Jane Cormier new president of NHRTL

Jane Cormier (from her campaign web site)
Jane Cormier (courtesy photo)

New Hampshire Right to Life announced this afternoon that Jane Cormier has been elected president of the organization. She succeeds Kurt Wuelper, who was recently elected to the state legislature.

Cormier is no stranger to Leaven for the Loaf readers. She served as state representative from Alton, winning her seat in 2012. Legislation she sponsored included The Abortion Information Act in 2013, earning her honorable mention in Leaven for the Loaf’s 2013 year-end review. She earned a spot on the 2012 list, too. She ran for State Senate this year for the seat eventually retained by Sen. David Boutin.

NHRTL has confirmed that New Hampshire’s 2015 March for Life will be held on Saturday, January 17 in Concord, where the new president will preside at the post-march rally.

Link of the Day: an Executive Director’s story

This is too good to save for the weekend roundup. From the New Hampshire Right to Life blog comes this post by Evelyn Konig, sharing how she came to embrace the ministry of Executive Director of Pregnancy Resource Center of the Monadnock Region. Link and share and enjoy.

An Executive Director’s Story (from nhrtl.org)

Four ways your tax dollars are funding abortion

A New Hampshire pro-life activist provides a primer on taxpayer funding of abortion

In New Hampshire Right to Life’s September 2013 newsletter, Charlotte Antal reported on four government programs that are funding abortion or helping subsidize abortion providers. Her article is extensively footnoted, and it included information new to me about abortion funding in the U.S.

Here’s a brief summary of Charlotte’s findings. See the original article linked above for citations and footnotes.

Repeal of the “Mexico City Policy.” For years, that policy halted U.S. funds from going to non-governmental organizations that perform abortions or “actively support” abortion as a means of birth control. Repeal was one of President Obama’s priorities when he was first elected, and he was backed by Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) among others.

Abortions for undocumented immigrants in custody of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Division of the Department of Homeland Security. This one was news to me. Limited to cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother, abortion is available to female detainees. It’s listed as one of the “pregnancy services” available, on a par with prenatal care.

Insurance premiums under Obamacare include a fee for abortion “services” to be paid by enrollees – all enrollees, regardless of age, sex, family status, or conscientious objection to abortion.

Contracts with Planned Parenthood to be an Obamacare “navigator.” In New Hampshire, PP has a contract worth about $145,000 to assist consumers in five New Hampshire counties to sign up for health insurance. As Charlotte asks, “why are we giving even more tax dollars to the nation’s biggest abortion provider?”

Charlotte’s article gives a glimpse into how hard it is to keep abortion providers away from your pocketbook. This is a constantly shifting area, with policies and laws subject to change at any time. Vigilance is a challenge. My thanks to Charlotte for sounding this particular alert.

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Students for Life director tells New Hampshire audience “Be the annoying person” in fighting abortion

Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life, speaks at NHRTL 2013 dinner
Kristan Hawkins, Students for Life, speaks at NHRTL 2013 dinner

When Kristan Hawkins started talking at Thursday’s New Hampshire Right to Life annual dinner, I did everything I could to get a photo of her. About twenty shots later, I gave up and settled for the blurry images I’d managed to capture. It was like trying to pin down a whirlwind. Calm down, I wanted to tell her, although that would have been pointless. Her dynamism is undoubtedly part of her success.

“I am an abortion abolitionist.”

Hawkins is executive director of Students for Life of America, where she has worked since 2006. With her team, she has helped to establish 759 SFLA chapters on campuses nationwide in response to demand from students. Her energy and commitment were visible from the podium as she spoke in an urgent voice, her head turning almost constantly as though she were determined to make eye contact with every person in the room. The crowd of nearly 400 included about 125 high school and college students with a special interest in Hawkins’ ministry. Former Congressman Frank Guinta was in the audience as well. He recently announced that he’s running again for the First District seat now held by Carol Shea-Porter.

“I am an abortion abolitionist,” said Hawkins. “We are more pro-life than [our parents’] generation.” Demand for SFLA services exceeds supply; “this is a good problem.” SFLA provides materials to pro-life student groups upon request for use on campuses and in classrooms nationwide. Projects within the SFLA campus groups range from literature distribution to installation of large outdoor displays.

Sometimes, those pro-life displays are vandalized. She says that doesn’t put an end to pro-life activism, as students continue to “share the truth.”

