Tag Archives: women’s health

Planned Parenthood Leader’s Revealing Tweet

I don’t follow Cecile Richards on Twitter; life’s too short. I do follow David Daleiden, though, ever since his Center for Medical Progress videos documented the baby-parts business in some Planned Parenthood affiliates. Daleiden recently re-tweeted something from Richards.

In case the embedded tweet doesn’t show up for you, @CecileRichards on March 6 said, “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion – a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.”

@DavidDaleiden’s re-tweet: “Today @CecileRichards admitted that abortion is equally important to @PPact as cancer screenings. So much for ‘only 3%’ #PPSellsBabyParts”

Save this. The next time a PP contract comes before the Executive Council, every Councilor needs to see Richards’ tweet, preferably about 500 times over.

If you understand that abortion is not health care, save this.

If you understand that PP’s business model depends on using its patients as human shields (give-us-a-contract-or-else-we’ll-deny-cancer-screenings-to-women), save this.

If you understand that PP uses its supposedly non-abortion contract funds for “infrastructure” at facilities where abortion is performed, save this.  Don’t take my word for it; New Hampshire’s HHS commissioner is the one who let that slip during a public Executive Council meeting last year. Infrastructure is just a four-syllable way of saying “overhead.”

Cecile Richards says that abortion is “vital” (ironic use of a word whose Latin root means “life”) to PP’s mission.

There’s no excuse for forgetting that.


Update: abortion stats bill retained

New Hampshire House Bill 471, abortion statistics, has been retained in committee and will not get a vote in the full House until 2018.  This is a step sideways, but it keeps the bill alive.

A subcommittee is likely to work on the bill between now and January. I’ll watch for those work session dates.

This is 2015 all over again, when the last statistics bill (HB 629) was retained. A subcommittee assigned to work on the bill had six work sessions between May and October 2015. They produced what I thought was an improved bill that enjoyed bipartisan support. The full House passed the resulting version of HB 629 on a voice vote in January 2016.

Then the state Department of Health and Human Services got a new commissioner, who yanked the Department’s participation in crafting the bill. Planned Parenthood, whose representative had attended the work sessions (I know because I attended them as well), refused to support the amended bill. That was enough to prompt a pair of Republican senators to join ten Democrats in voting against HB 629. That tied the vote at 12-12 in the Senate in May 2016, and the bill then died after being tabled. 

That was then; this is now. Under House rules for retained bills, HB 471 must come back for a House vote next year. Last time around, the House did its job: careful study with involvement from a variety of stakeholders, yielding a bipartisan bill so strong it passed without debate. I expect no less from them this time with HB 471. The Senate will then have a chance to redeem itself from 2016’s fiasco.

This week’s hearings, part 2: buffer zone repeal

“The cloud of litigation has been cleared,” according to Senator Donna Soucy, in a letter from her to the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee. Rep. Karen Ebel read the senator’s letter into the record during a February 1  hearing on repeal of the buffer zone law, of which Soucy was the prime sponsor in 2014.

The litigation of which Soucy wrote is Reddy v. Foster. She considers it “cleared” because of the recent First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmation that challenges to the buffer zone law are premature since the law has not yet been enforced.

No pro-life witnesses standing or walking peacefully outside an abortion facility in New Hampshire have been arrested or cited under the buffer zone law, and that clears the way to enforcing the law. Got that?

“We will begin to work with police and law enforcement”

Senator Soucy’s letter was in opposition to HB 589, the third repeal attempt to be introduced since the law was signed. The testimony on both sides was familiar to anyone who has attended hearings on the earlier repeal efforts. One thing was new: the hints from Senator Soucy and Planned Parenthood Action Fund lobbyist Kayla Montgomery that the zones are on the way – since, after all, “the cloud of litigation has been cleared.”

In response to Rep. Claire Rouillard’s question about whether zones had been posted outside any abortion facilities yet, Montgomery replied, “We will begin to work with police and law enforcement to see what’s best for each community.”

That’s a grim hoot. Regardless of anything police might say, neither they or any other municipal or state authority can prevent an abortion facility manager from posting a buffer zone, within which First Amendment rights on public property are abrogated. The law delegates that right to the abortion facility.

When the buffer zone law was still a bill and got its executive session in front of this Judiciary committee, then-Rep. Robert Rowe suggested to his colleagues that the bill include a provision for, at a minimum, some kind of public hearing before a zone could go up. His colleagues rejected the idea so firmly that Rowe didn’t even bring forward a formal motion. “Too much local control,” said one Judiciary member who has since left the House.  “Don’t give a local board the power to override state statute,” said Rep. Timothy Horrigan at the time; he is still on Judiciary.

