(Update, 5/27/17: The latest Center for Medical Progress video has been taken down by YouTube, and so it is unavailable where I had originally linked to it below. Instead, you can view CMP’s previous videos at this link. Watch them before the next budget vote.)
The New Hampshire Senate will vote next week on the budget proposal prepared by the Senate Finance Committee. Whatever the Senate passes will go to the House the next day.
Under the Senate proposal, would any of the money allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) go to abortion providers? Would abortion providers still be in line for family planning contracts?
Maybe. The proposed Senate budget language says no state funds can go to abortion providers for abortion services. I have seen the draft of an amendment that would prevent state funds from going to abortion providers, period.
Stay tuned. In the meantime, the Center for Medical Progress has released another video of Planned Parenthood’s abortion providers discussing their work. No bloody-baby pictures here; just words. It’s a safe bet that the affiliates mentioned in the video operate with the help of taxpayers.
I can’t link directly to YouTube for the video, since YouTube took it down – but not before some viewers found a way to share it. A Leaven reader was kind enough to point me to the Facebook account Another Boy (@babiesbetrayed), where the video is available. I hope the link is still live as you read this.
As the blog’s 5-year anniversary month winds up, I’ll take one last look back. It would be easy to reflect on things left undone, such as the failure to pass this or that pro-life law. Not today, though. This is about good news from the past half-decade. Just a few highlights.
No buffer zones. There are no abortion-related buffer zones yet in New Hampshire. Abortion advocates in both parties whisked an anti-First-Amendment law onto the books in 2014, and they have yet to use it.
While the so-called buffer zones could be imposed any minute now, the fact that none are thus far in place can be credited in large part to the New Hampshire residents who went to court as soon as the law was signed, with support from the Alliance Defending Freedom legal team. New Hampshire residents are ready to step up again if ever the buffer zone law is used.
New Hampshire has a law banning partial-birth abortion. That’s a big deal. This is a state where the right to life is given short shrift in the State House, to the point where even a women’s-health measure like abortion statistics is rejected time and again.
It took enormous effort to pass the bill in 2012 over John Lynch’s veto. You may recall that there was a 19-5 GOP majority in the state senate that year. The majority leader managed to persuade all 19 to support the partial-birth ban, whereupon the minority leader took to the Senate floor to compliment the majority leader for his masterful handling of the bill. As I said at the time,
…wait a minute here. Why was it such a big deal that a Republican majority leader got all of his caucus to support a bill to ban an abortion method that shades into infanticide? What is so controversial about that? Who had to be persuaded? (And why does the Democratic party defend partial-birth abortion?)
But I digress. The partial-birth ban was and is a good thing.
A new shelter for homeless pregnant women is coming to New Hampshire, as an existing one celebrates 30 years of service. I recently reported on the launching of the crowdfunding effort in support of St. Gianna’s Place. Over in Greenland, New Hampshire, New Generation has just turned 30.
These are grassroots projects by New Hampshire people who see neighbors in need and then work to serve them.
Pregnancy care centers are expanding their scope. Every New Hampshire pregnancy care worker I’ve met over the past five years has told me about services that extend far past crisis intervention and pregnancy tests. In fact, it’s time for me to re-name the blog’s “crisis pregnancy services” page.
Ultrasounds (and thank you, Knights of Columbus). Parenting classes. Clothing, baby needs, furniture and car seats. Referrals for services like housing. These aren’t add-ons. They’re integrated into a center’s mission.
On the national scene, mobile ultrasound units have come a long way since this blog’s first post. To mention just one project, Save the Storks sent one of their “Stork Buses” to Manchester last year to demonstrate each unit’s capability to support a pregnancy care center. (A Stork Bus will soon visit Keene.) More than a hundred Stork Buses are now in use. Not bad for an agency that hired its first employee in 2013.
Finally, another national note: I can’t look at pro-life cultural progress over the past five years without mentioning Abby Johnson. If she had done nothing but publish Unplanned, I’d be in her debt. She has since done much more. This is what can be done in five years.
As a former Planned Parenthood manager, Abby Johnson learned when she left PP that she faced financial, legal, and spiritual challenges on the “outside.” She founded And Then There Were None to support other people in her position. The ATTWN team has so far served hundreds of former abortion workers.
She co-wrote The Walls Are Talking, using her own high profile to draw attention to the life stories of former abortion workers.
The first Pro-Life Women’s Conference in 2016 was her brainchild – “can you believe it took 43 years to do this?” She brought together women from a variety of backgrounds – religious and secular, political and non-political – so that we could learn from each other and bring some new lessons home.