Students from at least four New Hampshire colleges attended the banquet. Dartmouth, Thomas More College, the College of Saint Mary Magdalen, and St. Anselm were all represented. Younger students from area high schools as well as homeschooled teens were also present. Hawkins was scheduled for a speaking engagement at St. Anselm the day after the banquet; she makes a point of speaking on campuses whenever possible.

“Be the annoying person.”

“Be the annoying person,” urged Hawkins. “When we talk about abortion, we win.” Abortion advocacy groups – and this includes Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and EMILY’s List, among others – are dropping the word “abortion” from their lexicon in favor of the less abrasive “reproductive rights.” The general public has grown disgusted with unlimited abortion, to the extent that seventy pieces of pro-life legislation have passed in various states in 2013.

“The new strategy [by abortion advocacy groups] is, don’t talk about abortion. So what should we do? Talk about abortion. I am proud to say that I am anti-abortion.”

The dinner and Hawkins’ speech ran a little behind schedule as a larger-than-expected crowd waited to be seated. I spent time on the NHRTL board over a decade ago, and I never saw a larger crowd at the group’s annual dinner, or one with such a significant proportion of students. Hawkins and her message were clearly a draw.

Kristan’s five-point plan

Hawkins has a plan of action that she urged on her listeners. Some of the five steps she recommends are familiar things that bear repeating.

  • “Tell our stories. Share the truth.”
  • “Envision a world without abortion, don’t just imagine it.” She admonished her listeners not to give in to the attitude that pro-life work is important but success is unlikely. “Plan for a future without abortion. Know what you’re going to do after abortion is abolished.”
  • Base pro-life ministry on personal relationships with people in need of support in moments of crisis. “It’s messy work.”
  • Expose Planned Parenthood, “our nation’s abortion Goliath, the Walmart of the abortion industry,” particularly by keeping a close eye on the sources of its funds. She commended NHRTL for bringing PP of Northern New England to court in an effort to force transparency in the use of public funds.
  • “It’s time to start talking about abortion in our churches.” She knows too well that many pastors are uncomfortable with the abortion battle and therefore don’t talk about it from the pulpit.

SFLA’s biggest annual event is a conference in Washington the day before the annual March for Life. Last January’s event attracted 2000 participants, which doesn’t surprise me.

For more information about SFLA, go to studentsforlife.org.

This week by the numbers: 4/29/13

Two events:

  • 40 Days for Life, in which New Hampshire volunteers have played an important role, is having a webcast this evening at 9 p.m. that will serve as a review of the success of the last 40 Days campaign nationwide. The web announcement also promises “abundant hope … three keys to stopping abortion in your community.” Register at the 40 Days for Life website. This is tonight, 9 p.m., and participants may listen via phone or webcast. 
  • This one is a few weeks off, but because of the cost I’m listing it now so you may plan accordingly. The New Hampshire Federated Republican Women will have its annual Lilac Luncheon on May 20, and the speaker will be Star Parker of CURE. Tickets for non-members of NHFRW are $50. I know, ouch – but I will be there to cover Parker’s remarks, and you can count on a blog post or two from that.

Two Twitter feeds:

  • @nhcornerstone. (Full disclosure: I have been employed by Cornerstone Action and Cornerstone Policy Research.) Cornerstone promptly reports on important votes in Concord, and the Twitter feed also keeps you informed about Cornerstone’s pro-life/pro-family work in New Hampshire. 
  • @students4lifeHQ, from Students for Life.

One web site to bookmark: nhrtl.org. New Hampshire Right to Life sponsors our state’s annual March for Life. It also has an email alert list to keep supporters notified of times and places of public witness outside abortion facilities. This is New Hampshire’s oldest pro-life group not affiliated with a church. By the way, the site includes an announcement that the speaker at NHRTL’s annual fundraising banquet in October will be Kristan Hawkins, executive director of the aforementioned Students for Life.

One volunteer opportunity: Birthright is always looking for people to help in direct ministry to women in crisis pregnancy. The group is resolutely nonpolitical, and their only work is to “love them both,” mother and child. To find out the particular needs in your area, you can call Birthright in Manchester at 668-3443 or Derry at 434-3000.

As always, these links are for informational purposes only and do not constitute my endorsement of everything on the sites.

One more number, just for fun: ONE. That’s for this blog, which I started one year ago this month. It was a tiny thing at first, and then I abandoned it for a few months, but now here we are! I am grateful to my readers.