“Last sign of hope, first sign of mercy”

More than sixty people gathered in Manchester on Monday for an evening of prayer, pizza, and preparation in advance of Wednesday’s 40 Days for Life launch. A similar rally was held the previous day in Greenland. In Manchester, Save the 1’s Darlene Pawlik and attorney Michael Tierney were the featured speakers at the event emceed by 40DFL coordinator Jen Robidoux.

Jen Robidoux (blue shirt) welcomes Darlene Pawlik to the 40DFL kickoff rally
Jen Robidoux (blue shirt) welcomes Darlene Pawlik to the 40DFL kickoff rally (E. Kolb photo)

Quoting 40DFL leaders David Bereit and Shawn Carney, Jen said, “We are the last sign of hope for the mother and baby when they arrive, but also the first sign of mercy to the women as they leave.” She and her leadership team have ambitious goals, and they urge everyone volunteering for 40DFL to invite others to join in. “Invite people from your church – remember, 40 Days for Life is nondenominational. Invite people to events like the midpoint rally. Let’s fill those vigil hours [7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week]. It’s time to blow the trumpets of victory. Tonight is the beginning of the end of abortion in Manchester.”

Jen reminded everyone that accepting 40DFL’s Statement of Peace is a requirement for participation in the campaign. Common sense dictates that people praying on the sidewalk outside abortion facilities keep a cell phone or camera handy to record any incidents, and “pray with at least one other person.” (As someone who’s on the calendar for some 7 a.m. shifts, I know I can expect some solo time. Still, her guidelines make sense.)

Darlene Pawlik (E. Kolb photo)
Darlene Pawlik (E. Kolb photo)

Darlene is fresh from an appearance on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, where she joined other Save the 1 representatives to talk about why she’s pro-life in all circumstances, especially “hard cases” like rape – because she herself is a child of rape and a survivor of sexual trafficking. She’s a New Hampshire activist with a heart for women and girls in crisis, particularly those who are being sexually abused. “The girls are hard” when they approach abortion facilities, she warned. From her own experience, she knows that some of the teens at abortion facilities are brought there by their abusers. “The mindset is ‘this is what I have to do; I can’t tell my parents.’ Your message needs to be ‘there are places you can go besides here.'”  To sidewalk counselors, she says “You’re the heroes here.”

Michael Tierney (E. Kolb photo)
Michael Tierney (E. Kolb photo)

Michael began with a brisk reminder: “This is not a picket or a protest, and it IS legal.” His listeners were eager for an update on the buffer zone lawsuit, Reddy v. Foster. “The buffer zone law is all about squelching pro-life speech. Why? Because the pro-life message, especially prayer, is effective.” In a status report filed in federal court last Friday, all parties to the suit agreed that there had been no “factual changes” since a temporary restraining order was issued in July to block enforcement of New Hampshire’s buffer zone law. The restraining order thus remains in place. He asked participants to contact him or Jen Robidoux if any signs go up outside facilities, delineating a zone – “we need to report that to the Court.”

Why did New Hampshire go ahead with a law targeting free speech, right after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law from Massachusetts? After all, the Supreme Court decision prompted the cities of Burlington, VT and Portland, ME to repeal abortion facility “buffer” laws. MIchael said that New Hampshire is attempting to show that its law is different, because the state itself isn’t squelching speech, but merely giving abortion providers the option of doing so. A novel approach, to be sure. It’s possible that the law might be repealed by legislators next January. Michael warned that it’s an open question whether it would be a straight repeal or a repeal followed by replacement with something worse.

 

Speaking of the Planned Parenthood facility in Manchester, where 40DFL has had several campaigns, Michael said PP knows it can’t defend the law. “So, they’re trying to figure out what they can get from people outside to show that we need a buffer zone. Be on your best behavior not because there are video cameras, but because of point #3 [in the 40DFL statement of peace]: ‘I will show compassion and reflect Christ’s love to all abortion facility employees, volunteers and customers.’ It’s as simple as that. Think about how best you can show Christ’s love, and you’ll be fine. Just because a person goes into a clinic, it doesn’t mean you’re not having a positive effect.”

