NH House 2015: returning pro-lifers

New Hampshire State HouseIn the weeks before the New Hampshire general election, I noted the names of the strongest pro-lifers on the ballot (here and here). How’d they do?

Extremely well. In a 400-member House, what difference can a small group make? Plenty, with time and persistence and the attention to one’s district that solidifies electoral support.

Six for six 

Seven state representatives cast pro-life votes on all six bills listed below. That includes voting to repeal the death penalty in New Hampshire, setting them apart from their other pro-life colleagues who aren’t ready to support repeal (and some of whom are in the forefront of fighting repeal). All seven were re-elected this week. Welcome back Reps. Bill Nelson, David Danielson, Robert Rowe, Donald LeBrun, Frank Kotowski, John O’Connor and Jeffrey Harris.

Other notable victories

What follows is not a complete list of pro-life victories from the recent election. There’s enough here to explain why I consider the recent election to be a Good Thing – capital G, capital T.

Voting pro-life on five of the bills below, and winning re-election: Keith Murphy, Ralph Boehm, Jeanine Notter, Tony Pellegrino, David Murotake, Dan McGuire, Joe Duarte, James Devine, and Kenneth Weyler.

Former representative Kevin Avard ousted Senator Peggy Gilmour. Avard’s strong pro-life record was no obstacle for him.

Roger Berube, the House’s lone consistently pro-life Democrat, will be back. Ditto for Leon Rideout and Griffin’s Law. So will J.R. Hoell, whose personhood bill sparked a conversation that continued at the Republican State Convention, where delegates adopted a personhood plank for the platform. (Oddly, the new platform has not yet made its way to the NHGOP web site. Perhaps party leaders aren’t as ready for the future as are the rank-and-file party activists.) Kathy Souza, who has been involved for decades in pro-life legislation as a citizen and an elected official, is back for another term.

At least five pro-life representatives who lost their seats in 2012 won them back in 2014. Others may yet win after recounts.

The president of New Hampshire Right to Life, Kurt Wuelper, was just elected to the House. Linda Gould, a NHRTL trustee, is a newly-elected representative who was her town’s top vote-getter. She outpolled veteran lawmakers to win one of her town’s six House seats.

Not a complete list, as I said, but it’s reason to celebrate. Alas, House and Senate lack veto-proof majorities. Nevertheless, Governor Hassan will have to play defense on the life issues next year. I don’t anticipate any signing ceremonies with a PP lobbyist over Hassan’s shoulder, like the one we were treated to when she signed the buffer zone law last June.

Some buffer zone supporters are now ex-reps

Twenty-three representatives who voted for the buffer zone law lost this week. Another nine are “on the bubble,” in races so close that a recount is likely.

That’s no more or less a “drop in the bucket” than the pro-life group I’ve mentioned. You can bet that abortion advocates would dearly love to have that drop back.


The bills from the 2014 session

HB 1501, strengthening public-health oversight of abortion facilities and requiring providers to have admitting privileges at an area hospital (bill was killed in House)
HB 1503, Griffin’s Law, a fetal-homicide bill; more than thirty states have such legislation (bill was gutted in House by changing original language; bill was then tabled in Senate)
HB 1504, the “All People Created Equal Act”, recognizing that life begins at conception (bill was killed in House)
HB 1325, legalizing assisted suicide (thankfully, the House killed this bill by a wide margin)
SB 319, establishing a no-silent-prayer “buffer” around abortion facilities (signed into law but not being enforced pending the outcome of a lawsuit)
HB 1107, death penalty repeal

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