In every speech she makes, she tells about her Planned Parenthood experiences. She challenges PP’s “3%” claim and tells about its abortion quotas. She challenges abortion opponents who fail to see the need to build relationships with abortion workers. She calls for an increase in peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities.
Good work from good people: spread the good news, and then go make some good news of your own.
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”?
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.”
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.
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.”
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.'”
Topics timely and evergreen, posts new and old: the most popular posts on Leaven for the Loaf in 2016 cover a wide range. Today begins the countdown of the posts that drew the most viewers this year. Look for part 2 tomorrow.
In March, with no abortion facility in New Hampshire willing to use the buffer zone law that abortion advocates fought so hard to get, a federal judge dismissed a suit against the law. The law had not been used, said the judge, so no one had yet suffered any actual injury from it.
Update: attorneys for the pro-life plaintiffs have appealed the March decision to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Legislatively, a bill to repeal the buffer zone law passed the House in March but failed on a tie vote in the Senate in May. Another repeal bill will be considered in 2017.
This post from 2014 continues to attract readers. It’s by Catherine Adair, taken from one of her Facebook posts (and used with her permission). “While walking with my family today we were greeted by two young men wearing Planned Parenthood t-shirts trying to raise money to ‘fight back.’ I engaged one of them in conversation and was able to plant some seeds.”
Catherine describes a moment of grace: a spontaneous conversation between people who disagreed with each other but listened to each other with respect.
The state’s Democratic Party paid to mail a letter from a pro-abortion physician attacking U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte. He conflated abortion and health care, attacked Ayotte’s attempt to address the HHS contraceptive mandate, and accused her of being insufficiently deferential to abortion providers. I posted the full text of the letter.
I caught a fair amount of criticism (and temporarily lost some readers) when I announced mid-year that I refused to support either major party’s candidate for president. In August, I followed up with something all pro-lifers could get behind, regardless of their candidate: whoever wins the presidential election needs to see a big March for Life in Washington in January.
“Peaceful, as always, but disruptive by its sheer volume and the determination of the marchers. It wouldn’t hurt for members of Congress to see that, too, particularly the Senators who will vote on any Supreme Court nominees….Public witness to the right to life is becoming more important, not less.”
Update: I’ve got my bus reservation in hand. How about you?
Two years ago, I noted that the state of Massachusetts had agreed on behalf of the state’s taxpayers to pay $1.24 million dollars to the attorneys for the plaintiffs in McCullen v. Coakley, the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court voted unanimously to throw out Massachusetts’ original buffer zone law.
At that time, I asked a question.
Will New Hampshire officials have to hit up the taxpayers for a similar settlement, or will they do the sensible thing and drop the case? Will the New Hampshire House and Senate make that decision for us by repealing the buffer zone law?
I wouldn’t have guessed when I wrote those words that they’d still be apt today, as 2016 draws to a close.
In a few weeks, legislators will have their third opportunity to repeal the law and end the prospect of billing the taxpayers for defending it. An LSR (bill proposal) has already been filed by multiple sponsors.
The New Hampshire legislature failed in 2015 and 2016 to repeal New Hampshire’s buffer zone law. Like the scrapped Massachusetts law on which it was based, New Hampshire’s law was enacted with First Amendment restrictions without any documentation that less-restrictive means had been tried in order to control activity around abortion facilities.
With Granite State ingenuity, though, abortion providers have come up with a way around litigation: no abortion facility has chosen to post a zone. So much for claims that zones were necessary to protect patient safety. A federal judge turned away a challenge to the law by peaceful pro-life witnesses, ruling that since the New Hampshire law hadn’t actually been used against anyone, there was no case to decide.
Those plaintiffs have asked the First Circuit Court of Appeals to keep the challenge open. Litigation is going on even though buffer zone fans might wish otherwise.
Giving abortion providers the right to set “zones” within which the First Amendment is suspended does not protect anyone from violence or intimidation.
Calling the New Hampshire law “narrowly tailored” (lookin’ at you, Governor Hassan) doesn’t make it so. Chief Justice Roberts’s words in McCullen strike uncomfortably close to home. [Emphasis added.}
To meet the requirement of narrow tailoring, the government must demonstrate that alternative measures that burden substantially less speech would fail to achieve the government’s interests, not simply that the chosen route is easier. A painted line on the sidewalk is easy to enforce, but the prime objective of the First Amendment is not efficiency.
New Hampshire’s law protects no one, is unenforced, and could become very expensive in court. Take it off the books.
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.