A Genteel Rant on Party Unity

Having let this simmer on the back burner for a few weeks, I find it’s still apt, even with the election so close. Therefore, for your consideration:

I’m not a political action committee, nor do I plan to form one. It’s election season, though, so forgive me the occasional rant. There’s a campaign phenomenon that drives me nuts: people who campaign for (insert party name here) candidates for the sole reason that they belong to (insert party name here), because “party unity” or some such thing.

I’ve been a campaign staffer on two statewide Republican campaigns, both of which hired me knowing I’m an independent. A generation ago, back when I was a registered Republican, I was involved in platform debates. There’s pressure to support the entire party slate of candidates, top to bottom. That’s true of every party. I get that.

But I don’t think it’s too much to expect for pro-lifers to be pro-life first and (insert party name here) second. When elected officials of a party with a pro-life platform are not united in supporting that plank, and when the right to life is fundamental, then it’s kind of silly to vote a straight (insert party here) ticket.

Read the rest of the post at Leaven for the Loaf

Support in Unexpected Places

I ask my readers’ indulgence as I shamelessly swipe something from the latest update out of 40 Days for Life in Greenland, New Hampshire.

…I also got an update about the women from the Correctional Center who pray for our Greenland 40 Days for Life Efforts. The Godmother to one of the women forwarded  my 40DFL email in which I mentioned the women and their prayer support of our local 40 DFL efforts. The women were very encouraged by the connection they have to something outside their walls-the 40 Days for Life Greenland vigil!

Wow.

No one is beyond prayer, and no one is beyond joining in prayer.

Read the rest of the post at Leaven for the Loaf.

Pro-Life in Secular World: “We Need Everyone to Be On Board”

Excerpt from my report from the 2018 Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life

January 20, 2018, Washington, D.C.

The driver of the Route G2 Metrobus assured me that I was at the right stop. “The building’s straight ahead of you.” I stepped off the bus a little uncertainly, then spotted the protesters flanking the doors of the nearest building. This must be the place, I thought. Nothing like a pro-life event to foster free speech. Welcome to Georgetown University.

The protesters, about two dozen young women, were between chants as I got to the building’s front steps. One of them said to the others in a tentative voice, “OK, let’s do ‘pro-life, that’s a lie,’ OK?” She sounded afraid someone might say no. A moment later they all took up the chant: pro-life, that’s a lie, you don’t care if women die. 

Their voices faded quickly as I moved into the building and was caught up in the friendly crush of a crowd, seven hundred strong, arriving for the Cardinal O’Connor Conference on Life. This has been an annual event since 2000, organized by Georgetown students, yet I hadn’t heard of it until just a few weeks ago.

So why did I tack an extra day on to my March for Life trip in order to catch a bus to Georgetown? Because of the speakers, and the conference theme: (Ir)religiously Pro-Life: the Future of the Movement in a Secular World.

I left later with the same questions I’d had when I arrived: how and where is that working? Where’s the synthesis? I don’t doubt that it’s possible – but where to start?
For now, I’m encouraged to know that I’m not the only one pondering the questions.

Read the rest of the post in my email newsletter.

The Incomplete Journey

On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I recall what former President Obama said on another MLK Day a few years ago.

“Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.”

True then, true now. That’s one reason I’m heading to Washington, D.C. in a few days for the March for Life. Presidents of all vintages are welcome to join me.

[adapted from a January 2013 post at Leaven for the Loaf]

Two Families Persist & Succeed at N.H. State House

Edited from an original post at Leaven for the Loaf.

Sarah and Griffin’s Law has been signed. I was determined to see this happen, in person. I wouldn’t believe it otherwise.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed SB 66 on June 30, and now the fetal homicide measure will be known as Sarah and Griffin’s Law. It will go into effect January 1, 2018.

At that time, prosecutors will have the option of bringing a homicide charge against a person whose violent actions cause the death of a preborn child at or after 20 weeks’ gestation, against the will of the mother.

The state Supreme Court’s 2009 plea in the Lamy case was a factor in passage of this new law. Overturning a drunk driver’s homicide conviction for killing a child who died from injuries sustained in utero by the drunk driver’s actions, the Court told the legislature it would have to update state law in order for such a charge to stick.