Photos from the Greenland kickoff rally (photos by Jen Robidoux)

Greenland, NH 40DFL volunteers
Greenland, NH 40DFL volunteers

 

On the sidewalk, Greenland NH
On the sidewalk, Greenland NH
Past the picket fence at the Lovering Center abortion facility, Greenland NH
Past the picket fence at the Lovering Center abortion facility, Greenland NH

 

 

 

 

Invitation to Manchester’s Fall ’14 40DFL kickoff

The next 40 Days for Life campaign is three weeks away. I’m pleased to pass along this announcement from Manchester’s 40DFL coordinator, Jennifer Robidoux. Note that this gathering is two days before the campaign formally begins. For those of you on the Seacoast, there will be a 40DFL campaign in Greenland – but If you want to join the pre-campaign festivities in Manchester, c’mon over. Pre-registration is requested. 

What: 40 Days for Life kickoff rally

When: Monday, September 22, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Where: Ste. Marie Church, Montminy Hall, 378 Notre Dame Avenue, Manchester NH

Speakers: Attorney Michael Tierney on the buffer zone lawsuit, and Darlene Pawlik of Save the 1

Etc.:  There is no admission charge. Pizza and drinks will be provided. Please bring a dessert to share.  There will be 5:30 PM daily Mass upstairs for our Catholic friends before the rally.

Please register for this free event at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/40-days-for-life-kickoff-rally-tickets-12763270285

Pro-life doctors, ADF call on NH to investigate PPNNE’s use of chemical abortion drugs

Does Planned Parenthood of Northern New England prescribe chemical-abortion drugs in a manner inconsistent with Food and Drug Administration protocol?

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists thinks an investigation is in order. Joined by the Alliance Defense Fund, AAPLOG sent a letter on September 4 to the New Hampshire Board of Medicine and the New Hampshire Board of Nursing. ADF issued a press release summarizing the letter and the reasons behind it.

If I may be flippant for a moment, here’s my paraphrase of the AAPLOG/ADF letter to the Boards, which I have read (all 20 pages): abortion’s legal, and we all know it. Even so, would PP mind terminating pregnancies in a way that damages women as little as possible? It looks terribly like money is trumping health here.

End of paraphrase. You can read the letter in full here.

Who kicked up this fuss, anyway? Michael Tierney, New Hampshire attorney and former Executive Council candidate. He knows that the FDA protocol for the use of chemical abortion is to use it no later in pregnancy than 49 days after a woman’s last menstrual period. He also knows that the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England web site indicates that women shouldn’t use this method after more than 63 days. (I accessed the web page today, 9/6/13, to confirm that PP is still using that language.) Tierney brought this to the attention of the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy. He then called on AAPLOG and ADF (with which he is an allied attorney) to contact the boards of medicine and nursing to urge an investigation.

Tierney’s concern: “Planned Parenthood’s main concern should be the health and safety of women, not its bottom line.”

Health before profits: what a concept. Unfortunately, with the wall of secrecy around the abortion industry – a wall that too many New Hampshire legislators and the current governor fight to preserve – no one in this state has any proof that women are safe when they go for an abortion. Of course, that means that no one has objective data in this state to prove that women are harmed in this state, either. That’s the way New Hampshire abortion providers like it. I’ve heard their testimony in Concord year after year. Morbidity and mortality following a “medical” procedure is a public health issue, unless that “medical” procedure is abortion. I use quotation marks because a small part of me still wants to think of medicine as a healing art, despite all current evidence that it has been reduced to a technical skill. Abortion has nothing to do with healing.

