Top posts 2017, part 1: Marching for Life; Legislative Disappointment

Leaven for the Loaf’s most popular posts for 2017 are heavy on State House action, reflecting an eventful year. But wait – there’s more. Here’s a review of five of the ten most-viewed posts from 2017. Watch for the top five later this week.

New Hampshire March for Life Gallery

January’s March for Life in Concord was sponsored once again by New Hampshire Right to Life, with featured speaker Jennifer Lahl. People came from all over New Hampshire, peacefully resolved to defend the right to life.

Situational Personhood

On the same day that the House debated a fetal homicide bill, it also took up a bill from the Commerce committee related to trusts. Lo and behold, the trusts bill referred to “unborn person.” The trusts bill somehow got by without scrutiny from the same people who were afraid a fetal homicide law would confer personhood.

My thanks to Rep. Jeanine Notter, who came to the gallery the day of the debate to show me the Commerce bill. The irony of the term “unborn person” was not lost on her.

 

Fetal Homicide and Women’s Rights: Remember These Women

In their Concord testimony, opponents of fetal homicide legislation usually gave a pro forma gee-I’m-sorry nod to bereaved parents before going on to say that the legislation would interfere with women’s rights. I decided it was time to highlight the women whose children had died in utero in legal limbo: dead due to someone else’s actions, but not a victim under law.

 

Help Open St. Gianna’s Place

A dedicated group of volunteers is working to open another shelter for pregnant and parenting women in New Hampshire. This post is from last April, and the effort to find and fund a house is still underway.

Learn more, and join the effort, at stgiannasplace.org.

 

N.H. House Rejects Post-Viability Limit on Abortion

“All nine months: that’s how far into pregnancy abortion is legal in New Hampshire. Viable, non-viable, with or without ‘anomalies’: all irrelevant. What’s more, any abortion-minded woman in New Hampshire is entitled to a dead baby, not merely a terminated pregnancy.

“Rep. Keith Murphy and ten co-sponsors brought forward HB 578 in an effort to push back against that bit of barbarity. Murphy took Justice Blackmun at his word as expressed in Roe v. Wade: the state may assert an interest in the preborn child once that child is viable.

The New Hampshire House had a chance to stand with Murphy. The House refused.”

There’s good news, though: Rep. Murphy has introduced another bill along the same lines, to be considered in the 2018 session.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, featuring the story that far and away drew the most attention this year.

State Budget: how much for abortion providers?

(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.

 

What’s Gone Right: a 5-Year Review

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.

Peaceful witness outside a Manchester NH abortion facility.

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.

From a 40 Days for Life baby shower to benefit pregnancy care centers in greater Manchester NH

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.

A Stork Bus visits Manchester NH.

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.

As a Save the Storks representative said, “We show up with resources and support. It brings hope into darkness, it brings light into darkness.”


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.

From Abby Johnson’s speech at Dartmouth in 2014. Ellen Kolb photo.