Finally, the legislature and a governor have answered the Supreme Court with something other than “meh.”

Moms Deana Crucitti & Ashlyn Rideout (front); dads Nathan Crucitti & Daniel Kenison (rear middle & right) after SB 66 was signed into law.

The families of Griffin Kenison and Sarah Crucitti were at the Governor’s side as he signed the law. Their extended families, children included, filled the Executive Council chamber. Some held photos of Griffin and Sarah.

Three generations of Griffin’s family were there, including “Grammy Shirley,” who told me with deep emotion three years ago “we’re on a crusade.” 

A year ago, Governor Sununu was an Executive Councilor. In that capacity, to the dismay of many voters, Councilor Sununu in voted “Yea” on a state contract with abortion providers – a contract that the Council had rejected a few months earlier, with Sununu voting “Nay.” He flip-flopped.

Shortly before the 2016 gubernatorial election, with Sununu in a tight race, a concerned pro-life Republican asked Republican candidate Sununu what pro-life initiatives he (Sununu) could support. The candidate responded with a short list, made public with his consent.

Fetal homicide was #1 on the list.

I give him credit for keeping his word.

I give credit to the legislators who persevered to pass a fetal homicide bill. At least one New Hampshire legislator has been an advocate for such legislation for more than twenty years.

I give credit to the concerned voter who last year elicited Chris Sununu’s written support for fetal homicide legislation.

I give credit to the New Hampshire Supreme Court justices, who in signing the Lamy decision placed the matter squarely in the legislature’s arena eight years ago.

I give most of the credit to the families who lost their children and who came to Concord again and again to tell their stories.

I spoke to baby Griffin’s great-aunt at the bill-signing ceremony. “I didn’t think I’d live to see this day,” I told her.

She gave me a no-nonsense look. “Shame on you.”

Lesson learned: never give up.

Volunteers Building a Safe Harbor

Reposted from Leaven for the Loaf.

“A Safe Harbor for Mother and Child.” Step by step, St. Gianna’s Place is on the way to becoming a shelter for pregnant and parenting women. Administrative details are in place: a board of directors; nonprofit tax status. Now comes the work of acquiring a house, most likely in Londonderry, New Hampshire.

St. Gianna’s is taking shape one step at a time, guided by board members and an increasing number of supporters. One of those supporters, Lynn, hosted me and several other women for coffee recently so we could meet Maria Szemplinski of the St. Gianna’s Place board.

Maria talked about the planned home and about the people whose vision has brought the project this far.  She told us about the need for more shelter beds in our area: “our Calcutta is right here,” she said, evoking Mother Teresa. She talked about other shelters in the region and how their staffs have been generous in sharing their advice and experience with the St. Gianna’s team.

So what’s next? We asked Maria what we could do.

One obvious answer: fundraising. That wasn’t what Maria led with, though. She asked us to consider what our gifts might be.

I knew some of my fellow guests slightly, and had met others for the first time that morning: a student active in pro-life work at her school, people with experience working with at-risk youth, an adoptive parent. These were women with full lives, hardly in need of another project, but all of them eager to offer practical assistance to pregnant and parenting women. I was in a room full of potential mentors and teachers.

Our hostess was meeting one of St. Gianna’s most urgent needs by welcoming us for an information session. Spreading the word is critical to attracting the material support the project needs. Maria and her fellow board members welcome opportunities to speak with any person or group who’d like to learn more.

Maria made it clear that even at this stage, the St. Gianna’s board is on the lookout for people with the skills to work with women who want educational guidance, job training, and parenting skills.

Eventually, it will be time to furnish and equip the house that will serve as the shelter. There will be ongoing needs for food, baby supplies, and building maintenance.

There will be – there is – work for everyone who wants to make the shelter happen and help it thrive.

Learn more about St. Gianna’s Place, about the woman whose life and example inspired the project, and how to contact the St. Gianna’s Place team for more information. Watch the St. Gianna’s Place Facebook page for updates.