Thanks, Readers: the Blog Turns Five

Five years ago today, I put up the first post on Leaven for the Loaf. Pro-life issues in New Hampshire seemed like a tiny niche for a blog, but I plunged in anyway.  Thank you for plunging in with me. As long as I can travel and observe and report, I’ll keep blogging.

From an earlier “blogiversary”: a cupcake decorated by a creative neighbor.

Want to celebrate with me? Hug your family. Pray with steady faith. Give a box of diapers to your local pregnancy help center. Volunteer for an elder support program like Meals on Wheels. Donate blood. Stay in touch with your elected representatives. Witness to the value of life, publicly and peacefully. And have a cupcake.

I’m deeply grateful to the supporters who have helped defray expenses for travel and tech support.

In the long-ago inaugural post, I described New Hampshire’s political/legal situation regarding abortion – which is only one aspect of pro-life work. The situation hasn’t changed much. I re-state it below not out of discouragement, but in a spirit of determination. I refuse to settle for the status quo. And with that, let the next five years commence.

New Hampshire currently is the Wild West where abortion law is concerned. Women’s safety and public health policy would seem to call for a degree of regulation and oversight, even if one were to put aside the fact that each abortion takes a human life. Abortion advocates are  loud and angry over each and every one of the bills, however, drawing no distinction among parental notification (enacted over a veto), funding restrictions, statistical reporting, and a late-term ban. To them, it’s all one big attack on Choice, part of a larger effort to set women back.

This is worse than nonsense. What I see being set back are the rights of women and men who choose not to pay even indirectly for the operation of an abortion facility.  I see people lobbying to keep abortion undocumented, so that public health officials will continue to be in the dark about how many New Hampshire women make this “choice” every year. I hear testimony to the need for eugenic abortion, which is a throwback to one of the 20th century’s worst ideas. I hear women who should know better equate a 24-hour waiting period with an outright ban on abortion.

So yes, we’re still talking about this. Pro-lifers cannot be effective if they stay huddled together. I propose that we step out in faith and leaven the loaf of public discourse. Let’s begin.

Granite State pro-life round-up: where do we go from here?

Leaven for the Loaf is now four years old. To mark that milestone, I asked some New Hampshire pro-life veterans for their ideas about ways to move toward a more life-affirming culture in the Granite State.  My thanks go to each contributor for participating in this informal online symposium.      ~~~ Ellen Kolb

What are the most constructive things an individual can do to build a culture of life in New Hampshire? Bonus question: What book or online resource belongs on every pro-life resource list?

Jane Cormier: Change the dialogue

Jane Cormier (from her campaign web site)
Jane Cormier (courtesy photo)

I believe the most important thing a person can do to assist in the Life movement here in New Hampshire is to become active in some local group, even if it is in a small way. By becoming active, we can participate in changing the dialogue within the discussion of life. More people participating in this debate will strengthen the Life movement.

As for recommended reading, I find a book entitled On Message by Mark Crutcher is a very effective and easy-to-read manual answering questions related to supporting Life.

Jane Cormier is president of New Hampshire Right to Life. She served as a New Hampshire state representative 2012 – 2014.

Kathleen Souza: “Persuade church officials that their leadership is essential”

Rep. Kathleen Souza, chief sponsor of HB 629
Rep. Kathleen Souza (courtesy photo)

Persuade Church officials that their leadership is essential.  Their silence and apathy have slowed pro-life progress in New Hampshire. People of faith often sense that abortion is not a paramount issue and feel no responsibility to be involved, or to even vote pro-life.

Serving in the legislature has offered a great opportunity to bring forward pro-life legislation.  However,  church-going people, well-known practicing Catholics included, routinely render these efforts futile. If the lives – and deaths – of New Hampshire’s preborn children were made a priority in our churches, I really believe our culture would change.

[I’ve] been involved since January 22, 1973, when the news broke that the country we are responsible for would sanction abortion.

