Buffer zone, conscience bills will get Senate votes May 5

The New Hampshire Senate at its May 5 session is scheduled to act on committee reports recommending passage for buffer zone repeal (HB 1625) and interim study of medical conscience protection (HB 1080).

Find your senator’s contact information at http://gencourt.state.nh.us/senate/members/wml.aspx

Buffer zone repeal got an “Ought to Pass” (OTP) recommendation from the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote. The House has already passed HB 1625, so if the Senate votes OTP, the next destination for the bill would be Governor Sununu’s desk.

Medical conscience – including the right not to suffer adverse professional consequences for refusing to participate in abortions – got an unfortunate “Interim Study” recommendation on a 4-1 vote from the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. An interim study vote by the Senate would kill HB 1080 for this session. Ideally, senators will overturn the Interim Study recommendation and instead adopt an OTP motion.

The Senate session will be live-streamed on YouTube Thursday, May 5 at 10 a.m.

House session May 4-5

The House will have a two-day session next week. Among the bills on the calendar is SB 399, clarifying the ultrasound provision of the Fetal Life Protection Act (FLPA). It matches HB 1673, which has already passed. SB 399 is on the consent calendar after getting a unanimous 21-0 OTP vote from the House Judiciary Committee.

While this looks like good news, bear in mind that Governor Sununu has indicated his preference for HB 1609, which has already passed House and Senate. HB 1609 clarifies FLPA’s ultrasound provision, but also adds a eugenics exception (for “fetal abnormalities incompatible with life”) to FLPA’s 24-week abortion limitation.

Post header photo of NH Senate chamber: Marc Nozell, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Enduring work: two ministries going strong

Part of a series marking the tenth anniversary of the Leaven for the Loaf blog.

A pair of ambitious pro-life projects launched within weeks of this blog’s first post. I heralded both of them as promising efforts. Where are they ten years later?

Still in business, going strong.

And Then There Were None

A former abortion worker herself, Abby Johnson recognized the practical, legal, emotional, and spiritual assistance a person needs in order to leave the abortion industry. In June 2012, she announced the creation of a nonprofit organization called And Then There Were None (ATTWN) to provide those services.

Today, ten years later, ATTWN has helped more than six hundred abortion workers who chose to leave their jobs – “quitters,” as they call themselves. Some have shared their stories on the ATTWN website, abortionworker.com.

The site highlights a few metrics that raise red flags about the industry’s treatment of workers: 33% of the “quitters” report that they didn’t have the necessary certification or qualifications to perform a task they were assigned; 18% were told to perform something illegal; 18% have attempted suicide. Yet even under such stress, a person who relies on abortion-industry employment in order to support a family can feel stuck. ATTWN offers resources that can open up options.

I interviewed a couple of ATTWN workers a few years ago, and I asked them about their approach to abortion workers: “we love them out,” they told me.

See abortionworker.com to learn more about ATTWN.

Charlotte Lozier Institute

Before the Charlotte Lozier Institute was founded, no single pro-life organization was dedicated to the kind of research on which policymakers could rely. Today, with a large staff of employees and an impressive roster of scholars, CLI sponsors and promotes research on a broad range of life issues and healthcare policy.

Once upon a time, the Guttmacher Institute – a onetime Planned Parenthood project – was the only place where journalists, activists, and legislators could find facts and figures about abortion. That’s no longer the case.

From CLI’s website: “The Charlotte Lozier Institute is committed to bringing the power of science, medicine, and research to bear in life-related policy making, media, and debates  to promote a culture and polity of life. In just over a decade, CLI has established itself as a go-to source for accurate and timely research and information on life issues. With a current network of nearly seventy Associate Scholars from a variety of disciplines, CLI provides pro-life groups and policy makers research-based information of the highest quality on issues including abortion, women’s health, prenatal diagnosis and treatment for the unborn, perinatal hospice, abortion reporting, sex-selection abortion, stem cell research and medicine, and health care policy.”

Go to lozierinstitute.org to check out some of CLI’s published research. Make sure your legislators know about this resource as they consider promoting pro-life policy.

Post featured image: pexels.com

Buffer zone repeal: Senate hearing Tuesday 4/19

Buffer zone repeal, HB 1625, has made it past the New Hampshire House and is on its way to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The committee will hear testimony Tuesday, April 19, at 2:30pm in room 100 of the State House in Concord. Everyone who engages in peaceful pro-life witness on public sidewalks has a chance to tell the committee to do the right thing by voting Ought to Pass on HB 1625. Everyone who supports First Amendment rights ought to be right there with them.

HB 1625 is the latest effort to repeal the unenforced buffer zone law, which gives abortion facility managers the right to decide whether peaceful pro-life witness may take place on public property adjacent to their facility. The law has no business being on the books. Repeal is overdue.

If you attend: the committee will have hearings on several bills throughout the day, and the HB 1625 hearing might begin late. Be sure to sign in on the HB 1625 sheet that will be on a table just inside the door of the hearing room. Even if the committee runs late and you have to leave, your sign-in will let the senators know where you stand.

