Assorted NH notes for a busy week

New Hampshire’s a lively place these days. A recent court decision that was good for educational choice might have an unexpected bearing on pro-life activists. There’s an election next week, in case the glut of political ads in your mailbox isn’t enough of a clue. Events are crowding the calendar. Here’s the smorgasbord; help yourself.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court just did what?

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New Hampshire Supreme Court building. Ellen Kolb photo.

After I was finished doing the happy dance over the state Supreme Court’s recent decision on the education tax credit (Duncan v. State of NH), I heard from various sources that the denial of standing to the plaintiffs (leading to dismissal of the case) might not augur well for plaintiffs in other cases who can’t prove direct harm from a challenged law. Does this mean that the plaintiffs in Reddy v. Foster, the buffer zone suit, might lack standing since the law hasn’t actually been used against them yet? That’s what at least one defendant has already asserted in an affidavit, and Duncan might have a bearing on the point. It’ll be interesting to see if this comes up at the status hearing on Reddy later this month.

One possible scenario: the anti-free-speech “buffer zone” law stays on the books, unenforced. Perhaps no one will be granted standing to sue until the law IS enforced. In that situation, abortion advocates could crow about a hollow legislative victory while pro-life witness continues unabated. That’s strictly speculation, but it’s an interesting possibility. See you in court.

What blog visitors are reading

Jim Lawrence (photo from lawrenceforcongress.com)
Jim Lawrence (photo from lawrenceforcongress.com)

For what it’s worth, the two most-clicked-on Leaven for the Loaf posts in the past few days have been on Second Congressional District candidate Jim Lawrence and U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens. People seem to be checking out the underdogs this week. Leaven’s interview with Bob Smith is getting attention as well.

Not one, not two, but three CD2 candidates with some pro-life credentials

Rep. Marilinda Garcia (photo from marilindagarcia.com)
Rep. Marilinda Garcia (photo from marilindagarcia.com)

The Republican primary in the Second Congressional District (CD2) is becoming heated. I’ll leave commentary on that to other observers. What’s unusual is that Marilinda Garcia, Gary Lambert and Jim Lawrence all have voting records at the state level that give abortion advocacy groups fits. Lambert had only a single two-year term, so his record is thin. Nevertheless, all three can claim to have supported some pro-life legislation while in Concord.

CD2 voters can ask Gary Lambert about a 2010 survey in which he said “I am personally pro-life but I do not believe the government should dictate what a woman can or cannot do on this issue.” I hasten to add that once elected in 2010, Lambert supported a fetal homicide bill and a ban on partial-birth abortions (as did Garcia in the same term), and he opposed a motion to kill an informed consent bill. 

Gary Lambert (photo from nh.gov)
Gary Lambert (photo from nh.gov)

Lambert’s personally-opposed-but statement can still be squared with those votes, since none of the bills would have prevented a woman from obtaining an abortion. In fact, the fetal homicide bill did not address abortion at all. Abortion advocacy groups fought all those bills anyway. Go figure.

Events

The Pray for Life Center in Manchester is hosting a baby shower this Sunday, September 7. More information here.

40 Days for Life begins September 24 in Manchester (outside PP on Pennacook Street) and Greenland (outside the Lovering Center). Register at 40daysforlife.com for access to the vigil calendars where you can sign up for an hour (or lots of hours) of prayerful, peaceful pro-life witness. Opening rallies: September 21 in Greenland, September 22 in Manchester.

New Hampshire Right to Life’s annual banquet has featured some great speakers (as with Kristan Hawkins in 2013), and this year’s event promises more of the same. Julia Holcomb is the headliner at NHRTL’s banquet on Thursday, October 2 at the Executive Court banquet facility on Mammoth Road at the Manchester-Londonderry town line. Reservations are now being accepted.

“Living Life to the Fullest” is the title of an all-day event at St. Patrick church in Newport NH on Saturday, November 8. Four sessions will address aging, bioethics, end-of-life care and advance directives.

The primary election is next Tuesday, September 9. The general election is November 4. If you think you’re too busy to vote, ponder this: every single seat in the New Hampshire legislature is up for grabs. That’s enough to get me going to the polls.

Next Leaven for the Loaf newsletter coming soon

The next email newsletter for blog subscribers is scheduled to go out Monday, September 8, featuring information on contested state rep primary races where pro-life incumbents face challengers. Don’t miss it. Subscribe by clicking the “newsletter” button on the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page or subscribe to the blog directly.

Do you have a life-issues event coming up? Please add Leaven for the Loaf to your contact list: ellen@leavenfortheloaf.com

Parting shot

An observation from Cathy Kelley, as published in the Pray for Life Center weekly update for August 28:

After bringing a woman in for an abortion a man was told to leave the premises. Seems PP [in Manchester] was not happy he had a gun in his holster. The woman was picked up later by a man carrying a knife. The employees say they are intimidated by people holding rosary beads and brochures. REALLY???”

