Tag Archives: New Hampshire

The cost of the buffer zone law, so far

A postscript to yesterday’s New Hampshire House committee vote on buffer zone repeal, HB 589: Rep. Gary Hopper (R-Weare) read aloud to his fellow committee members a communication he had received from Deputy Attorney General Ann Rice in response to a query from him about what the state has spent so far defending the buffer zone law.

He read the letter aloud in a meeting that was open to the public; he posted it today on Facebook; his correspondent is a state employee; the topic was state business. Sounds like quotable stuff to me. So here is Deputy AG Rice to Rep. Hopper, as posted by Rep. Hopper this morning:

…So far, the Department has devoted 313.75 hours of attorney time in defending the buffer zone law, which equates to $43,611.25 (313.75 hours x $139.00/hr). We do not track the time that support staff devotes to any particular case so I cannot provide a cost for that. As far as future costs, that will depend on what the plaintiffs chose to do. If they appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court, we would file an objection, which I would estimate would involve approximately 40 hours of attorney time at $139/hr, or $5560 in cost. If the US Supreme Court accepted the appeal, the Department would likely devote several hundred hours on the appeal. I am unable to better estimate the amount of time required.

The plaintiffs could opt to refrain from further litigation unless and until a buffer zone is actually being considered. At this point, I cannot estimate if or when that would occur, or the amount of time that this office would spend on the litigation.

Recall that in the Supreme Court’s McCullen v. Coakley decision overturning a Massachusetts buffer zone law, taxpayers not only covered the cost for the state to defend an ultimately unconstitutional law but were later on the hook for $1.2 million in plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

I’m sure Massachusetts’ costs started small. Look where they ended up.


Guest Post: verbal hit-and-run at Concord’s “Women’s Day”

Guest post by Stephen Scaer of Nashua. Stephen was among the pro-lifers who witnessed for life at the January 21, 2017 “Women’s Day” of abortion advocacy in Concord, New Hampshire. Photos are by Phyllis Woods and are used with her kind permission. I encourage readers to look in the Comments below the post to find the reply from Veronica, who also was on the scene and who had a much more encouraging experience.

“Do you have a uterus?” asked the gray-haired woman as she and her companion walked past me as I was holding my “Dads for Life” sign at our counter protest at the Women’s Day of Action & Unity in Concord on Saturday.

Stephen and Beth Scaer (photo by Phyllis Woods).

“That’s a rather personal question.”

“You’re a man. You have to say ‘no,’ and you don’t have the right to say whether a woman should have an abortion.”

“Why not?” I asked, as she hurried away. I would have loved to have had a chance to follow her line of reasoning. I assume she wouldn’t assert that people without children had no right to speak out against child abuse, or that people who don’t own pets can’t speak out against animal cruelty. Moreover, although I’ve never been a woman, I have had some experience as an unborn child. But for the most part, these are the hit-and-run tactics the 25 or so pro-life protesters encountered.

Pro-life demonstrators included Fr. Christian Tutor (center, with 40 Days for Life sign), Cathy Kelley of Pennacook Pregnancy Center (left foreground) and Beth Scaer (yellow hat).

 

For example, a woman looked at my sign and said ‘then you should be at home with your kid,’ and took off before I could point out that my daughter was standing 20 feet away with a “Tell Planned Parenthood #GoFundYourself” sign.

My daughter’s favorite hit-and-run was a woman who shouted “you’re nuts” as she darted past, carrying a sign that said “prove me wrong.”

Another woman asked, “Are you against war?”
“I don’t know what that has to do with abortion, but I suppose it depends on the war.”

“You pro-lifers are a bunch of hypocrites. You can’t be for war and against abortion. You can’t be pro-war and call yourself a Christian.” She walked away before I could ask her opinion about Christian war-mongers such as Eisenhower, Washington, the Roman soldiers who converted in the New Testament, and King David. I really wanted to know whether she thought Lincoln had any right to be pro-war and anti-slavery.

And then of course, there was the litany of “you can’t be pro-life if you don’t support [insert your favorite government social program here].”

