Sanctity of Life Conference in Concord, March 23

Update, March 18: Cost of the conference has been reduced to $25 thanks to generous donations of service by conference volunteers.

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I’m pleased to share this flyer (see image with this post) about a conference coming up in Concord, NH later this month. The Sanctity of Life conference will be held at Christ the King Parish activity center on Saturday, March 23, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $50, which includes lunch.

The conference is being organized by Beth Gaby, whom you may know as leader of Concord’s 40 Days for Life campaign. The location may be familiar as well; it’s where the post-March for Life rally takes place every January.

For more information, or if you wish to attend but the cost is a barrier, you can reach organizers at

Eventbrite page for the event: 

NHRTL releases details for New Hampshire’s March for Life

New Hampshire Right to Life has announced the details for New Hampshire’s march for life to be held Saturday, January 14 in Concord.

As usual, there multiple activities stretching over six hours. Can’t make them all? My humble opinion: try for the march itself, beginning at the State House around 11:45 a.m. and going south on Main Street past the Feminist Health Center to St. John the Evangelist Church. There are several activities to choose from, though, and your participation in pro-life witness is welcome at any or all of them.

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9:00 a.m.: memorial service at the Concord landfill on Old Turnpike Road, in memory of the aborted children found there in 1988.

10:00 a.m.: Mass at St. John the Evangelist, 72 S. Main Street.

11:15 a.m.: rally on State House plaza, 107 N. Main Street.

11:45 a.m. and lasting approximately one hour: march down Main Street. Distance is less than a mile. Marchers must stay on the sidewalk unless otherwise directed by police, so it usually takes awhile for everyone to get through the route. Some years, terms of the permit from the city of Concord require a detour around the Feminist Health Center, which adds a few minutes.

1:00 p.m.: refreshments (no charge, but freewill offerings welcomed), information tables, and speakers at St. John the Evangelist parish hall. Expect a crowd. Featured speaker: Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.

Contact for more information.

Friday grab-bag: “buffer” zone in Concord, controversy in TX, NH’s 2014 candidates are lining up

I hope you had a good Independence Day celebration, and that you’re lucky enough to get a good long weekend to go along with it.

The latest on a “buffer” zone in Concord: The petition to block First Amendment rights within 35 feet of the Feminist Health Center is on hold, as the Concord City Council has referred it to the city police and legal departments. Same goes for the counter-petition filed by pro-lifers, led by Ava Voissem. The matter will not be taken up at next Monday’s Council meeting. See the meeting agenda here, page 6, information item #8. The next Council meeting will be on August 12, and keep an eye on this blog and the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page and Twitter feeds for updates.

What the heck’s with Texas? Leaven has offered a few posts about the attempts in Texas to pass a bill to stop post-20-week abortions and to impose ambulatory-surgical-care standards on abortion facilities. The legislature is now back in session to consider the bill yet again, after a filibuster and a mob scene prevented a timely vote a couple of weeks ago. An actual vote is not expected before Monday, but there has been plenty of extracurricular activity. Pro-lifers and abortion advocates alike have come to Austin to make sure legislators hear their respective messages. I pay attention to this because I think what’s happening in Texas will provide a template for abortion advocates’ future attempts to stop post-20-week bills elsewhere, including Concord. No, I have no inside information about potential disruption at the State House. I firmly believe that if the bill in Texas fails, though, abortion advocates will take whatever “worked” there to other states.

I’d hate to see messaging like this take hold:

  • Ethan Gehrke (@EthanGehrke) took this photograph, tweeted it, and watched it go viral.
    Pulling out all the stops in Texas. Twitter photo by @EthanGehrke.
    Pulling out all the stops in Texas. Twitter photo by @EthanGehrke.

    Children at demonstrations are nothing new, at least not to me – but seriously? Have one’s child carry a sign saying “If I wanted the government in my womb I’d f*** a senator”? This is a post-Gosnell bill. Apparently, the mom in question has issues with that. One reporter, Elspeth Reeve of the Atlantic, speculated that the photo was doctored by pro-lifers. It wasn’t.

November 2014 is only 16 months away, but nets are already being cast all over New Hampshire by potential candidates for office who are looking for money and endorsements. These are Republicans, for the most part, since the Dems seem happy with their incumbent governor & Congresswomen & senior Senator. Just as a teaser, three potential candidates have voting records or public statements on the life issues.