“Gynotician” is the latest epithet PP has coined to throw at lawmakers who dare to demand that abortionists be forced to account for women’s health. Imagine the nerve of some people, wanting objective information about how abortions are done and what happens to a woman’s health after abortion. PP knows that New Hampshire will never pass a stats collection law while there are legislators who dislike being called names. The abortion industry is not self-policing. Ask Kermit Gosnell.

Thank God that there are people in New Hampshire like Michael Tierney willing to force the question. Doctors at AAPLOG are willing to speak out about how medicine is practiced by abortion providers (an increasing number of whom are not M.D.s). Does PP have a catchy name for boards of pharmacy, medicine, and nursing that choose to investigate how PP prescribes drugs? We might find out yet.

A bit about the American of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists: AAPLOG is a recognized professional interest group within the larger American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It was founded a few decades ago by a gynecologist who was alarmed by ACOG’s willingness to espouse abortion-on-demand. That gynecologist was Matthew Bulfin, M.D. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was my mother’s doctor.

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Exec Council District 2: Michael Tierney Enters the Arena

The New Hampshire Democratic Party released a statement today warning of an “anti-women’s health extremist” who is running for Executive Council. Look up “anti-women’s health extremist” in your Orwellian-English-to-standard-English dictionary, and you’ll find “citizen activist who sees no reason why Planned Parenthood should get tax dollars.” What’s not to like?

Introducing Michael Tierney: husband, father, Contoocook resident, Republican, land-use attorney, and candidate for Executive Council district 2. He can do the math on state spending, and he believes that an Executive Councilor should take seriously the responsibility of scrutinizing state contracts and contractors.

The NHDP doesn’t give a hoot about Tierney’s day job. Their gripe is over his pro bono work as an allied attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund. In that capacity, Tierney has given Planned Parenthood of Northern New England fits. Does he blockade clinic doorways? Does he give fiery speeches threatening hellfire and damnation to all who enter the premises? No, he’s worse: he asks for documentation of PPNNE grants and expenditures, and he doesn’t take no for an answer.

The Executive Council shocked PPNNE by rejecting its Title X contract proposal last year, and the legislature added to PPNNE’s unease by considering a bill to keep state funds away from abortion providers. PP’s New Hampshire PR machine had to go into overdrive, and it squeaked mightily as it cranked out the usual tripe: only 3% of our services are abortion, we don’t use public money for abortion, we help so many people, you’re just antichoice, and so forth. 

Tierney was undeterred. He recognized that a contract going to an abortion provider for other-than-abortion work frees up other funds to use for the abortion part of the enterprise. When the federal government sidestepped the Executive Council and awarded PPNNE a grant, Tierney, representing New Hampshire Right to Life, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all documentation relating to the grant. This began a long and grinding discovery process that is still ongoing, and it has turned up matters that raise other questions about PPNNE operations. This has earned Tierney the title of “extremist” from the NHDP, and I’m sure worse is coming as the Executive Council campaign moves forward.

Tierney understands the need for accountability for the use of taxpayer dollars, he is politely tenacious, and he doesn’t fold when someone calls him names. In those respects, he’d be a worthy successor to retiring Councilor Dan St. Hilaire (R-Concord), who unexpectedly started all the fuss last year by being the third and deciding vote to reject PPNNE’s Title X proposal. (Ten other Title X contracts went through without a hitch that day – just not the one with northern New England’s chief abortion provider.)

This is a redistricting year, and the New Hampshire House and Senate have agreed on new electoral maps, after the customary decennial wrangling. The Executive Council’s District 2 is now an amazing piece of work. With the addition of Keene and Durham, the seat now seems to be gift-wrapped for presentation to the Democratic nominee. What’s more, the district has been gerrymandered to stretch from Durham in the east to Hinsdale in the far southwestern corner of the state, with towns from six of the state’s ten counties. Campaigning will be a challenge for all the candidates, and winning the district will be a tall order for a Republican.

Thanks to Michael Tierney, PPNNE’s political protectors cannot take district 2 for granted. There’s going to be a real race here.