Life and Liberty, in that order, printed by Mary Katharine Goddard c. 1777
Declaration of Independence,, printed by Mary Katharine Goddard c. 1777

Karen Testerman’s recent Facebook post, in reply to supporters who are reluctant to follow her into Bob Smith’s camp, includes this: “Friends, it is about life, liberty and property and adherence to the Constitution. Without life, we cannot have liberty or property. Neither of the other two candidates will promote a culture of life. Life is not an issue. It is a fundamental principle that is foundational to America.”

That’s a good point that becomes more important as self-identified libertarians or liberty Republicans step up to run for office. There will be primaries this year in New Hampshire, several of them against Republican state senate incumbents who cast ill-advised votes on taxation, education and Medicaid expansion. Fair enough. I love primaries. They tend to discourage complacency.

But for the sake of all I hold dear, I don’t assume that every challenger is pro-life, particularly at the state representative and state senate level where so many important decisions are made. I want to ask the candidates some questions, read their literature, and look at how they’ve voted in other offices. What would they do if there were an attempt to repeal parental notification? Ask what they’ll do about the state’s buffer zone law. If the Supreme Court OKs the 35-foot zone in Massachusetts, will they support extending New Hampshire’s “up to 25 feet” provision? Are they favorably disposed to regulating the abortion industry, even in the limited manner currently acceptable to the Supreme Court? Do they know who Kermit Gosnell is?

Beware of candidates who put liberty ahead of life. As the campaign season goes forward, we’ll learn if such candidates are out there.

More on primaries: 

Senator David Boutin is on the hot seat for his Medicaid expansion vote. He’s being primaried by an impeccably pro-life state rep, Jane Cormier. Good – but it would be grossly unfair to forget that Boutin was the one and only Manchester senator who stood fast against the buffer zone. Voters in District 16, including the ones who will vote for Cormier, ought to thank him face-to-face for that. He was under a lot of pressure to cave in, and he did the right thing. He and Cormier were on the same side in that battle. He voted for effective language in Griffin’s Law, too, before voting to table the bill. You don’t hear much about that nowadays, as his district is being flooded with mailers pointing out his more egregious votes.

Two other state senators who opposed the buffer zone (although one of them took his time about it) and supported Griffin’s Law are being primaried as well. Where do the challengers stand on the right to life? I’ll be asking them, and until I hear their answers, I won’t be leading any cheers for change.



The early bird gets the vote (maybe)

Empty seats, waiting to be filled.
Empty seats, waiting to be filled.

Filing period for state office in New Hampshire runs from June 4-13. It’s never too early to line up support, though, at least according to a phone call I got this morning from a friend who’s a pro-life activist. She’s being approached by people running for higher office who are reminding her “I voted for your bills.” Not coincidentally, these early birds are the ones most likely to face a primary from other prolifers.

Line up support now, have those supporters on hand as a photo-op show of force on filing day, and thereby discourage anyone else from filing for the seat. Perfectly fair and legal.

But why the rush? Why commit to a candidate now, only to find out later that someone else with a better pro-life record (not necessarily political) wants to run for the same seat? I don’t think primaries are evil, although I do think that primary opponents who are on the same page on big issues ought to sit down together and agree to combine forces.

I’m in no hurry to endorse. I’ll wait until the filing period’s over, anyway. And I’m going to look out for people who vote pro-life but haven’t worked hard to promote pro-life bills. Hooray for them, but given the choice, I’ll take a pro-life leader over a pro-life follower any day.