Life-issue bills: NH Senate to vote on committee recommendations this week

The New Hampshire Senate will meet Thursday, May 27 at 10 a.m. to consider Judiciary Committee recommendations on two life-issue bills.

HB 625, Fetal Life Protection Act

The Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 along party lines (GOP majority) to recommend Ought to Pass with Amendment on HB 625, concerning late-term abortions.

The committee – including Sen. William Gannon – did not recommend adding an exception for eugenic abortion. (See this blog’s earlier report on the bill.) Cornerstone Action, which favors HB 625, posted a report worth reading in full, outlining the committee’s actions and giving a call to action.

From the Cornerstone message: Contact your Senator now and ask him or her to support a floor amendment adopting—at minimum—the severability and ‘physician requirement’ sections of the Birdsell amendment. These changes are critical to protecting the bill [HB 625], both in court and against a possible veto.

HB 233, Born-Alive Infant Protection

A born-alive infant protection bill will not pass the year, with the Senate Judiciary Committee voting to re-refer HB 233.

Re-referral is the Senate’s version of what the House calls “retaining” a bill. The procedure keeps a bill in committee for the remainder of the calendar year, preventing a full-Senate vote until 2022.

The Senate’s May 27 session will be streamed online at http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00286/Harmony/en/View/Calendar/20210527/-1. This link will not be live until the session begins.

40 Days for Life begins today

Four New Hampshire locations are sites for 40 Days for Life campaigns beginning Ash Wednesday, February 17, lasting until Sunday, March 28. Each campaign features peaceful pro-life witness outside abortion facilities, along with prayer, fasting, and community outreach.

For more information about each campaign and about the global 40 Days for Life project, go to these links. Note that each campaign has its own vigil calendar, where volunteers can sign up. Each campaign also has its own special events schedule.

Statement of Peace

The 40DFL Statement of Peace, signed by all participants, is an integral part of the campaign. Among the commitments: I will only pursue peaceful, law-abiding solutions to the violence of abortion when volunteering with the 40 Days for Life campaign…I understand that breaking the law or acting in a violent or harmful manner immediately and completely disassociates me from the 40 Days for Life campaign.

What 40DFL is and isn’t

40 Days for Life aims to end abortion locally through prayer and fasting, community outreach, and – in its most visible work – peaceful vigil outside abortion facilities.

Civil disobedience is not part of 40 Days for Life. It’s about witness, not protest.

Also, it’s not about ignoring COVID. Volunteers are directed to observe appropriate protocols including social distancing. A volunteer who becomes ill or is exposed to COVID is expected to stay home rather than attend the vigil.

Anyone whose health concerns make participation in group events inadvisable can pray and fast from home, joining in spirit those who are keeping vigil on the sidewalks. Remote witness sounds like a contradiction in terms to anyone unfamiliar with the contemplative tradition, but that’s what some of us have done in COVID time. Has this weakened 40DFL? Hardly. This campaign is taking place in 567 locations around the world, making it the largest spring campaign since 40DFL began in 2007.

Virtual March for Life and Related Events

In lieu of the usual March for Life in Washington this year, the national March for Life team has scheduled several online events. Other groups whose gatherings usually coincide with the March are doing likewise. Some require registration for online viewing. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.

March for Life Education & Defense Fund

Thursday, January 28: Capitol Hill 101. A free seminar about lobbying elected representatives at federal, state, and local levels. At the time of this post, openings were still available for viewings at noon and 5 p.m. Register here.

Friday, January 29, noon: Virtual March for Life Rally. The rally will be live-streamed. RSVP for a link to the coverage.

Friday, January 29, 7 p.m.: Rose Dinner Gala, with keynote speaker Tim Tebow. Fix your own dinner, & enjoy the speakers online. Tickets are $25.

Alternatives to the “side rallies”

During my last three trips to the national March for Life, I skipped the main rally in favor of the New Wave Feminists gathering in front of the Air and Space Museum. I meet people I don’t ordinarily hear from, who have experiences very different from mine. All we have in common is that we’re pro-life human beings. I’ll miss them this year. I’m guessing – but this isn’t a sure thing – that NWF and some other groups will have something going on via Facebook at midday on the 29th. Pages: New Wave Feminists, Democrats for Life of America, Rehumanize International, Secular Pro-Life.

Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life

This annual event is the nation’s largest student-run pro-life event, thanks to the work of students at Georgetown University in Washington. It will take place online via Zoom on Saturday, January 30 with keynote speaker Aimee Murphy of Rehumanize International. Panelists include Reggie Littlejohn of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers and Sister Deidre Byrne, among other distinguished activists.

Registration for the Zoom conference costs $10. Best deal you’ll find all day.

Be sure to check out the Conference’s Facebook page, which already has some speakers’ videos posted.

I wrote about the 2018 O’Connor conference with some impressions of the day.

National Review Institute: Reframing End-of-Life Care During COVID

Wednesday, January 27 at 6 p.m., the National Review Institute and the Catholic Information Center will host an online panel discussion of what moderator Kathryn Jean Lopez calls “the need for a revolution of love in end-of-life care.” For more information and registration (free) go to the event page at cicdc.org.

40 Days for Life Sign-Up Day

The next 40 Days for Life campaign begins on February 17. National 40DFL leadership is observing the virtual March for Life by declaring January 29 “Sign-Up Day” and encouraging people to spend part of the day in peaceful witness outside an abortion facility.

New Hampshire will have campaigns in four locations: Manchester, Concord, Greenland, and Keene. For more information, go to 40daysforlife.com and search for the location nearest you.

“I grow weary of those who ask us to slow down”

Adapted from a 2015 post on this blog.

Peaceful pro-life witness is not Activism Lite.

Recall what peaceful witness called for in 1963, in the face of angry and sometimes violent resistance that had deep political and social roots. Recall Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words from those days: I grow weary of those who ask us to slow down.

Continue reading ““I grow weary of those who ask us to slow down””

An Alternative Pilgrimage

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester has released Pilgrims for Life: a digital guide for prayer and advocacy, which “offers ideas and resources for us to continue our strong, Pro-Life advocacy even though we won’t be boarding busses [sic] to D.C. this coming January.”

Some of us have wondered whether COVID concerns might affect diocesan-sponsored transportation to the January March for Life in Washington DC. Now we know. I’m a little sad, but not surprised. I’ve been on some of those diocesan pilgrimages to past Marches, and “social distancing” is at best an amusing notion in that environment.

The March goes on

The national March for Life itself is still scheduled for January 29, 2021, regardless of how scarce bus transportation might be. The Roe v. Wade decision will be 48 years old on January 22, and it still needs to be challenged socially as well as judicially. There’s no word yet about New Hampshire’s own 2021 pro-life rally and march in Concord, which is usually scheduled and managed by New Hampshire Right to Life independent of the national event.

While the annual diocesan bus caravan has always carried hundreds of people to the national March, it’s not the only way to get to Washington. Some faith communities arrange their own bus or carpool. I’ve taken the train from Boston to Washington, overnight both ways. I’ve flown down and back in a day, when I’ve found deep-discount airfares. There’s always I-95. If you want to get to the March for Life, you have options.

Pray, Advocate, Unite

The Pilgrims for Life program is not a virtual march. (I like it already.) It is intended to be an ongoing program of prayer, advocacy, and unity leading up to the March, to “build up a culture of life in New Hampshire and beyond.” To summarize briefly the 13-page guide:

Prayer will include special services at churches throughout the diocese in mid to late January.

Advocacy includes taking action on relevant public policy issues, including life-issue bills in Concord.

Unity – “unit[ing] our intentions, prayers, and actions around the same cause” – includes a suggestion to take the money one would otherwise have spent on a trip to Washington and donating it instead to a pro-life cause. I love that idea. A DC trip for me, even a one-day down-and-back sprint, is easily $200. That includes a couple of bucks for an indispensable hot pretzel purchased from a vendor on the National Mall. (I travel in style.)

The guide has many more ideas for your consideration.

What’s your plan?

If your own church or community group decides to head down to the March, let me know. I’d like to hear about your experience. If you typically make the trip but decide to forgo it in 2021, I’d like to know if you decide to participate in a local effort instead.

I still haven’t decided on whether to travel to Washington for the March. It is an extraordinary opportunity to meet and learn from people from different backgrounds with different pro-life ministries. If I go, I’ll cover it for my readers as usual. If I skip the trip, I’m confident there will be plenty to write about here at home.

For more information: Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, Respect Life and Pilgrims for Life