Kathy Souza is a six-term New Hampshire state representative from Manchester. She has been a member of New Hampshire Right to Life since 1973. 

Nancy Elliott: “Euthanasia is the new front on life”

Nancy Elliott (photo by Ellen Kolb)
Nancy Elliott (photo by Ellen Kolb)

Euthanasia is the new front on life.  There are those who seek to shorten the life span of those who are elderly, disabled or deformed.  It is imperative that we get our message out to the public that these are people who are not necessarily dying. Assisted suicide laws are open to elder abuse, especially if the senior has money, and abuse of people with disabilities, as the vast majority of people at the point these laws apply have a disability). These laws also lead to people throwing their lives away when an incorrect diagnosis is made, which is estimated at 20% of the time.  When people see all the facts they usually reject this scheme.

The second recommendation I have is to keep this issue bipartisan. This is not a Republican or Democrat or Libertarian issue. This is a human issue and we need to keep it that way.  Do not let politicians hijack this issue for their own political gain.
I recommend the book Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide by Alex Schadenberg.  It is an easy read with statistics on what happens where euthanasia is legal.
 Nancy Elliott is Team Leader USA with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition International. She is a former New Hampshire state representative from Merrimack.

Darlene Pawlik: “Each of us has a sphere of influence”

Darlene Pawlik (photo:
Darlene Pawlik (photo:

I can think of two important things any New Hampshire citizen might do to advance the culture of life. One is to either run or support another full spectrum pro-life person in their race to the House or Senate. In a massive cooperative effort, we could see real change. The law is a teacher. If the law permits behavior, it seems acceptable. This is how culture changes. We need more people who recognize our God-given rights creating our laws and supporting those already there.

The other is to be responsive to their individual calling within their sphere of influence to be kind, helpful, and honor all lives loudly. Each of us has a sphere of influence. Whether it is school- age children and their parents or elderly or business people and acquaintances, we can be outspoken about how help may be had and provide it whenever possible.
Recommended book: Siege by Mark Crutcher.
Darlene Pawlik has for more than twenty years been an outspoken advocate for human rights, especially for the most vulnerable in society. She is vice-president of Save the 1. She blogs at

Shannon McGinley: “There are many parts to the body”

Shannon McGinley (courtesy photo)
Shannon McGinley (courtesy photo)

It depends on the season of your life: run for state office, contact legislators, live out the Culture of Life in your daily life as a mother. There are many parts to the body: political, educational, compassionate care, legal, activism (sidewalk counseling).

Two books that laid the foundation for me: Abortion: Questions and Answers by Jack Willke, and Pro-life Answers to Pro-choice Questions by Randy Alcorn.

Shannon McGinley is a longtime volunteer and philanthropist in the New Hampshire pro-life community. She and her husband Doug have five sons.

Phyllis Woods: Educate “about the sacred, unique, and absolute value of all human life”

Phyllis Woods
Phyllis Woods (courtesy photo)

To advance the culture of life status in our state and nation, our biggest challenge remains changing hearts and minds. This begins by educating ourselves and then others about the sacred, unique, and absolute value of all human life. This first step must be rooted in a spiritual and biblical foundation. Fr. John Powell wrote in his book Abortion and the Silent Holocaust about questioning the German people after the Jewish Holocaust. He asked them, “Did you know? Did you care? Did you do anything?” Today we know about the horror of abortion and if we truly care we must do something – anything we can. Otherwise we will one day have to answer these questions before God.

If you believe each person really has an inalienable right to life, then silence and inaction in the face of 52 million abortions is inexcusable as scripture tells us. Everyone can do something: donate to a pro-life organization, join a March for Life, write to a newspaper, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center, testify in support of pro-life legislation, work for or support pro-life candidates, or run for office yourself if able.  At the very least, and perhaps most important, you can pray to end abortion.