One older man did wait to hear a few of my responses.
“You shouldn’t tell other people what to do with their bodies.”
“Should we legalize heroin?”
“I’m for legalizing marijuana, but not heroin.”
“Then you’re telling people what to do with their bodies. Also, the child in the womb is a separate body, with her own arm, legs, head, and set of chromosomes.”
“It’s not a person. It’s just a blob of cells.”
“It has everything you have. Are you just a blob of cells?”
“You people are crazy,” he responded, and walked away.

[New Hampshire Right to Life has on its Facebook page an album of photos from the January 21 event.]


 

Pro-lifers to witness at Concord “Women’s March” (and you’re invited)

From this morning’s Leaven for the Loaf email newsletter:

An invitation to witness

The national “Women’s March” in Washington coming up Saturday the 21st has no place for pro-life women, thus revealing itself to be an abortion advocacy event. Pro-lifers are going to show up anyway. A similar “march” will be happening in Concord on State House Plaza on the same day, and intrepid New Hampshire pro-lifers will be there, too. You’re invited to join members of New Hampshire Right to Life as they rally for life

Read the event’s Facebook page for more information, or contact Beth at 40daysforlifemanchester@gmail.com (but note that this is not a 40DFL-related event). 

I’m not giving away any secrets when I say that the pro-abortion rally in Concord will be big. (The Facebook signups for that event make that clear.) The pro-lifers nearby, in an act of faith, hope and love, simply want to give witness to the right to life. Organizers have a permit in hand from the city, limited to the sidewalk along Main Street outside State House plaza. 

Here’s a screenshot of the event’s flyer.


I’m sorry that I won’t be there myself – but I’ll look forward to sharing with readers the photos and reports from the pro-lifers who brave the sidewalk that day.


Note that I’m open to a guest post from anyone participating in an authentically pro-life response to one of the “Women’s Marches.”

Keep in mind the OK-to-choose-death-for-others mission of the “Women’s Marches,” as expressed by organizers of the main march in Washington when they rescinded an invitation to New Wave Feminists.

Gallery: New Hampshire March for Life 2017

Photos by Ellen Kolb except as noted in captions.

For more coverage of the 2017 New Hampshire March for Life, see the 40 Days for Life – Manchester Facebook album.

New Hampshire pro-lifers gather on State House plaza. Photo by Phyllis Woods.
Students from Northeast Catholic College came from Warner to march.
Jane Cormier of New Hampshire Right to Life led the speakers on State House plaza.
Fr. Christian Tutor of NHRTL Education Trust, flanked by NH Knights of Columbus.
WICX radio host interviews Northeast Catholic College president George Harne on State House plaza.
Abortion advocates outside the Equality Center (formerly known as the Feminist Health Center) clustered at the corner of Main & Thompson streets to counter the pro-life march. Photo by Phyllis Woods.
Benjamin Pellerin and Eric McNail of WICX radio (102.7, Concord) set up to broadcast live from the post-march rally.
Featured speaker at post-march rally was Jennifer Lahl, a nurse and the founder of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.
Kathy Peterson with a life-affirming message.


 

No, the buffer zone law has not been upheld

The Union Leader’s recent misleading subhead has been outdone, with no less than a front-page above-the-fold story.

UL headline, 1/12/17

The first paragraph says the law was upheld, and goes on to say that there’s no case to act on. The latter part of the paragraph is correct.

What was upheld by the First Circuit Court of Appeals was a decision by a federal district court judge that there is no buffer law case to be heard, since no abortion facility has yet posted a zone.

The buffer zone law has not been upheld because it has not yet been heard in court. The First Circuit did not uphold the law. It upheld a lower court decision.

If you were discouraged by the headline, take heart, and redouble your peaceful witness on the sidewalks.

If abortion providers want the law upheld, they’ll have to post a zone first.

Watch for signs with this language or something similar, as authorized by the unenforced law:

Let me know if you see anything like this. Attorneys are waiting to vindicate your First Amendment rights.

A fiscal reason for repealing N.H.’s buffer zone law

Photo by Beth Scaer

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.