So go ahead, law enforcement officials, and let yourself be worked with. Just please don’t kid yourself that you play a substantive role in the creation of the zones you’ll be called upon to enforce.

PP greeter describes frightening incident; were police called?

At this week’s hearing, a volunteer greeter from Planned Parenthood in Manchester testified against repeal. She made it clear she was testifying for herself, not for PPNNE. She described an unsettling incident where she witnessed a client surrounded and blocked by what she called pro-life protesters, temporarily preventing the client from entering the building. Scary, no doubt – at least that’s how I’d feel in such a situation. I’d call the cops.

Was that done in the situation described by the greeter? She had witnessed a blockade – a citable offense, however brief – and she was concerned for the patients’ safety. She must have known that PP’s Manchester office has cameras trained on the sidewalk, possibly capturing the incident and making prosecution easier. So were the police called?

She didn’t say.

Massachusetts abortion providers learned the hard way what happens when buffer zone laws are imposed before existing laws against harassment, disorderly conduct, or criminal threatening are enforced.

I am sure that the greeter who testified wasn’t making up the story. As I listened to her, though, it occurred to me that in some contexts, where a person is being threatened with harm, someone who sees that and fails to report it to authorities is subject to prosecution. This is certainly the case where children and vulnerable elders are concerned. Healthy, unimpaired adults don’t get the same protection, since the law assumes such adults can call for help themselves.

I am left wondering why any New Hampshire health care provider, or an agent of that provider, who believes clients are being threatened does not call police to deal with the threat.

Video, and the fear of it

The PP greeter said she recently saw someone she identified as a pro-lifer on the sidewalk wearing a webcam. That scared her. She’s worried about privacy. She doesn’t want herself or PP’s clients or employees being shown on someone else’s social media.

I understand her concern. There are two ways of looking at video, though. She saw the webcam as a threat, something offensive. There were other cameras present she didn’t talk about, mounted on the PP building in Manchester. Did she see those as a threat to privacy? Not likely. She probably considers them a defensive measure.

Rep. Kathy Souza reminded the committee at the hearing that Manchester’s PP has those sidewalk cameras, and video of sidewalk activity is available to legislators and law enforcement officials.

Have the committee members seen any such videos? Will they seek them out or consider them relevant? We don’t know.

Since the passage of the buffer zone law, I’ve participated in 40 Days for Life campaigns at various locations. I never come to a vigil without a camera of some kind, usually the one on my phone. I have it as a defensive measure. I often keep vigil alone during 40DFL (which is a terrible idea, but that’s one consequence of taking the 7 a.m. shift). If there is any incident on the public sidewalk that threatens me or appears to be threatening anyone else, I am going to do two things: call 911, and use the camera to document whatever I can.  A commitment to nonviolence doesn’t equate to a commitment to leave my phone and its camera at home.

To me, that’s playing defense. To any person whose actions I might document, it would look like offense.

Was defense the reason why the man spotted by the greeter was wearing a webcam? I don’t know, and neither does she.  If he were to be a person whose camera was meant as a tool of intimidation and invasion of privacy, no buffer zone law would deter him. He’d just step out of the zone (“up to” 25 feet away, per the law) and invest in a zoom lens, and keep right on filming – until someone calls the police to enforce existing laws against harassment and threatening.

Which brings us back to buffer zone repeal. The purported need for a New Hampshire buffer zone law was and is unsupported by any law enforcement records from recent years. Peaceful pro-life witnesses have not drawn attention from law enforcement – and anyone determined to commit violence is not going to be deterred by the presence or absence of a few signs.

That’s just as sobering a thought for the people on the sidewalks as it is for the people using the “buffered” facilities.

What would genuine concern for safety look like?

Can the state of New Hampshire delegate to private entities the right to control First Amendment activities on public sidewalks and rights-of-way?

The buffer zone law does not require those private entities – the abortion providers – to prove any danger or threat before posting a zone. Providers could post one simply because they don’t like the presence of silent pro-life demonstrators or peaceful sidewalk counselors.

That’s how we know that the buffer zone law is not about protecting anyone’s safety.

An abortion provider concerned about patient safety would call law enforcement without hesitation, with or without a buffer zone in place, anytime a patient expressed fear about sidewalk activity. (Such a provider would also welcome more scrutiny from public health officials, but that’s another story.) That hasn’t been happening.

The sponsors of this year’s buffer zone repeal bill know this. They are doing their best to make the case that protecting people in and around abortion facilities is going to mean enforcing laws that were in place long before Senator Soucy started buffering things.


House hearings coming on abortion stats, fetal homicide

On Tuesday, February 7,  2017, New Hampshire House committees will take public testimony on two important bills.

