Kathy Hill of Massachusetts works with post-abortive women seeking counseling and healing. She was the featured speaker at last weekend’s march for life in Concord, organized annually by New Hampshire Right to Life.
She said that on average, a woman who has had an abortion has only five people in her life who know about it. It’s often a secret. “She tries to disconnect from her story. Unfortunately, those triggers come back. Every [post-abortive] mother’s heart knows that she’s lost her child.”
Hill is a facilitator for Surrendering the Secret, an abortion recovery program, and is regional coordinator for Silent No More Awareness. The latter program is for women who regret their abortions and want to give public testimony about their experiences.
In Surrendering the Secret, she has worked with clients whose abortions were anywhere from two weeks to more than 40 years ago. The women are from all ages, races, and economic levels. Sixty percent claim religious affiliation, and according to Hill, “they want to hear the word ‘abortion’ from the pulpits” – otherwise they think what they’ve done is so horrible that even their pastors can’t utter the word.
Nine out of 10 post-abortive women aren’t aware that post-abortion healing programs exist. “Be my ambassadors, please,” urged Hill. She suggested looking at the Silent No More Awareness website to hear from some of the women who have recorded their testimonies. “Share what you learn.”
About 250 people marched from the State House plaza down Concord’s Main Street to Christ the King church hall for New Hampshire’s first post-Roe march for life. An overcast near-freezing day didn’t stop families from coming out for the observance.
Fr. Christian Tutor of NHRTL Education Trust spoke to the crowd before the march began. On encountering people who reject the right to life, he advised, “They no longer have to be in the darkness that governments or organizations say they have to be in. This is what we need to share. All of us can have mercy.” He urged peaceful action at all times, especially in the face of abuse: “say ‘I’ll pray for you.'”
Peaceful action marked the day. One police officer was on the plaza for the pre-march rally; he later got into a patrol car and drove up Main Street a couple of blocks at a time to guide traffic. There were no counterdemonstrators in front of the Equality Center on Main Street, and therefore no directions to the pro-life marchers to circle the block to avoid them, as has been the case during some past marches.
At the church hall after Mass, marchers were warmed by a lunch of soup and sandwiches, served by volunteers including sisters from Daughters of Mary, Mother of Healing Love. (They will always be The Running Nuns to me, even though their apostolate has changed since the days when they offered a successful racing/running program for behaviorally-challenged kids.)
Kurt Wuelper of NHRTL-PAC listed six pieces of state-level legislation that the PAC would monitor this year. The PAC will oppose CACR 2, enacting state-constitutional protection for abortion; HB 224, removing penalties for violations of the Fetal Life Protection Act (FLPA); and HB 271, repealing FLPA altogether. The PAC will support HB 591, a heartbeat bill that would amount to a post-six-week abortion limitation; HB 562, informed consent for abortion; and HB 346, a born-alive bill. (Watch this blog for coverage of these bills. Hearings have not yet been scheduled.)
“Dobbs has opened the door – that’s all it did – to enable us to have the conversations” about life, said Wuelper. A former state representative from Strafford County, he chalks up his loss last year to redistricting, and he said the loss gives him more time to concentrate on the pro-life work he’s doing now.
Jason Hennessey, NHRTL president, noted the pro-life victories achieved in recent years, including the Executive Council rejecting contracts with abortion providers. “The Executive Council has been amazing.” He cited passage of FPLA, and applauded the end of efforts by Manchester’s Catholic Medical Center to pursue an affiliation with abortion-friendly Dartmouth Health. “Abortion isn’t health care.” He stressed the importance of effective messaging, and said that NHRTL would be offering training in how to testify at hearings on life-issue bills and policies.
Norm Thibault, campaign leader for 40 Days for Life in Manchester, announced that the next campaign will begin on February 22, with signups for vigil hours available now (see 40daysforlife.com).
Ron Bourque of the Knights of Columbus in Salem presented Fr. Tutor with a $5000 donation to the NHRTL Educational Trust. The Salem council has raised funds to donate nine ultrasound machines to pregnancy care centers in the region, as far north as Littleton.