Pro-lifers to witness at Concord “Women’s March” (and you’re invited)

From this morning’s Leaven for the Loaf email newsletter:

An invitation to witness

The national “Women’s March” in Washington coming up Saturday the 21st has no place for pro-life women, thus revealing itself to be an abortion advocacy event. Pro-lifers are going to show up anyway. A similar “march” will be happening in Concord on State House Plaza on the same day, and intrepid New Hampshire pro-lifers will be there, too. You’re invited to join members of New Hampshire Right to Life as they rally for life

Read the event’s Facebook page for more information, or contact Beth at (but note that this is not a 40DFL-related event). 

I’m not giving away any secrets when I say that the pro-abortion rally in Concord will be big. (The Facebook signups for that event make that clear.) The pro-lifers nearby, in an act of faith, hope and love, simply want to give witness to the right to life. Organizers have a permit in hand from the city, limited to the sidewalk along Main Street outside State House plaza. 

Here’s a screenshot of the event’s flyer.

I’m sorry that I won’t be there myself – but I’ll look forward to sharing with readers the photos and reports from the pro-lifers who brave the sidewalk that day.

Note that I’m open to a guest post from anyone participating in an authentically pro-life response to one of the “Women’s Marches.”

Keep in mind the OK-to-choose-death-for-others mission of the “Women’s Marches,” as expressed by organizers of the main march in Washington when they rescinded an invitation to New Wave Feminists.

Buffer zone repeal battle coming to N.H. House after 11-9 committee vote

Opponents of New Hampshire’s court-enjoined buffer zone law eked out a narrow victory when the House Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 this week to recommend repeal. The repeal bill, HB 1570, now goes to the full House for action on March 8 or 9, with a floor fight all but certain.

According to Rep. Kurt Wuelper (R-Strafford), writing in support of the Judiciary Committee majority’s Ought to Pass (OTP) recommendation, “The majority believes the current law is an unconstitutional restriction on the people’s right to freedom of speech and access to public property. Keeping the law commits the state to years of legal expense defending a law that purports to resolve a problem never substantiated by any documented offense.”

Shortly after the buffer zone law was signed by Governor Maggie Hassan in 2014, it was challenged by seven New Hampshire pro-life activists in the case Reddy v. Foster. A federal court judge issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the law. The case is still open.

Rep. David Woodbury (D-New Boston) of the Judiciary Committee wrote for the minority, urging that the bill be found inexpedient to legislate. “The statute is dissimilar to a Massachusetts statute found unconstitutional in 2014 because the buffer zone is smaller and subject to modification as conditions require. The statute strikes a fair balance between the interests of these lawfully using the sidewalks and access ways and those wishing to express their opposition to the abortion procedure. The statute is on hold until the federal court rules and should not be repealed, if at all, until the court rules.”

The Massachusetts statute was struck down by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court (McCullen v. Coakley) not because of the size of the Massachusetts “buffer,” but because the statute violated the First Amendment without less-restrictive means having first been used to address alleged problems caused by peaceful pro-life presence outside abortion facilities. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in McCullen, 

“Respondents assert undeniably significant interests in maintaining public safety on those same streets and sidewalks, as well as in preserving access to adjacent healthcare facilities. But here the Commonwealth has pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a tradi­tional public forum to all speakers. It has done so without seriously addressing the problem through alternatives that leave the forum open for its time-honored purposes. The Commonwealth may not do that consistent with the First Amendment.”

The New Hampshire law does differ from the struck-down Massachusetts law in an important respect, not noted by Rep. Woodbury: the New Hampshire measure delegates to abortion providers the authority to determine a buffer zone’s size, placement, and enforcement hours.

Find contact information for your representatives here.

Civil rights consistency

The New Hampshire Union Leader brings us another entry in the annals of cognitive dissonance among civil libertarians. The library in Lebanon, New Hampshire has withdrawn from a pilot program that allowed patrons to surf the Web anonymously on library computers. Law enforcement isn’t thrilled with the program. The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire takes a different view. Devon Chaffee of ACLU-NH said, “The bottom line is that we can’t shut down public parks because sometimes crimes are committed in public parks and we can’t stop selling ski masks because sometimes crimes are committed by people wearing ski masks.”

This follows by only a few days the news that ACLU-NH may sue the city of Franklin over a curfew for people under 16 years of age. From the Union Leader’s coverage: “The ACLU’s primary complaint against the curfew, [ACLU-NH attorney Gilles] Bissonnette said Wednesday, is the potential for children to be scrutinized for their conduct in situations ‘that have nothing to do with criminality.'”

And then there’s the organization’s position against New Hampshire’s late, unlamented “ballot selfie” law.

In jarring contrast to all this, ACLU-NH lobbied for New Hampshire’s buffer zone law, the now-enjoined statute that would allow private business owners who perform abortions to define where and at what hours public sidewalks are actually open to the public.

Personally, I think we can’t shut down public sidewalks because sometimes crimes are committed on public sidewalks. And I’m not a big fan of scrutiny of conduct in situations that have nothing to do with criminality.

Maybe ACLU-NH is teetering on the edge of defending the civil rights of peaceful pro-life demonstrators. Consistency might exert just strong enough a push. That’s more optimistic than thinking that some sincere civil libertarians are hopelessly lost to Roe-v.-Wade Derangement Syndrome.

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