 

Pro-life candidates plan rally in Concord August 17

[8/14: This post has been revised to reflect a change in the lineup of speakers.]

No endorsements here – remember, I’m not a PAC, and I have a day job that calls for primary neutrality – but I have no problem drawing your attention to an event this Sunday, August 17.  A pro-life rally in Concord planned by a candidate, no less. Other candidates will be on hand as well, reaching out to pro-life voters. Huzzah, says I!

Come to the State House plaza Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. for this pro-life gathering sponsored by Women for Bob Smith. Should be a nice ice-free change from the usual January rally before the March for Life. Sunday’s speakers, as announced so far, include former-and-maybe-future Senator Bob Smith, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway, Darlene Pawlik of New Hampshire Right to Life, and activist Karen Testerman. On board with one of these candidates? They’d love to see you there. Still working out who to vote for in the primary, which comes a little over three weeks from the rally? Come hear what they have to say.

Speaking of Karen Testerman, I ran into her at a local coffee shop yesterday. She radiated the energy that always animates her when there’s a campaign going on. She bowed out of the primary and pledged her support to Bob Smith. She meant business. She’s looking forward to Sunday’s rally. Her parting words to me regarding the Smith campaign: “If we get fifty percent of the registered voters who are Catholic and Evangelical, we win.” Ah, but that’s the catch: will the pro-life voters, regardless of faith affiliation or lack thereof, come out in an off-year primary?

Smart candidates care about that. I look forward to hearing from some of them Sunday.

 

NH GOP CD2 candidates Garcia & Lambert have a voting record on the life issues

New Hampshire’s Second District Congresswoman, Democrat Ann Kuster, has a battle ahead of her next year. There will be at least two Republicans competing to get past the GOP primary and onto the November ballot.

Col. Gary Lambert (photo from Google public profile)
Col. Gary Lambert (photo from Google public profile)
Rep. Marilinda Garcia (photo from marilindagarcia.com)
Rep. Marilinda Garcia (photo from marilindagarcia.com)

Gary Lambert served as state senator from Nashua for one term. His campaign web site highlights his experience as a Marine Corps veteran, but I still think of him as Senator Lambert. Marilinda Garcia is serving her fourth term as a state representative from Salem and is now seeking the CD2 seat. Both candidates’ web sites emphasize economic issues.

So where are they on the right to life? Their Concord records look good, based on votes in 2012. Lambert was on the short end of some Senate votes to shunt aside good bills, indicating his willingness to keep conversations going even when there was no straight-up-or-down vote at stake.

HB 217, fetal homicide (I wrote an overview of the bill here): Lambert and Garcia supported the bill. When Governor John Lynch vetoed it, Garcia voted to override the veto. The House override vote fell just short of the necessary two-thirds.

HB 228, prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion services: Garcia voted yes. When the bill got to the Senate, it was tabled, with Lambert opposing the tabling motion.

HB 1659, Women’s Right to Know (informed consent for abortion): Garcia was absent from the final House vote on the bill, but she earlier opposed a motion to kill it. The Senate killed the bill, with Lambert voting against the Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) motion.

HB 1660, to limit post-20-week abortions: Garcia voted yes. In the Senate, where the bill was sent to interim study and never heard from again, Lambert opposed the interim study motion.

HB 1679, a ban on partial-birth abortion, which passed and is now on the books: Garcia and Lambert supported the bill, and they both voted to override Gov. Lynch’s veto. This one did not affect the legality of abortion overall; it just ruled out the killing of a partially-emerged child as an abortion method. Remember that when abortion advocates start calling Garcia or Lambert “anti-choice.”

HB 1680, abortion statistics: here’s a weird one. Rep. Garcia was the chief sponsor of a bill calling for the collection of abortion statistics. It passed, but it did nothing to bring stats reporting to New Hampshire. It was amended into nothingness.The final bill called on the Health and Human Services committee to set up a subcommittee to advise the General Court (House & Senate) “on the collection of data regarding induced termination of pregnancy statistics.” There was never any follow-up. This paper “win” was therefore not substantive. For what it’s worth, the gutted bill passed both Houses without a recorded roll call (division vote in House, voice vote in Senate).

HCR 31, commending pregnancy care centers that provide life-affirming options without doing abortions: Garcia voted for the resolution in the House, where it passed by a single vote. The Senate passed it on a voice vote.

HCR 41, urging Congress to find the U.S. grant to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England null and void: this was a way for legislators to express their annoyance at the federal government for helping PPNNE get around the state’s decision to reject its Title X contract in 2011. Garcia voted yes, Lambert voted no, and the resolution failed.

I can attest to the calm and respectful manner in which both candidates conducted themselves at the State House during hearings and discussions on these bills. They have the temperament of bridge-builders. It remains to be seen how that holds up during what is sure to be a lively campaign.