Time to kill the “buffer zone” law

“Safety and balance.” That has been the cry parroted by supporters of New Hampshire’s unenforced and unenforceable buffer zone law ever since its introduction and passage in 2014. Keeping people safe means keeping people silent: that’s some screwy balance. No wonder the law has never been used.

It’s time for the Sidewalk Free Speech Act, HB 430, which will have its hearing tomorrow, February 9, at 2 p.m. It will repeal the buffer zone law, if passed.

Four times, efforts to repeal that law have failed. It’s imperative to keep trying. It’s time to erase a blot on New Hampshire’s statutes by getting rid of the buffer zone law. See the end of this post for details on how you can let legislators know that.

HB 430 ought to pass with an overwhelming majority. Anyone who values the First Amendment will support it. Abortion will be unaffected when HB 430 passes, but First Amendment rights will be reaffirmed.

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Update: Those “Common Sense” Initiatives Sununu Supported

Governor Chris Sununu (nh.gov photo)

Six months ago, just before the last statewide election in New Hampshire, a concerned pro-life Republican elicited a letter from Chris Sununu listing some pro-life initiatives Sununu would back if he were elected governor.

Number of those initiatives that Governor Sununu has had a chance to sign: zero.

Fetal Homicide Bill: House and Senate versions have been “retained” in the House Criminal Justice Committee. No word yet on any subcommittee being assigned to look at these bills.

Women’s Health Protection Act: However that may be defined – whether informed consent, or making abortion facilities meet the same standards as ambulatory care facilities, or letting a woman know in advance the name and qualifications of the person about to perform her abortion – no such legislation came forward in the 2017 New Hampshire legislative session.

Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act: No legislation offered.

Late-Term Abortion Ban: Failed. A motion of “ought to pass with amendment” on HB 578 failed in the House on a 170-189 vote. The bill was then tabled on a voice vote.  A few representatives indicated that they voted ITL because the bill didn’t go far enough. That was not the prevailing view.

Buffer Zone Repeal: Failed. HB 579 was voted “inexpedient to legislate” on a 191-165 House vote, the First Amendment notwithstanding. Note, however, that no abortion facility has yet posted a zone. No thanks to the legislature for that.

From candidate-now-Governor Sununu’s letter: “I know that my winning the race for Governor will be our best chance to get this important work done.”

By the way, there are Republican majorities in the New Hampshire House and Senate this year. Do not confuse “Republican” with “pro-life.”

The Governor’s term still has a year and a half to run. He may get something relevant on his desk next year from House and Senate.  It remains to be seen if he’ll sit back and wait, or if he’ll work to build support for the measures he said he’d sign.

Health care conscience rights: as Sweden goes…?

In November 2015, I posted the words of Ellinor Grimmark, a Swedish midwife under fire for declining to participate in abortions.

”As a midwife, I want to exercise a profession which defends life and saves lives at all cost. Are healthcare practitioners in Sweden to be forced to take part in procedures that extinguish life, at its beginning or final stages? Somebody has to take the little children’s side, somebody has to fight for their right to life. A midwife described to me how she had held an aborted baby in her arms, still alive, and cried desperately for an hour while the baby struggled to breathe. These children do not even have a right to pain relief. I cannot take part in this.”

Ms. Grimmark went to court to get her job back. Now, a year and a half later, a Swedish court has determined that Ms. Grimmark did not suffer discrimination, nor had authorities violated her freedom of expression (BBC report here). It’s OK in Sweden to require health care professionals to participate in abortions as a condition of employment.

And that works, as far as a spokeswoman for “Sweden’s Health Professionals” is concerned: “[P]eople seeking care should not have to think about your own opinions”.

Think it couldn’t happen here? Think again. New Hampshire has no law protecting the conscience rights of medical professionals. Bills to change that have elicited testimony from abortion supporters that sounds a lot like the statement from the Swedish Health Professionals.

Watch Sweden, and take note.

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In Washington, abortion de-funding intentions are good, but…

visitthecapitol.gov photo
visitthecapitol.gov photo

My inbox blossomed with emails the other day, each trying to outdo the other with screaming subject lines, along the lines of “House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood!!!” (The number of exclamation points varied.) What’s Congress up to? Turns out there was indeed a vote recently on a so-called reconciliation bill that, if accepted by the U.S. Senate and the President, would stop or restrict funding to Planned Parenthood for one – count ’em, one – year, diverting the funding to community health centers that do not provide abortions. The U.S. House adopted the bill on a 240-189 vote. New Hampshire’s Members of Congress split, predictably: First District’s Frank Guinta voted Aye, while Annie Kuster of the Second District voted Nay.

Two cheers, says I. Nah, make it one. Better yet, a simple nod – with a raised eyebrow.

Reports on the vote from a pro-life perspective are numerous. The Susan B. Anthony List and LifeNews.com provide good examples.

The bill at least nods in the direction of privatizing the abortion industry. So why am I not more excited?

  • The Senate may or may not take up the bill; some pro-life Senators want to block it because it doesn’t stop enough Obamacare funding.
  • “Prohibited entity” under the terms of the bill – the agencies that would lose funding – include agencies that provide abortions, “other than an abortion…if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest.”
  • The funding restriction is for one year, reportedly to give Members of Congress time to review Planned Parenthood’s business practices including the body-parts business documented by the Center for Medical Progress. (PP now says it won’t try to make a profit on the Frankenstein-lab stuff, although how that can be verified is a mystery.) But it’s not videotaped gruesomeness that’s fundamentally objectionable – it’s the abortions themselves.

The President would veto any such bill, of course, but that’s no reason not to send it to his desk. Let him own any veto. Let him explain why he doesn’t want all that money going to women’s health via community health centers.

It’ll be interesting to follow this bill, although its course seems predictable (see above). Any attempt to let taxpayers divest from the abortion industry is a noble effort. It would be a mistake to make that divestiture a temporary thing, based on whether or not a sufficient number of Members of Congress are nauseated by the CMP videos.

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