11 a.m.: HB 471, abortion statistics collection. The hearing will be at the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building on State Street behind the State House in Concord.

2:30 p.m.: HB 156, a fetal homicide bill. This differs from the Senate’s fetal homicide bill in that it could be used in cases of fetal death much earlier in pregnancy (8 weeks). This one will get a hearing in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.

I refuse to cast aspersions on the Senators backing a different, viability-based fetal homicide bill. For now, suffice it to say that the House version is stronger.

This blog’s page on New Hampshire Fetal Homicide Bills collects pretty much everything I’ve posted on the subject since 2012. If you’re looking for background on such legislation in the Granite State, help yourself.

Incidentally, former Rep. Leon Rideout today forwarded to me a clip from an email he received from ACLU-NH, which is calling on its supporters to crowd the hearing room wearing buttons in opposition to HB 156.  I’ll be there, countering silently with my Griffin’s Law pin. Griffin was Rep. Rideout’s grandson.


As for abortion statistics, a post from last May will bring you up to date on the legislative environment that has kept stats from being collected in New Hampshire.

Weekend reading: “The Pro-Choice Case for Pregnancy Centers”

This weekend’s recommended reading is from Ardee Coolidge of Care Net, on the pro-choice case for pro-life pregnancy centers.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood, the vast majority of women who choose abortion do so because of financial concerns, employment concerns, or problems with the baby’s father. Frederica Mathewes-Green once famously said of abortion, “[D]o women want abortion? Not like she wants a Porsche or an ice cream cone. Like an animal caught in a trap, trying to gnaw off its own leg, a woman who seeks an abortion is trying to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss.” Indeed, even abortion providers have used her assessment to describe the brutal “necessity” of abortion access for women who have no other apparent choice.

Pregnancy centers provide women with the material support they need to be free to make another choice—one free from the pressures of a desperate situation. At pregnancy centers, women receive job-placement counseling, baby supplies, ultrasounds, and parenting classes. For those who wish to place a child for adoption, they receive resources to assist them with that transition.

Pregnancy centers are not a threat to choice, but are a threat to abortion.

Read the full post. 

The First Amendment is soooo intimidating

I’m not trying to beat the New Hampshire gubernatorial race to death; it just seems that way. I’ll stop after this post, at least until the election’s over. File this one away until the next time a contract with New Hampshire’s leading abortion provider comes up at the State House.

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) has gone after Mr. Sununu for his statement that he would back a few commonsense policies including repeal of the buffer zone law. Yes, THAT buffer zone law, enacted but never used because every abortion provider in the state knows that the law in its present form would be doomed in court.

PPNHAF statement here

I’m sorry I haven’t the time on this pre-election Sunday to fisk the full statement. I’ll settle for pointing out its references to the First Amendment rights of New Hampshire women and men.

The PP statement says “Chris Sununu said he’d…allow harassment of women seeking health care” and would “turn a blind eye to intimidation of women seeking health care by rejecting the bipartisan enactment of New Hampshire’s Buffer Zone law.”

Equating the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights with “harassment of women” is as egregious as equating “health care” with public funding of PP. I don’t know whether or not the irony is lost on PP’s target here.

If Mr. Sununu is “turning a blind eye to intimidation”, then so are the police departments in every New Hampshire community with an abortion facility. During the hearings on passage of the buffer zone in 2014, not one police department representative could be found to testify about problems with abortion-facility demonstrations that couldn’t be addressed via existing law. 

That was the fatal flaw in the Massachusetts buffer zone law thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in McCullen v. Coakley: Massachusetts failed to use existing laws to address demonstrators’ behavior before abrogating the demonstrators’ First Amendment rights.

The safety of women entering or working in an abortion facility, like the safety of women demonstrating outside, cannot be protected or enhanced by nullifying the First Amendment on public property adjacent to abortion facilities.  That’s what the buffer zone law seeks to do. The “bipartisan enactment” was bipartisan error.

No one has good reason to fear the peaceful exercise of First Amendment rights. Rejecting New Hampshire’s yet-unenforced buffer zone law means rejecting that fear. Embracing the law means giving in to that fear.

Come to think of it, if opposition to buffer zones is tantamount to intimidating women, how come no PP facility in New Hampshire has posted a zone? PP worked for the law’s enactment, but has thus far declined to use it.

With less than a week to go before the election, PP’s statement is likely to get lost in the flood of overheated press releases coming from all sides. It’s worth remembering, though. PP is free to advocate for whatever it wants, including abrogation of constitutional rights. Governors and Executive Councilors are free to take that into consideration when the agency comes looking for its next contract.

PPNHAF has endorsed the Democratic candidates for Governor and Executive Council, all of whom we may therefore presume are committed to keeping the buffer zone law on the books.