If you can’t attend: sign in electronically, using the Senate Remote Sign-In Sheet. You’ll need to enter the hearing date (4/19), committee (Judiciary), bill number (HB 1625), and then click the box indicating SUPPORT for the bill.

Whether you attend or not, you can email the committee with your testimony – which can be as simple as a polite request that they vote Ought to Pass on HB 1625. On the Judiciary Committee’s web page, click on “Email Entire Committee.”

Update on FLPA bills

Let’s take a look at the status of the bills seeking to amend the Fetal Life Protection Act, New Hampshire’s 24-week abortion restriction.

On its way to Governor Sununu’s desk: HB 1673, a good bill that clarifies FLPA’s ultrasound language while leaving the rest of the law intact. You can contact the Governor’s office and ask him to SIGN the bill. He might be reluctant to sign this one, preferring to wait for another bill that adds an exception to FLPA, so your voice in support of HB 1673 is important.

On its way to the Senate for a vote on Thursday, April 21: HB 1609, which in its current form clarifies FLPA’s ultrasound provision but also adds an exception to the 24-week abortion limit that would allow eugenic abortion for “fetal anomalies incompatible with life.” (This is the Governor’s preferred version.) I will be asking my senator to resist the overwhelming pressure he must be under to add an exception to FLPA.

On its way to the full House for a vote, not yet scheduled: SB 399, which is pretty much a duplicate of HB 1673. After being introduced as a bill to repeal FLPA, the bill was amended by the full Senate into one that would keep FLPA intact except for clarification of the ultrasound language. The House Judiciary Committee has recommended Ought to Pass on SB 399 as amended in the Senate. The vote in the full House is likely to be close.

Post header photo: Michael Drummond/Pixabay.

Quiet voice, fierce champion

Part of a series marking the tenth anniversary of the Leaven for the Loaf blog.

Back in 2016, I asked Darlene Pawlik what anyone could do to advance a culture of life in New Hampshire. “One is to either run [for office] or support another full spectrum pro-life person in their race to the House or Senate. The other is to be responsive to their individual calling within their sphere of influence to be kind, helpful, and honor all lives loudly.”

Darlene’s story has been told elsewhere. Conceived in violence herself and later pregnant through sexual assault, she has a keen appreciation for the lives at risk of being dismissed as “exceptions” when pro-life policy is up for a vote. Her concern for human dignity doesn’t stop there. Her testimony, delivered in her quiet voice, has helped legislators understand that human trafficking is a reality close to home – not just “out there” somewhere.

What’s she up to now?

She’s in a new season of her life, providing special care to loved ones, facing fewer microphones and interviews. She isn’t done making her views known, though. Recently, she asked me to read her written testimony to legislators considering a bill to improve juvenile trafficking victims’ access to the victims’ compensation fund administered by The New Hampshire Department of Justice.

Darlene wrote about the difference even modest compensation could make. “Having access to the victims compensation fund could be more than just a way for a young person to have expenses paid for….It is the fact that people cared enough to set up such a fund which really makes a difference. I was eighteen years old before I knew that people really cared for ‘throw-away’ kids like me. A few hundred dollars [from the compensation fund] may seem small, but it could make a huge difference in the life of a child victimized by traffickers.”

Her testimony evidently struck a chord. The bill has passed House and Senate, and I hope it will soon be on Governor Sununu’s desk.

Five years ago, I reported that she urged us to “honor all lives loudly.” She leads by example.

Woman at podium with sign saying Pray to End Abortion
Darlene Pawlik, speaking at 40 Days for Life rally (Manchester NH) in 2014. Ellen Kolb photo.

post header photo by Ellen Kolb

A door that shouldn’t be opened

Opponents of New Hampshire’s new 24-week abortion limitation – that is, fellow Granite Staters who support abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for one or another class of preborn children – finally resorted to what has always proven to be the most effective way of influencing life-issue policy: a personal story.

A Brookline woman is to give birth shortly to a child who is not expected to survive outside the womb. She stepped forward to tell her story, hoping that compassion would lead to weakening of the Fetal Life Protection Act. A heartbreaking situation, to be sure: the woman is pregnant with twins, only one of whom is deemed healthy. News reports indicate that the mother is now in the hospital awaiting delivery of her children. One of the children will go straight to NICU. The one who is reported to be medically compromised will be wrapped in a blanket and held by her parents until she passes on.

Ex-Governor Northam of Virginia explained the standard back in 2019: “There may be a fetus that’s non viable. If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.” In the New Hampshire case, the discussions have already ensued.

The Brookline mother told her story to New Hampshire policymakers, who amended HB 1609 to add an FLPA exception for certain fetal anomalies. Governor Sununu supports the exception. “I do not live in extremes on either side of the issue.”

The same Union Leader article quotes Robert Dunn, public policy director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, a gentleman who frequents the same sort of legislative hearings that draw me. “This would be the first time New Hampshire would designate a particular category of children to be liable for abortion, and that’s a door we don’t think the state should open.”

Remember, the Brookline mother had no abortion. She is simply urging that the option be there for someone else.

Mr. Dunn, speaking for Bishop Peter Libasci, is gently reminding us what that option means.

header photo: Charlie Griffiths/pexels.com