“A privilege that I was not given…the right to be born”

A Congressional committee or subcommittee held a hearing this week on something called “Threats to Reproductive Rights.” Melissa Ohden was there to provide some perspective, clarity, and honest language, which is hard to come by when the day’s theme includes the words “reproductive rights.”

You see, Melissa survived an attempt to abort her. “All of these people here today had a privilege that I was not given. And that is simply: the right to be born…” 

(If the video above is not displaying, look for it on the Facebook page for the Susan B. Anthony List under “videos.”)

I’ve written about her before in this blog’s “Voices to Trust” series. She continues to write and speak about her experiences, and to bring together other abortion survivors who want to tell their stories.

Her book You Carried Me is good to read and good to share. Maybe your local library, or your Member of Congress, could use a copy.

Do Exceptions Help, Politically?

A Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has passed the U.S. House and is on its way to the U.S. Senate. It would restrict abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a point at which there is evidence that the preborn child feels pain. That’s “restrict,” not “prevent.” The bill carries a rape-and-incest exception.


The ability to feel pain is not a function of the criminal activity of one’s biological father, so the exception undermines the whole science-is-on-our-side defense of Pain-Capable. Darlene Pawlik expands on the problematic nature of the exception in “I’m Pain-Capable, How ’bout You?

I appreciate the good intentions in this attempt to protect at least some children, and I’m not going to work for the defeat of a candidate solely on the basis of supporting Pain-Capable in its current form. I just have to wonder why the exception is in there. From a pragmatic point of view, does it gain any votes over a no-exceptions bill?

I don’t know, but I can recall a situation in New Hampshire last year when one abortion bill had no rape-and-incest exception while two others did. Was there a big difference in the results among those three votes? Not really. From my March 15, 2016 post:

There were three bills [in NH in 2016] to restrict mid- and late-term abortions. One of them, HB 1328, would have instituted a 20-week limit with an exception for abortions following rape or incest. The other bills would have limited abortions at viability (HB 1625) and at the point where the preborn child can feel pain (HB 1636). Was there any tactical advantage to including exceptions in one of the bills?

Not that I could see. Only seven representatives voted FOR the bill with exceptions and AGAINST the other two mid- and late-term bills. On the other hand, twelve representatives did the opposite, opposing the exceptions bill while supporting the HB 1625 and HB 1636.

All three of those bills failed, although HB 1625 – to prohibit abortion after viability, without a rape-and-incest exception – lost by only three votes.

Congressman Steve Scalise, the Republican Majority Whip, has acknowledged that passage of the Pain-Capable Act in Congress took some effort. I expect the same will be true in the Senate.

Whose Senate vote will be granted or withheld on the basis of exceptions language? Is there any tactical advantage to the exceptions? I don’t know, but what I saw in Concord in 2016 makes me wonder.

 

“Planned Bullyhood” Author Wins as Georgia Voters Send Handel to Congress

As of 10:30 p.m. on June 20, the Associated Press is reporting that Karen Handel has been elected to Congress from Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. Handel, a Republican, appears to have edged Democrat Jon Ossoff after a campaign that reportedly cost in aggregate about $50 million.

From my April post about Handel’s candidacy:

You’ll recall Handel as the ex-Susan G. Komen exec who probably still has Planned Parenthood’s tire marks all over her back.

In 2012, Handel was senior vice-president of public policy for Komen, a charity supporting research into breast cancer and ways to prevent it. The Komen leadership announced it would stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood, since PP’s work did not advance the Komen mission. No hard feelings on Komen’s part; this was strictly a business decision.

Planned Parenthood immediately went into full punishment mode. PP’s public attacks on Komen, including false claims that Komen was abandoning women, resulted in Komen caving in after only three days. Shame on them, then and now. Handel’s job was among the casualties as Komen attempted damage control.

Handel responded accordingly, with a book she called Planned Bullyhood. As an insider’s view of the 2012 situation, it’s unmatched.

“Planned Bullyhood” Author Runs for Congress from Georgia

Karen Handel, candidate for U.S. Congress from Georgia

Out of the corner of my eye, I’m seeing coverage of a special election in Georgia to fill a Congressional seat. There will be a runoff on June 20 between a well-funded Democrat and a Republican whose name rings a bell: Karen Handel.

You’ll recall Handel as the ex-Susan G. Komen exec who probably still has Planned Parenthood’s tire marks all over her back. 

In 2012, Handel was senior vice-president of public policy for Komen, a charity supporting research into breast cancer and ways to prevent it. The Komen leadership announced it would stop giving grants to Planned Parenthood, since PP’s work did not advance the Komen mission. No hard feelings on Komen’s part; this was strictly a business decision.

Planned Parenthood immediately went into full punishment mode. PP’s public attacks on Komen, including false claims that Komen was abandoning women, resulted in Komen caving in after only three days. Shame on them, then and now. Handel’s job was among the casualties as Komen attempted damage control.

Handel responded accordingly, with a book she called Planned BullyhoodAs an insider’s view of the 2012 situation, it’s unmatched.

Handel ran for U.S. Senate in 2014 and fell short. Now she’s facing an uphill battle in the current Congressional race.

I have no idea what she’s doing or saying as a candidate. The world is littered with nominal Republicans who reflexively chant “jobs-and-the-economy” when Dems call for public funding of abortion providers. I hope Handel hasn’t drifted into that lane.

In any case, now I have a reason to watch the Georgia race. PP’s political machine is no doubt revving up to run over Handel once again.

New contact info for N.H.’s federal reps

Update to the Hundred Days assignments: our federal representatives have been sworn in, and here are the ways to contact them.

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

To send an email, use the contact form on her Senate web page: http://www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/contact-jeanne

Washington, D.C. office: 506 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, phone 202-224-2841.

Sen. Shaheen has six offices in New Hampshire: Manchester, Nashua, Keene, Dover,  Berlin, and Claremont. Addresses and phone numbers are on her web site.

You can also communicate with her via Facebook and Twitter, @SenatorShaheen

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan

Sen. Maggie Hassan (nh.gov photo)

Contact Sen. Maggie Hassan using the contact form on her web site.

Washington, D.C. office: B85 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC 20510, phone 202-224-3324.

Manchester office: 1200 Elm Street, Suite 2, Manchester NH 03101

Facebook and Twitter: @SenatorHassan

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (First Congressional District)

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (congress.gov photo)

Email her via the contact page at her Congressional site, https://shea-porter.house.gov/contact.

Washington, D.C. office: 1530 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, 202-225-5456.

Dover office: 660 Central Ave., Dover NH 03820. Expect more offices to open in the coming months.

Facebook and Twitter: @RepSheaPorter

Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster (Second Congressional District)

Rep. Annie Kuster (photo from congress.gov)

Email contact form: https://kuster.house.gov/contact/email-me 

Washington, D.C. office: 137 Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC 20515, 202-225-5206.

Nashua office: 70 E. Pearl Street, Nashua NH 03060, 603-595-2006

Concord office: 18 N. Main Street, 4th floor, Concord NH 03301, 603-226-1002

Littleton Office: 33 Main St., Suite 202, Littleton NH 03561, 603-444-7700.

Tweet to her: @RepAnnieKuster