To read: Abortion: the Silent Holocaust was written in 1981 and was probably the most influential in clicking me into gear to be a prolife activist. I would also suggest Personhood by Daniel Becker.

Phyllis Woods is a former state representative from Dover and was sponsor of several pro-life bills, including New Hampshire’s first parental notification law.

Sister Mary Rose Reddy: a book suggestion

Sister Mary Rose Reddy at March for Life, DC (photo by Ellen Kolb)
Sister Mary Rose Reddy at March for Life, DC (photo by Ellen Kolb)

To read: I highly recommend Architects of the Culture of Death by DeMarco and Wiker. It is very informative and definitely a page turner.

Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML is Director of Family Faith Formation at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and St. Leo parishes in Rochester.


The blogiversary celebration starts now; let’s Walk for Life

Leaven for the Loaf is a month away from its fourth anniversary. As April 17th approaches, I’ll be marking the milestone with some special posts and re-posts. But how about a party? Can we have a blogiversary (trust me, it’s a word) without a party?

Yes, we can. Instead of reserving a venue and ordering cupcakes, I’m going to participate in the Walk for Life on May 7 to benefit Care Net in Manchester and Nashua.  I know I have readers who are part of these events every year, but this will be my first one.

graphic by
graphic by

So what can you give your humble blogger to celebrate four years of covering events, watching legislators, and writing about Granite State pro-life ministries? You can donate to my Walk for Life efforts for Care Net via this FundEasy pledge page:

My goal is $400. (Four years, $400…makes sense to me.) I’m asking you, my readers, to pitch in and donate to the cause. Share this appeal far and wide. Let’s see if we can hit that goal in seven weeks, a little bit (maybe the price of a box of diapers?) at a time.

Will you be doing the Walk for Life yourself, alone or with a team, in Manchester or Nashua? Let me know, and I’ll give you a shout-out on Leaven’s Facebook page.

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Entering year 3 – and who’d have thought we’d get this far?


A blogiversary treat by neighbor Stevia of Cupcake Conspiracy. Thank you, indeed.

April was Leaven for the Loaf’s “blogiversary” month, and year #3 is underway. Here’s my thank-you to all readers, subscribers and Facebook followers. With every click, you affirm that New Hampshire is home to pro-life residents who want to stay informed and involved. I’ll keep up my end: advocating for peaceful, persistent, well-informed pro-life action.

This girl knows how to party, more or less 

How does one celebrate a blogiversary?

  • I pledged an hour at local 40 Days for Life campaigns for every new Facebook “like,” figuring I’d get half a dozen. I got 19 before I had to halt the challenge. Result: I owe 13 hours to next fall’s campaign, which begins on September 24 (so mark your calendars).
  • I donated a pint of blood to the Red Cross, as I’ve done periodically for the last nineteen years or so, and I hope I inspired some of you to do the same. People dear to me have benefited enormously from medical procedures that would have been impossible without donated blood. I hate needles – don’t we all? – but I get over it for ten minutes every couple of months.
  • I polled readers, and learned that you’d like to see more interviews as well as continued coverage of New Hampshire issues. Click on the blog’s “subscribe” button so you won’t miss a thing.
  • A cupcake. OK, two cupcakes.
  • Gratitude to God. Prayer. Lots of it.

A preview of some coming attractions 

  • A whole lot of New Hampshire election coverage – already underway, with Leaven’s exclusive interviews with U.S. Senate candidates.
  • Interviews with the people whose work will help shape a pro-life New Hampshire.
  • Coverage of any buffer-zone developments in the wake of decisions by the state legislature and the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Continuing observations from the State House.

Something new: Leaven for the Loaf will soon be offering opportunities for sponsorships and ads,  giving readers and business owners a chance to support a full-time pro-life online publication while reaching New Hampshire residents. Stay tuned.

Finally, my thanks to the team at Altos in Bedford, where people who know a lot more about the technical end of blogging than I do keep Leaven for the Loaf up & running.

Year number three, here we go.