Top posts 2017, part 1: Marching for Life; Legislative Disappointment

Leaven for the Loaf’s most popular posts for 2017 are heavy on State House action, reflecting an eventful year. But wait – there’s more. Here’s a review of five of the ten most-viewed posts from 2017. Watch for the top five later this week.

New Hampshire March for Life Gallery

January’s March for Life in Concord was sponsored once again by New Hampshire Right to Life, with featured speaker Jennifer Lahl. People came from all over New Hampshire, peacefully resolved to defend the right to life.

Situational Personhood

On the same day that the House debated a fetal homicide bill, it also took up a bill from the Commerce committee related to trusts. Lo and behold, the trusts bill referred to “unborn person.” The trusts bill somehow got by without scrutiny from the same people who were afraid a fetal homicide law would confer personhood.

My thanks to Rep. Jeanine Notter, who came to the gallery the day of the debate to show me the Commerce bill. The irony of the term “unborn person” was not lost on her.


Fetal Homicide and Women’s Rights: Remember These Women

In their Concord testimony, opponents of fetal homicide legislation usually gave a pro forma gee-I’m-sorry nod to bereaved parents before going on to say that the legislation would interfere with women’s rights. I decided it was time to highlight the women whose children had died in utero in legal limbo: dead due to someone else’s actions, but not a victim under law.


Help Open St. Gianna’s Place

A dedicated group of volunteers is working to open another shelter for pregnant and parenting women in New Hampshire. This post is from last April, and the effort to find and fund a house is still underway.

Learn more, and join the effort, at


N.H. House Rejects Post-Viability Limit on Abortion

“All nine months: that’s how far into pregnancy abortion is legal in New Hampshire. Viable, non-viable, with or without ‘anomalies’: all irrelevant. What’s more, any abortion-minded woman in New Hampshire is entitled to a dead baby, not merely a terminated pregnancy.

“Rep. Keith Murphy and ten co-sponsors brought forward HB 578 in an effort to push back against that bit of barbarity. Murphy took Justice Blackmun at his word as expressed in Roe v. Wade: the state may assert an interest in the preborn child once that child is viable.

The New Hampshire House had a chance to stand with Murphy. The House refused.”

There’s good news, though: Rep. Murphy has introduced another bill along the same lines, to be considered in the 2018 session.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, featuring the story that far and away drew the most attention this year.

Buses to 2018 March for Life

This is from the latest issue of Parable magazine, published by the Diocese of Manchester (N.H.). The next March for Life in Washington is five months away, and it’s already time to make plans if you want to get there via bus.

I have no more information than what’s provided here. One note: the 2018 March will be on Friday, January 19. 

September 15, March for Life pre-registrations due:  Every year hundreds of pilgrims from the Diocese of Manchester attend the Annual March for Life in Washington, DC. This year there will be a pre-registration deadline of September 15th requiring a 50% deposit to reserve your spot. This pre-registration guarantees last year’s cost of: $141 (Quad), $150 (Triple), $169 (Double). This price includes: bus, hotel, lunch on the ride down, metro ticket and t-shirt. After pre-registration the price will go up by $10 per person. The second deadline for all registrations is November 15. For more information, contact Valerie Lynn Somers at or 978.660.9777.


Thoughts on National March for Life 2017

I’m home again after a 45-hour trip to the March for Life in Washington, DC. Most of that time was spent on a bus, and God bless the driver who took us safely to and fro.

A few thoughts as I decompress from the journey:



The March skews young. This was my fifth or sixth trip to a national March for Life. Back in 1993 at my first one, the presence of thousands of high school and college students surprised me. Now, nearly a quarter of a century later, high school and college students all but own the March. They show anyone who’s paying attention that the pro-life movement is not going away, and it’s broadening in scope at the grassroots level.

Member of Congress Mia Love of Utah owned the stage at the pre-March rally. That’s hard to do when you share a stage with Abby Johnson, Cardinal Dolan, and a Vice-President. Hands-down, she showed how it’s done. The rally went on way too long with too many speakers, running until half an hour after the scheduled start of the march, but I would happily have listened to Love all afternoon.

Save The 1 was highly visible along the march route, and New Hampshire’s Darlene Pawlik was right there. Think of the women of Save the 1 whenever you come across an abortion regulation with a rape-and-incest exception.

I did not make the trip intending to attend a Trump rally. The pre-March rally came dangerously close to being one anyway. I did not vote for now-President Trump. To be sure, I am gratified by his recent reinstatement of the Mexico City policy.  I was hugely entertained by his recent calling-out (or shaming, as AOL prefers to say) of media outlets that downplay the Marches year after year. So he has made one respectful gesture toward the conscience rights of pro-life Americans, and he has called for better March for Life coverage. Let’s say the President has dabbled one toe in a single aspect of pro-life policy. He has a lot to learn. I hope he realizes that.

That said, I was happy to see Vice-President Mike Pence speak at the pre-March rally. This was practically Old Home Day for him, since he has spoken at past Marches back when he was in humbler offices. His presence this year, as Vice-President, was momentous.

About that: the announcement of his participation came only the day before the March, and I heard about it with my fellow passengers as our bus rolled down the New Jersey Turnpike. Two thoughts collided – hey! this is great! followed by omigosh, the security thing…! The March has never had to deal with Secret Service protocol before. It was an inconvenience, and it kept many people at a distance from the rally (see below). As it happened, the Secret Service agents at the station I went through on the morning of the rally were efficient, businesslike, and good-humored, kinda like they’re used to this sort of thing.

I’ve never been in the midst of a bigger crowd. There’s one stretch of the march route, going up Capitol Hill, where it’s possible for a marcher to see what’s ahead and behind. I could see only waves and waves of fellow marchers – no beginning or end in sight.

No photo or report of the rally size could possibly do justice to the size of the March itself. The Secret Service set up a security perimeter on part of the National Mall. No one could bring a backpack inside the perimeter. Keep in mind that marchers from around the country learned this while they were already enroute to DC. What do college students use to carry their gear for a full day? Yup – backpacks. Solution: stand just outside the perimeter fence in order to hear all the speakers at the rally. Cameras scanning the inside-perimeter crowd missed everyone outside.

March organizers are apparently trying to make the pre-march rally as big a deal as the March itself. I suspected as much in 2016 when the rally was not shortened in spite of a blizzard warning. (I’m still shaking my head over that decision.) I will never buy into that shift in emphasis. With all due respect to this year’s eleven scheduled speakers, when I travel to Washington for the March for Life, it’s not to listen to speeches. Not eleven of them, at any rate.

I saw more press trucks and reporters than usual, although I don’t know how that played out on-air. Why the increase? I think Pence’s presence, Trump’s public references to poor coverage of earlier marches, and a journalistic desire to compare the March for Life with the “Women’s March” of the previous Saturday all played a role.

I’d say something about the New Hampshire Congressional delegation’s participation, if there had been any.

Three cheers for Bishop Libasci. I am a Catholic woman who traveled to the March with other New Hampshire Catholics. I was surprised and delighted that we were met at our bus departure point at 5:45 in the morning by the bishop himself, seeing us off with a smile and a prayer. I later learned that he had been in Bedford a half-hour earlier to see off another busload of March for Life pilgrims.

He didn’t have to do that. I’m glad he took the time.