro-life option

Henry Hewes (photo from electhenryhewes2016.com)

By the modest standards of this New Hampshire-based blog, the popularity of this post was truly remarkable. It was published in February and continued to draw readers throughout the national presidential primary season.

“A day before the New Hampshire primary, two major Democratic candidates are campaigning hard against each other. On one point, they’re united: absolute support for unregulated abortion. [Henry] Hewes does not buy it, and he’s willing to bring a pro-life message not only to voters in New Hampshire but to other states holding primaries. ‘The primary goal of my campaign is to raise a bunch of money to do pro-life education. My family is not preparing for a move to Washington, D.C.  [I want to] raise money to run pro-life ads that are not really designed or focused around getting people to vote for Henry Hewes, but around pro-life education, educating people to what’s going on and focusing their attention on the prolife issue.'”


 

Weekend reading, 6/17/16

Here are my favorite items from other blogs this week. Have a wonderful Father’s Day weekend!

Wesley Smith: Declaration Against Euthanasia; “I’ve signed. Have you?”

As California becomes the latest state to legalize assisted suicide, Wesley Smith urges defiance.

“The Physicians’ Alliance Against Euthanasia has an excellent declaration that doctors and lay persons can sign….This is in accord with my urging doctors to hang ‘This is an assisted suicide free zone,’ sign in their offices. The proper response to legalized euthanasia/assisted suicide is total non-cooperation. I’ve signed. Have you?”

Read the full post and the Declaration. 

Danny David: “Congresswoman condemns fetal tissue procurement; ‘this is online shopping for baby body parts'”

Danny David of Live Action News reports on the latest from Congress’s Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, convened to investigate evidence that abortion providers are trafficking in the remains of aborted children. He quotes Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler:

“The Select Panel’s investigation revealed that the Procurement Business technician performs every conceivable task in the harvesting process, immediately after an abortion. For this, the procurement business is charged a fee by the clinic—even though the clinics are not incurring any additional costs in the process. Thus, they are making money off of this horrific act.”

Read the full post. 

Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation has the meme of the week…

I haven’t read Ryan Bomberger’s new book, Not Equal: Civil Rights Gone Wrong, but with a promo like this, I’m sure inclined to go find it.

 

Weekend reading, 5/27/16: target the mosquito, not the baby

I end each week by offering you three of my favorite recent posts from other blogs. Have a wonderful weekend, and remember why we observe Memorial Day. 

Chuck Donovan: “The enemy remains the disease-ridden mosquito, not the vulnerable baby.” (lozierinstitute.org)

Chuck Donovan of the Lozier Institute introduces us to blogger Ana Carolina Caceres, born with microcephaly. Concerns about how the mosquito-borne Zika virus might cause microcephaly in children exposed to the virus in utero have led to some calls for abortion as a solution. Caceres and Donovan point in another direction: access to treatment for microcephaly. “Born with purportedly grim prospects, [Caceres] is today an accomplished woman, who plays the violin and writes compelling prose. The world needs more people like her, and more people like her mother and other family members, who stayed calm and chose life. Similar to the global response to the polio crisis, the medical community should continue its fight against the Zika virus by refining treatments, decreasing transmission pathways, and ultimately developing a vaccine against Zika.” Read the whole post.


Jay Hobbs: Illinois Bill Forcing Pro-Lifers to Refer for Abortion Sent to Governor’s Desk (pregnancyhelpnews.com)

Business at abortion facilities is apparently so bad that abortion promoters want to co-opt pro-life pregnancy care centers into advertising for them. California has already gone this route (and is now in court over it). Illinois is on the same path.  “While pregnancy help organizations counsel clients and patients on such facts as the baby’s development, and the physical and psychological dangers of abortion, the proposed legislation’s inclusion of a requirement to counsel on the ‘benefits’ of abortion has also raised concern among pro-life opponents to the bill. Although the bill requires pro-life healthcare providers and organizations to participate in abortion, it does not include stipulations that healthcare professionals, institutions, or organizations counsel patients on alternatives to abortion such as parenting or placing for adoption. Similar government-sponsored speech for pregnancy centers has been struck down as unconstitutional in Austin (TX), Baltimore and Montgomery County (MD) and New York City.” Read the whole post. 


Alex Schadenberg: soon-to-be-released film carries better-dead-than-disabled message; “disability death porn”

“The movie Me Before You will be released in theatres across North America on June 3. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition is urging its supporters to boycott Me Before You to not give any money to the production of movies that perpetuate the ideology that death is better than living with a disability. This is not a campaign to obstruct free speech, this is a campaign to oppose the ‘disability death porn’ that this movie promotes.” Read the whole post.


Advertisement

For Greater Glory