NH’s most underrated pro-life activists, and other 2013 attaboys

No trophies, no certificates on parchment, no red carpet: just credit where it’s due.

“at·ta·boy (noun): a piece of encouragement or congratulations.”

Most underrated activists

New Hampshire’s most underrated pro-life activists for 2013: Cathy Kelley and the volunteers at the Pray for Life Center in Manchester. I don’t choose them for the Center itself or for the Pennacook Pregnancy Center they’re developing. Instead, I note their unique contribution to moving New Hampshire past Roe v. Wade: the weekly written account of what the volunteers see outside PP on “abortion days.”  PFLC’s updates keep me mindful of the sheer number of people involved in an abortion besides the child: a mother, usually just wanting to get into the building without talking to anyone; a companion, sometimes a boyfriend, often willing to talk (politely or not) with people praying on the sidewalk; the provider with out-of-state plates coming in for the day’s work; occasionally an ambulance crew, perhaps following up on a complication about which public health authorities will hear nothing.

The state of New Hampshire isn’t documenting anything about abortion. With their anecdotes and observations, as limited and sketchy as they must be, PFLC volunteers try to fill in some blanks.

Honorable mention

Attorney Michael Tierney and the New Hampshire Right to Life Committee have persistently tried to find out if PPNNE is held to the same standards as other HHS contractors when it comes to dispensing prescription drugs. Their inquiries date back to the 2011 Title X contract dispute. This is the off-the-radar stuff of administrative hearings and oft-delayed court dates. The New Hampshire Supreme Court will hear arguments next month on whether NHRTL has any standing to challenge the state Board of Pharmacy’s decisions regarding PPNNE.

A post about the same team: Pro-life doctors, ADF call on NH to investigate PPNNE’s use of chemical abortion drugs

Biggest legislative surprise

With a pro-abortion majority in the New Hampshire House, passage of a resolution cheering for the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision looked like a foregone conclusion last January. Instead, HR 6 died with a whimper after being tabled in March. The committee hearing on the bill ended with an all-but-unheard-of tie vote, and the resolution went to the full House without recommendation. The House voted 239-111 (without a roll call) to table the resolution, and it died when the House adjourned in June. 

In the March 15 House Calendar, Rep. Don LeBrun (R-Nashua) was allotted a paragraph to sum up the arguments against the resolution. He rose to the occasion:

“Americans are sharply divided on the issue of abortion. HR 6 will further divide the House of Representatives and citizens of New Hampshire. The resolution serves no end, other than a political one. It will inflict unnecessary emotional stress on those who have chosen to have an abortion and now regret their action. While legal, this resolution in essence, celebrates the destruction of over [50] million pre-born children. It sends a message to our youth, that life is meaningless, and may be terminated when they see no value in life.”

(The calendar contained a misprint, reporting 500 million dead instead of 50 million since Roe.)

Earlier Leaven posts on HR 6: NH Pro-Roe Resolution is Full of Contradictions, Surprise! NH Roe Resolution: Tie Vote in Committee, NH House Pro-Roe Resolution Tabled

Honorable mention, legislators

Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton), at 2013 Concord March for Life
Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton), at 2013 Concord March for Life

The same day and time that HR 6 had its hearing before the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs committee, an informed consent bill was being heard down the hall in Judiciary. Rep. Jane Cormier (R-Alton) introduced HB 483, the Abortion Information Act, which was killed on a roll call vote the same day HR 6 was tabled. (See the breakdown of the 229-121 vote here. The motion was “inexpedient to legislate,” so a “yes” vote was a vote to kill the bill.) HB 483 was co-sponsored by Rep. Lenette Peterson (R-Merrimack). Cormier and Peterson did their best to make the case that women’s health should get more attention. “Pro-choice means pro-information,” said Cormier to her colleagues before the vote. Unfortunately, she was dealing with a tough crowd.

Cormier’s bill called for regulation of abortion facilities in a manner consistent with Roe. Nothing in her bill would have undermined a “right” to abortion. Abortion advocates fought the bill anyway, thus demonstrating what extremism looks like, if anyone running for office in ’14 wishes to take notice.

Earlier posts about HB 483: Three things your rep should know about informed consent; NH House rejects informed consent again

Most worthwhile trip out of town


The national March for Life last January was the first one I’d been to in many years. My husband and I came to lend our voices to the hundreds of thousands of people who came to affirm life in the face of a pro-abortion government. We got more than we gave, as the huge number of high-school and college-age students showed us that the pro-life movement is growing in the rising generation. I give two thumbs up to everyone who helps arrange bus transportation for Marchers from New Hampshire.

Best reading

My favorite book this year was a 2007 publication. Eric Metaxas‘s Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery (HarperOne, 2007, ISBN 9780061173882) reminds me what real persistence looks like. Wilberforce spent most of his adult life attacking England’s participation in the slave trade. Two centuries later, the way he went about his work can serve as an example to anyone working to affirm the dignity of human life. I wrote a brief review of the book last spring.

Best  pro-life speakers

Speaking of Eric Metaxas, his speech at CPAC in Washington last March was one of the highlights of my trip there . After two days of hearing too-few conservative speakers give social issues their rightful place, Metaxas took the mic the final morning of the conference and absolutely rocked the house.

Locally, the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women invited Star Parker to keynote this year’s Lilac Luncheon in Nashua. Just … wow. An excerpt:

“The top three social crises confronting us are rooted in social matters: AIDS, abortion, and entire welfare state. …The first question conservatives should be asking is ‘what is wrong with our nation, and how do we fix it?’ Our nation was designed to be free under God, and we’ve lost our way.”

Finally …

I notice that Tierney and Cormier made my 2012 list, too, for different reasons. I hope they don’t mind.

Culture-of-life coverage in 2014 will inevitably include reports on political campaigns, with a U.S. Senate race on top of the usual New Hampshire contests. Through this blog, I’m committed to reporting on how candidates address the life issues, particularly for the Senate race. A year from now, it would be good if I were to need a category in my year-end post for “most surprising pro-life victory.”

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