  • Jim Rubens of Etna is testing the waters – “exploring” is his term – to take on Jeanne Shaheen for U.S. Senate.  In this WMUR interview, he said he’d like to see a “temporary truce” on social issues. His chief claim to fame is guiding the Granite State Coalition Against Expanded Gambling (full disclosure: I’m a member), which is one reason New Hampshire remains casino-free.
  • Former state senator Gary Lambert is the subject of a Facebook campaign to draft him for the Second Congressional District race vs. incumbent Annie Kuster. He voted “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1659, an informed consent bill, last year. He’s a very astute man to have earned a senate seat in Nashua usually occupied by a Democrat. He chose not to run for re-election last year.
  • State rep and former Speaker of the House Bill O’Brien is definitely in the Second Congressional District race. He has a sterling pro-life voting record. His take-no-prisoners style is the stuff of legend and will no doubt make for a lively primary.

Each of these men has a far more to his record than I can convey in a sentence or two, but as I said, this is a teaser. I’m not a truce-on-social-issues type, but I’m happy to hear from any candidate. Let the people know what they can expect when something like a Gosnell-prevention bill comes up.

Marriage, Texas, HHS, and “taking heart”

A Leaven reader texted me last week, “Please tell me you’re writing a ‘take heart’ blog this week.” She was referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage decisions.  Other matters forced their way into the news as well: a filibuster and a mob in Texas combined to block a bill restricting late-term abortions, and “final” word came down from Washington confirming that Obamacare’s HHS mandate is here to stay.

Quite an array of challenges right there. That was one head-banger of a week. Let me note that I found excellent short-term therapy in avoiding the news feeds for a few hours at a time. Seriously: you want to build a culture of life? Step awaaaaay from the smartphone.

But eventually, I have to face facts. It does me no good to see a glass as half-full when what it’s half-full of is poisoned Kool-Aid.

  • After wasting a lot of words in the Windsor decision explaining how marriage is a state matter (and thus a Tenth Amendment issue), which is what I thought for sure would get the federal Defense of Marriage Act thrown out, Justice Kennedy and four of his distinguished colleagues shifted gears. The majority decision was that federal refusal to recognize same-sex marriages was a “deprivation of liberty” under the Fifth Amendment.  Justice Kennedy gratuitously added that to hold otherwise is a deprivation of personhood and dignity of our neighbors who choose genderless marriage, designed to disparage and injure them.

(Personhood and dignity? Where has this man been when the life issues have been on the line?)

  • The Texas senate did not exactly cover itself in glory when it let a mob dictate the terms of a vote. The bill in question sought to stop late-term abortions and to require abortion facilities to meet the requirements imposed on every other ambulatory surgical center in the state. A vote needed to be cast by midnight on a certain date. The mob in the gallery caused enough of a disruption to hold up the vote until three minutes past midnight. That, and not the filibuster by now-lionized Senator Wendy Davis, was the key to shutting down the bill.
  • In the White House’s Friday afternoon news dump came the word that the HHS mandate will be a done deal next January 1.  Don’t look for this on the White House web page, which is filled with notes from the President’s trip to Africa and his speech on “climate change.”

So where do I take heart? In the fact that people are willing to write and speak and act in opposition to all this. Peaceful, reasoned, courageous dissent inspires me to try to be just as constructive in my own choices. Underlying all the bad news is an effort to marginalize and isolate each dissenter (hey! that’s me!). I ain’t a-gonna let anyone do that. People around us still speak with courage and conviction, and therein lies reason to take heart.

  • Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas) has called the legislature back into session this week to re-consider the bill on abortion and women’s health. No mob rule for him. This is why I’m glad his presidential campaign fizzled. Why on earth should I want one of the most effective governors in the country to leave his post before his term is up? Now, each pro-life senator – and there are plenty, which is how the bill got as far as it did – can resume defending life.
  • Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent in Windsor was a gem, giving his colleagues a rhetorical kick in the pants. He asserted that arguments against redefining marriage can be made with logic and fairness. The dissent bears quoting at length:

“But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage,” ”injure,” “degrade,” ”demean,” and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.”

I hear all this, and I take a deep breath. Some balance has been restored. Standing on the sidelines and applauding  is not enough, of course. These people, these neighbors regardless of address, are extending a hand to me. Get up, already. Be strong and of good courage. Examples of stoutheartedness abound. I want to share the news about them. That’s where I take heart. Nothing’s been “settled” for me.