Right to life as a “niche ideological issue”

Political parties, like fire, make good servants and awful masters. I’ve discoursed on this at some length elsewhere, so I’ll try to keep this brief.

The most recent edition of the New Hampshire Sunday News featured an op-ed column from a gentleman well-known in New Hampshire political circles. He’s supportive of many Republicans, and he has his own communications consulting firm. His essays are often featured in the Union Leader/ NH Sunday News.

His recent column touted the announced goals of the Republican majorities in the state Senate. The headline cheerfully blared “Senate GOP puts NH families first”. The column went on to list the policy priorities announced by leaders of the Senate majority at a recent press conference.

Economic issues came first, including a balanced state budget that protects both vulnerable populations as well as taxpayers (there’s overlap there, but I’ll let that pass for now). Then came the rest of the cars on the agenda train: targeted education aid, respect for parental rights and children’s education options, lower electric rates, improved broadband access, solutions to homelessness and housing, improving the state’s mental health services system, and protecting the environment.

I see laudable goals, some of them overdue, even if they might give small-government conservatives fits. But did you notice something missing? The columnist has you covered. “Absent from their agenda are niche ideological issues and special interest appeals.”

I assume that one of those “niche ideological issues” dismissed by the columnist and the Senate is the right to life.

Tough luck, ladies and gentlemen. The minority party has already introduced legislation to lock abortion into the New Hampshire constitution and statutes. There’s also a bill to repeal the Fetal Life Protection Act altogether. The right to life is on your agenda whether you like it or not. If you think stressing the economy is going to get you past that fact, take a look at the last election.

Voters who are both Republican and pro-life might want to remind their party that they don’t fit into a niche. They can be grateful for the timely reminder from the columnist that no one can count on a political party to defend the right to life during State House debates. Count instead on individuals willing to buck their party in order to defend that basic right, without which all the other policy goals are just so much vote-buying.

NH Sunday News link (possibly paywalled): https://www.unionleader.com/opinion/columnists/patrick-hynes-senate-gop-puts-nh-families-first/article_42286be4-e93e-51e1-97af-87046e9e3339.html

Header image by Piro/Pixabay

“Pro-Life Journeys” now in paperback

Pro-Life Journeys is now available at Amazon.com in e-book and paperback formats. Later in January, the paperback will also be available from me directly at local events. And if you want to invite me to your event in or near southern New Hampshire, I’d be honored to hear from you!

I’m grateful to the blog’s Facebook followers for their encouraging messages. For those wondering how they can spread the news about Pro-Life Journeys, let me offer a few ideas. This is a self-published book, so I’m working without a net: no editor, no agent, no press representative. Let’s work together!

First and foremost, please read the book! Its Amazon page includes a short preview of the opening chapter via the “Look Inside” tab. For the e-book, you don’t need a Kindle device; you can download the free Kindle app to read the book on whatever device you use. A note for e-book fans: if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you already have access to the book. Just click the KU button on the book’s Amazon page.

Like what you read? Let your friends know! Leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Do you have a podcast or other media outlet? Let me know if I can be of assistance as your guest. You can follow my site at ellenkolb.com, which includes links to more of my work outside of Leaven. Subscribe to that site’s newsletter for updates on book-related events and special sales.

The book’s final chapter – “The Journey Ahead” – is going to be at the heart of a speaking engagement I have later this week at a private venue. I’d love to share that chapter’s message of practical optimism with your group or class. If you’d like to contact me about your event, you can use the contact form at the bottom of the ellenkolb.com homepage.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me with encouraging words. Every blogger should have such readers!

Leaven for the Loaf marks ten years with anthology “Pro-Life Journeys”

I started this blog in April 2012. Early in 2022, with the ten-year anniversary approaching, I decided that creating a short anthology of posts would be a nice way to celebrate. The project took much longer than I expected. Who knew a book of less than eighty pages could require a dozen drafts?…uh…pretty much every author I consulted during the process, that’s who. Live and learn.

