Pick of the Web 12/13/13

Help yourself to a weekend’s worth of links!

A terrible auto collision on I-89 a few days ago has highlighted once again the crying need for a fetal homicide law in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Union Leader reports here on the deaths of two adults and a preborn child who were killed when a man attempted suicide by driving into oncoming traffic. The suicidal man survived the wreck and is facing charges. Rep. Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster) has introduced a fetal homicide bill for consideration in 2014; more on that here on the blog next week.

I love March for Life’s suggestions for what to do with a bored Member of Congress. Not every suggestion requires being an elected official, so look them over and see what inspires you.

South Africa’s Nelson Mandela has died at age 95. A leader of immense persistence and influence, his renunciation of political violence unfortunately did not extend to a rejection of abortion. Dr. Alveda King recalls him with respect and candor in “How I Failed Nelson Mandela.”

The latest annual report from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is out, showing that PP benefited from half a billion dollars in taxpayer funding in the most recent fiscal year. The Susan B. Anthony List has prepared a fact sheet about the report, and National Right to Life’s Dave Andrusko writes about Five Takeaways From PPFA’s Annual Report.

Anyone who thinks Pope Francis is going to put aside Catholic teaching on respect for life needs to catch up on some reading. Yesterday, he called human trafficking “a crime against humanity … whoever uses and exploits the person, even indirectly, makes himself an accomplice of this abuse.”  Last Sunday, he challenged “throwaway culture” (cultura di scarto). “The victims of such a culture are precisely the weakest and most fragile human beings – the unborn, the poorest people, sick elderly people, gravely disabled people… who are in danger of being ‘thrown out,’ expelled from a machine that must be efficient at all costs. This false model of man and society embodies a practical atheism, de facto negating the Word of God that says: ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’

The European Parliament narrowly rejected a nonbinding policy that would have promoted abortion as a “right.” The matter is sure to come up again.

Southern New Hampshire food pantries and soup kitchens need our help. You can find opportunities to donate and volunteer at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, Corpus Christi food pantry in Nashua, New Horizons in Manchester, and the New Hampshire Food Bank.

This week by the numbers: 4/22/2013

Happy Monday! Here are some things to keep in mind as you fill in your calendar for the week and charge up your laptop or smartphone. This will become a weekly feature on Leaven. I welcome your suggestions for events to add in the weeks to come.

Three people to follow on Twitter:

  • @ovideAUL. New Hampshire’s Ovide Lamontagne will take on his new job next month as General Counsel for Americans United for Life, and this will be the way to follow his projects.
  • @alvedaking. Dr. Alveda King is live-tweeting from the Gosnell trial this week.
  • @jimgeraghty. Jim Geraghty is a writer for National Review, and while is beat is national politics, he always hits the mark when he addresses the life issues. I look forward to his Morning Jolt email every weekday.

Two events for your consideration:

  • At 2:50 today, join people from Boston and beyond in a moment of silence and prayer to observe the one-week mark following the atrocity committed at April 15’s Boston Marathon. Please, not “tragedy.” This is what an atrocity looks like, folks. 
  • Thursday at Planned Parenthood in Manchester (Pennacook Street, a block east of Elm), there will be a prayer vigil from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a weekly event, in view of the fact that Thursday is surgical abortion day at the facility. You are welcome to join this absolutely peaceful prayer witness for any length of time. See the Pray for Life Center Facebook page for ongoing information about this recurring event.

One site to bookmark: www.nh.gov.  This one is basic. If you aren’t already familiar with this portal to state government, spend some time checking it out. The legislative link alone makes it a treasure, but there’s much more. Look up bills, check the date of hearings, see what our governor is up to. This is a tool for anyone keeping an eye on New Hampshire political developments in any area, not just pro-life issues.

One volunteer opportunity: This is a shameless plug for a project near and dear to me. Give blood. You can find blood drives in our area through the Red Cross blood services web site. Last Monday’s Boston bombings brought the ongoing need for blood donations into sharp relief. Most of the people relying on these donations will never make the news, but trust me, they’re our neighbors. I’m a coward with needles, but seeing people I love benefit from blood donations helped me get over that. This is pro-life work below the radar, and it’s essential work.

More next week. Keep me posted if there’s an event in your area that’s helping to build a culture of life.

Two Women You Probably Didn’t Hear About During Black History Month

Meet Mildred Jefferson and Alveda King. Either of these gifted women could have lived a quietly successful life. They chose to stand up for the right to life instead, which pretty much put an end to any hope for “quiet.”

Mildred Jefferson, M.D.

MIldred Jefferson, M.D. (photo from masscitizensforlife.org)

 

I met Dr. Mildred Jefferson a couple of times, when she came to New Hampshire to testify in Concord on pro-life bills. She was petite, with a radiant smile, and she always dressed with elegance and simplicity and a hat to match. She looked quite unthreatening until she sat down and began to speak. Only then would everyone in the room realize what a powerhouse she was.

Born in 1926, she earned her bachelor’s degree at the age of 16, and went on to become the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School. She was made of stern stuff. This served her well in her years as a surgeon, and even more so as she became outspoken in her defense of life and her opposition to abortion. She helped to found Massachusetts Citizens for Life in the early 1970s and later served as president of the National Right to Life Committee. From about 1970 until her death in 2010, she was a nonstop pro-life advocate.

Both times when I heard her testify, I listened to her describe the medical facts about abortion, its effects on women, and the development of the preborn child. Both times, I was indignant to the point of anger as some of our state representatives dismissed her medical experience and judgment as being somehow “ideological.” I never heard Dr. Jefferson raise her voice or utter an impatient word in reply. She knew someone with medical credentials had to go on record, even if some of the reps didn’t want to hear her. She did the same thing in State Houses all over the country. To this day, I am in awe of her energy, intelligence, and persistence.

Alveda King

Dr. Alveda King (photo from Facebook)

Dr. Alveda King grew up in the civil rights movement, and her biography says “she sees the prolife movement as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.” She is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Her doctorate, like his, is non-medical.) She is based in Georgia, although her work takes her all over the country. She is currently working with Priests for Life as pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach. A post-abortive woman herself, she is part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which encourages women who regret their abortions to speak up about the emotional and physical consequences they have endured.

I haven’t met her yet. I hope I will someday, just so I can thank her for what she’s doing.

This is all too brief a sketch of two women who deserve much more attention. They’re not in history books — not yet, anyway.