Good thing Hassan has assistants: a letter from “Citizen Services”

New Hampshire State HouseI got a form letter from one of Governor Hassan’s assistants a month ago, replying to the message I sent the Governor in June asking her not to sign the buffer zone bill. The Governor signed the bill on June 10. The letter I received from her office is dated August 13. It’s notable for what it says and for what it doesn’t say.

Thank you for contacting the Office of Governor Margaret W. Hassan in regards to SB 319. Governor Hassan believes that women, in consultation with their doctors, are best positioned to make their own health care decisions. This will be her guiding principle as she considers healthcare policy. She believes women should be able to access critical health services without fearing for their safety, and this common-sense, bipartisan measure will help ensure the privacy and safety of both patients and the public. When women and their families can make their own health care and family planning choices, they do better economically, and the economy of our entire state and nation does better. Governor Hassan knows that contraception costs are one of the biggest expenses for women and their families, and she believes affordable access to this basic health care coverage is critical to the economic security of women and families. Bipartisan majorities of the New Hampshire House and Senate believed New Hampshire needed to take action to ensure that women could access health care free from harassment, obstruction or threats to safety and the Governor will continue to work toward meeting that goal. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with the Governor’s Office. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with your ideas or if we can be of further assistance. /s/ Mariann White, Assistant Director of Citizen Services

That’s very similar to the Governor’s statement upon signing the buffer zone bill. The Governor did say one thing in June that didn’t make it into the August letter: she thanked assorted supporters of the bill “for their input to narrowly tailor the bill to protect the rights of Granite Staters.” Her claim of narrow tailoring was effectively exposed as a joke when the Supreme Court struck down the Massachusetts buffer zone law on which the New Hampshire law is based. Massachusetts’s abortion-happy legislators had to go back to the drawing board to find a way to accommodate that pesky federal Bill of Rights.

The First Amendment didn’t rate even a passing reference in the Governor’s assistant’s letter. What did?

  • “Critical health services.” In other words, cancer screening and contraception and abortion are all “critical.” Huh? The intentional direct taking of human life has nothing to do with “health.” Sure would be nice to hear some candidates say so.
  • “Access…privacy…safety.” No mention that laws are already on the books against blocking access, against harassment including invasion of privacy, against violence. That was what doomed Massachusetts’s original buffer zone law – the failure to enforce existing laws first.
  • “Contraception costs …” How, precisely, does this figure into a law banning free speech including silent prayer?
  • “Affordable access to basic health care coverage is critical to the economic security of women and families.” Knowing that abortion is part of what Her Excellency (seriously, that’s her title, according to the state constitution) defines as “health care,” she’s saying – excuse me, her assistant is saying – that kids are disposable if they come up short in a woman’s cost-benefit analysis.
  • “…without fearing for their safety…” In the fantasy world occupied by the Governor and supporters of the buffer zone law, people standing in silent witness outside an abortion facility are no different from people entering an abortion facility bent on murdering the employees. I don’t care if there’s a bipartisan majority buying into such slanderous nonsense in an attempt to marginalize peaceful activists. It’s nonsense all the same. In the real world, peaceful witnesses have just as much reason to fear violence as do an abortion facility’s employees.
  • Governor Hassan didn’t even bother to sign her own name to the letter. I guess she’s too busy running for re-election to answer personally any concerns about the nullification of the First Amendment.

I’ll save this letter. It’ll help me keep focus in the maelstrom of election season. If I’m tempted to wander off into the weeds around her opponent’s real or imagined flaws, I’ll pull out the letter to remind myself what we’re in for if Maggie Hassan gets another term.

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