Infanticide Without Representation

Want to change the stigma around infanticide? Easy: just rename it. The catch-all term “reproductive rights” will cover it. That’s the protocol that’s been adopted by my Member of Congress, at any rate.

Congressman Chris Pappas
Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH)

I recently sent an email message to Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) regarding the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. I asked him to support a discharge petition that would bring the bill to the House floor for a vote. I pointed out that the bill was about taking care of newborn children who survive attempted abortion. I said that I knew we disagreed on abortion, but surely we could find common ground on caring for infants.

What I received in return was an email from Pappas’s office about his support for reproductive rights. It was obviously a form letter, designed to address anything even remotely touching on abortion. Just one problem there: I hadn’t written to him about reproductive rights; I had written to him about caring for newborns.

Congressman Chris Pappas thinks caring for newborns is a threat to reproductive rights, if those newborns are the survivors of an attempt to kill them in utero. This is the man representing my district in Congress.

Here’s his message in full. Note well the contact information he kindly provides at the end.

Thank you for contacting me regarding reproductive rights. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me, as it helps me better represent you and New Hampshire’s priorities in Congress.

I believe that every American is afforded the right to privacy and should have the freedom to make personal decisions about their health care.  I am committed to ensuring that women have access to the full range of reproductive health care choices. As a nation, we should focus on our common ground and shared goals – educating our children on sexual health, bolstering economic opportunity, and protecting our civil liberties.

Access to proper health care should be a right, and when women are denied the freedom to make their own personal health care decisions we not only limit their liberties but also their economic opportunities. We owe it to ourselves and to our neighbors to be as compassionate and understanding of their personal medical decisions as possible. Please know that I will keep your views in mind when considering legislation concerning reproductive rights.

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts on this important matter, and I look forward to keeping in touch. I strive to maintain an open dialogue with the people of New Hampshire about issues that matter to our state. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-5456 or my Dover office at (603) 285-4300. I also encourage you to keep up with the work I am doing by signing up for my weekly update at https://pappas.house.gov/contact/newsletter.

“We owe it to ourselves and to our neighbors to be as compassionate and understanding of their personal medical decisions as possible.”  That sentence only makes sense in the context of the born-alive bill if you think infanticide is a “personal medical decision.” Someone else’s decision, of course; the doomed child has no voice.

“Access to proper health care should be a right…” Abortion isn’t health care, and neither is infanticide.

A change of heart is always possible, even for Members of Congress. My Congressman needs to hear from people who have enough compassion and understanding to assure him that’s it’s OK to support care for newborn children who have survived abortion.

More than once in the course of writing about life-issue legislation, I’ve asked a question: is a woman seeking abortion entitled to a terminated pregnancy or a dead baby? What happens when the induced abortion results not only in termination of pregnancy but in a live birth? In an uncharitable moment, I wrote that the dead-baby caucus was in charge.

I guess I was right.

In related news, the next Congressional election will be on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Notes from NH Pro-Life Seminar

Here are a few quick items from the New Hampshire Knights of Columbus 2019 Pro-Life Seminar, with a tip of my cap to Ron DiStasio and his organizational team.

St. Gianna’s Place

StGiannaBanquetThree years ago, a dedicated group of Granite Staters began raising money and planning for a southern New Hampshire shelter for pregnant women in need of housing and other services. Last month, volunteers worked to renovate the former St. John parish rectory in Hudson, which is being converted to St. Gianna’s Place. Next month, applications for the first two residents will be considered.

Dennis Pedley of the St. Gianna’s board gave us this long-awaited good news. He also reminded us about the benefit banquet for St. Gianna’s, coming up on May 1 at the Executive Court in Manchester. See stgiannasplace.org for more information.

40 Days for Life

Sheila and Lisa of Manchester 40DFL accepted signups for the last two weeks of the current campaign, with all who accept the 40DFL Statement of Peace welcome to participate. Need signs, prayer partners, or more information? Look up your local campaign at 40daysforlife.com.

40 Days for Life volunteer
Lisa of 40 Days for Life Manchester NH

East Africa Charitable Projects Fund

Nick Monroe, a Knight from Newport, is one of the leaders of this charitable fund, founded in New Hampshire in 2014. Working with partners in Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, the fund supports educational, charitable, and faith-based projects. Learn more at  eacpf.wordpress.com.

CareNet of Manchester/Nashua Gets a New Name

CareNet has been serving Manchester and Nashua for many years. The ministry’s name is changing: Real Options is the new label, but it’s still a CareNet affiliate. The Manchester office is moving a block away from its longtime location on Bridge Street, to 25 Lowell Street.

Real Options CareNet newsletter

Save the dates for the Real Options Walks for Life: May 4 at Veteran’s Park in Manchester, and May 11 at Greeley Park in Nashua.

Our Place and “Love Prevails”

For more than 30 years, Karen Munsell has been the force behind Catholic Charities’s Our Place, providing help to pregnant and parenting teens and young adults. She reported that the program is going strong in Nashua and Manchester.