I’m happy to offer the finished product, in e-book format. Pro-Life Journeys is now available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon.com. A paperback version is in the works, and it will be available on Amazon as well.

cover of book Pro-Life Journeys by Ellen Kolb

Selecting the posts to include was difficult, but I think you’ll agree that the people whose stories I share are worth hearing about again – or reading about for the first time, if you’re new to the blog. For example, I’ve included the story of the families whose persistence led to New Hampshire’s fetal homicide law. There are interviews with people who work in pregnancy care centers. There are stories shared with me by former abortion workers, one local and one nationally-known. Those are just a few of the people you’ll encounter in the book. I take note of a couple of policy debates as well.

I called the final chapter “The Journey Ahead.” What can people committed to the right to life do now, in a post-Dobbs environment? I offer what I hope are constructive thoughts about that.

Pro-Life Journeys distills ten years of posts down to a short collection of stories about memorable people whose words and work can inspire us. I hope the e-book finds a place in your library!

By the way, you don’t need a Kindle tablet to read the e-book. The Kindle app is available via Google Play and the Apple Store for use on other devices.

If you like what you read, please help me share the news! Every self-published book including Pro-Life Journeys depends on readers’ reviews, social media posts, and good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Let’s enjoy this particular journey as a team.

To all the blog’s readers, thank you for giving Leaven for the Loaf its staying power. Here’s to more years ahead.

Year in review: a surprising #1 spot on the blog

In politically momentous year for life-issue news, the most popular post on Leaven for the Loaf wasn’t technically a “post” at all. It wasn’t even political. It was a page: Pregnancy Resources in New Hampshire.

I wrote about the Dobbs decision and the leak that preceded it, and those posts drew a lot of readers. Likewise for alerts about important hearings in Concord. But the number one thing that readers sought here in 2022, judging from the number of views, was information on the pregnancy care centers and allied agencies providing support for babies and parents alike.

That’s fitting, in a year when we’ve been reminded repeatedly that political victories have their limits. I think when Dobbs pushed abortion policy to the states, it also prompted us to look at what we’re doing locally in terms of service and witness. People are looking for practical ways to help.

Some abortion advocates used Dobbs as an excuse to attack pregnancy care centers. All the more reason to keep those centers going and thriving, in my opinion.

People of the year

My People of the Year are the individuals behind the New Hampshire centers providing abortion-free care. Each staff member and volunteer is critical to the success of a center. The relationships they build with the people they serve do more than any court can do to build a culture of life. I nod to donors as well. Financial support translates good intentions into positive action.

The “do better” award

If I still had a little scuffed participation trophy from my kids’ earliest years on the town soccer team, I’d haul it out and re-purpose it here.

My “Do Better” award goes to the 2022 political candidates who talked about inflation when opponents were talking about how abortion limitations threatened women’s lives. You know who you are. The voters sure do.

Coming in 2023

Pro-Life Journeys, an anthology from the first ten years of Leaven for the Loaf, will be published within a few days on Amazon. I’m very excited to share stories from some of the most inspiring people I’ve written about, who deliver timeless messages. Watch for more information in the next Leaven email newsletter, coming out the first week in January.

Leaven for the Loaf will be covering legislation in Concord, keeping you updated on what’s happening and how you can affect the outcome. I’m especially keen to report on the effort to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would give abortion constitutional protection. It’s a budget year, and budgets involve more than numbers; recall that’s how the Fetal Life Protection Act was finally passed in 2021.

Because of the razor-thin GOP majority in the New Hampshire House, leaders of the minority were able to persuade House leadership that a 50-50 split of committee seats was a good idea. Look forward to some interesting outcomes in Judiciary, for example.

I intend to report on more pregnancy care centers and their services. The leaders of Pathways in Littleton and Options in Rochester have been generous with their time when I’ve visited them. They left me with a new understanding of how to serve a community.

Are you planning a pro-life event in your area? I’d like to hear about it and possibly cover it for the blog. Send me an email at ellenkolbnh@gmail.com.

My speaking schedule for 2022 will kick off in a couple of weeks at a private event in Hollis. May I help you as a speaker for your event or show? Send me an email and let’s discuss it.

On a personal note

Readers who have been kind enough to follow my writing across several blogs on unrelated topics can now keep up with the whole darn thing at ellenkolb.com. I guarantee it’ll be the only site you’ll see from an activist pro-life New Hampshire Catholic hiker who can’t stop scribbling. I hope you’ll join me there and subscribe to the site’s own newsletter.

May God bless you abundantly in the New Year!