She also gave us news about a newly-published book by Jean Bosco Rutagengwa, “Love Prevails.” The author and his wife (who works at Our Place) are refugees from Rwanda, and the book is subtitled “One Couple’s Story of Faith and Survival in the Rwandan Genocide.” As Karen reminded us, “genocide is a life issue.” I’m looking forward to reading the book, published by Orbis and available on Amazon.

Etc.

This is only a sample of the people providing good information at the seminar. Make a calendar note to look for the 2020 edition next spring.

I got a few minutes of mic time – thank you, Ron – to promote a couple of projects: this blog (which turns seven this month; we need a party!), and something I’m doing with a colleague from Cornerstone Action, Concord 101, a two-hour introduction to New Hampshire government and how citizens can participate most effectively. That initiative will take me to about half a dozen towns over the next few weeks, and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Attending K of C Seminar? Beware Traffic

A public service announcement for anyone who is planning to attend the Knights of Columbus pro-life seminar in the St. Joseph Cathedral church hall in Manchester tomorrow (Sunday, March 31): allow a little extra time for arrival and parking. Manchester’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and preparations for it will have Elm Street tied up all morning, up until about 2 p.m.

But wait, there’s more: beware the “Shamrock Shuffle,” a 5k road race that precedes the parade at 11:10 a.m. Canal and Elm Streets will both be affected.

Manchester readers, once we all dodge the road closures, I’ll see you at the seminar in the afternoon. Featured speaker is a representative from St. Gianna’s Place, and as always at this annual event, many life-affirming groups will have information tables in the hall.

N.H. Considers Death Penalty Repeal Again

A veto by Governor Chris Sununu last June stopped a bill to repeal New Hampshire’s death penalty statute. Undeterred, advocates of repeal have brought forth another bill this year, HB 455. It just received an “ought to pass” recommendation from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee on a vote of 11-6. I’m glad to see that.

The repeal effort picked up a powerful advocate this time: Rep. David Welch (R-Kingston). He’s the committee’s ranking Republican and former chairman.

I went to the recent public hearing on HB 455 to sign “the blue sheet” indicating my support. I’m a registered lobbyist with a client that does not take a position on capital punishment, so as I entered the room I had to take off my orange badge and become just another member of the general public losing time from work in order to weigh in on the bill. I caught just the end of Rep. Welch’s testimony.

As quoted in a New Hampshire Union Leader report, Rep. Welch announced he had abandoned his longtime support for capital punishment. “Now I’ve resolved my positions. I’m consistently prolife and will not vote for the death penalty.”

Remember that the next time you think someone’s views on the right to life are set in stone.

I’m going to thank Rep. Welch. I’m not sure he’s hearing a lot of that. Emotions run high when capital punishment is up for debate.

A legislator who’s a friend of mine testified in strong opposition to repeal. She reminded her colleagues of a horrific murder in New Hampshire that occurred during a home invasion, and how the murderers were not covered by the death penalty statute at that time – unjustly, in the legislator’s view. (The statute has since been amended to include murders committed during home invasions.) She considers her support for capital punishment to be advocacy for the woman, Kimberly Cates, who was a victim of that violent crime.

I understand that, even if I don’t agree with the conclusion. I also understand the legislators who cry out about the hypocrisy of their colleagues who oppose the death penalty but who vote pro-abortion every chance they get. Believe me, I understand their frustration.

A House vote is still some days off. I’m looking forward to a roll call.

Big Step Forward for St. Gianna’s Place

After a long search, the board of St. Gianna’s Place has made the announcement I’ve been waiting for. From Facebook:

With great joy and gratitude, we announce that St. Gianna’s Place has found a home! We signed a lease on February 11, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. We will soon be opening our doors to welcome pregnant women in crisis and their babies. We are grateful to God for leading and inspiring us on this journey, and we are grateful to our supporters for making this possible.
We humbly ask for your continued prayers and support as we prepare to open our home to some of God’s most vulnerable. We are hosting a Go Fund Me event to raise money to purchase necessary items for our new home. If you would like to help, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/StGiannasPlace.
Again, thank you for your continued prayers and support.
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His Goodness.” St. Gianna pray for us!

How fitting that the lease was signed on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, given the faith and persistence of the volunteers who have brought the project this far. Housing for pregnant and parenting women in crisis is at a premium in southern New Hampshire, and St. Gianna’s Place will be part of a solution. The home will be in Hudson, and the opening date will be announced later. Right now, the task at hand is to prepare the building for occupancy.

Please view and share the Go Fund Me page set up by St. Gianna’s Place volunteers. Their immediate goal is $1000 for basic things like linens and cleaning supplies. A modest donation can go a long way.

I recall listening to a St. Gianna’s board member a couple of years ago, describing the vision driving the project. “Our Calcutta is right here,” she told me, comparing Mother Teresa’s mission field to ours here in New Hampshire, where so many more shelter beds are needed.

The signed lease goes a long way toward bringing the vision to life.