My thanks to Fr. Robert McTeigue, S.J., who welcomed me to “The Catholic Current” on The Station Of the Cross Catholic Radio Network. New Hampshire’s assisted suicide bill was the launching point for an hour of good conversation about public policy and the right to life.
Nothing scripted there: no prepared answers, since I didn’t know what the questions would be. His query about advice I might have to offer set me off on something that may have sounded a bit rehearsed, but wasn’t. Mass and Adoration. That’s my advice, and I didn’t just say that because it was Ash Wednesday. I talked about my reasons for that answer in the last part of the podcast.
May 13, 2013, Philadelphia: Kermit Gosnell was convicted of murder, manslaughter, and a couple of hundred lesser offenses. He’s in prison for life. If he were released, he could set up shop in New Hampshire and commit with impunity some of the same actions for which he’s now imprisoned.
The New Hampshire House will vote on March 7 on HB 158, an abortion statistics bill. Here’s where we’ll find out just how much the news out of New York and Vermont has influenced New Hampshire legislators. Are they distressed to be in one of the few states that leaves abortion unregulated throughout pregnancy? Then here’s a baby step: let our public health authorities at least find out how many abortions take place in New Hampshire.
This bill won’t recognize a right to life. It doesn’t call for tracking post-abortion maternal injury or death, and it therefore would not detect abortion providers with a pattern of harming patients. It provides protection for the anonymity of women seeking abortion.
It would bring New Hampshire into line with the forty-seven other states that report abortion statistics, in aggregated non-personally-identifying form, to the Centers for Disease Control.
Abortion advocates are fighting this, as they have fought every attempt to find out how many abortions are performed in our state annually.
New Hampshire is arguably the most Gosnell-friendly state in the union, although New York is trying its best to join us. (Former abortionist Kermit Gosnell is serving life in prison for first-degree murder and manslaughter, after carrying on his business for years in Pennsylvania, a state that for a long time turned a blind eye to abortion providers.) Want to step away from that ghastly position?
Take a baby step. Pass HB 158.
Update: the House defeated HB 158, marking the eighth time since 2002 that abortion statistics legislation has failed to advance in New Hampshire.
Update, 5/4/19: HB 455 passed House and Senate but was vetoed by Gov. Sununu. An override vote has not yet been scheduled.
A veto by Governor Chris Sununu last June stopped a bill to repeal New Hampshire’s death penalty statute. Undeterred, advocates of repeal have brought forth another bill this year, HB 455. It just received an “ought to pass” recommendation from the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee on a vote of 11-6. I’m glad to see that.
The repeal effort picked up a powerful advocate this time: Rep. David Welch (R-Kingston). He’s the committee’s ranking Republican and former chairman.
I went to the recent public hearing on HB 455 to sign “the blue sheet” indicating my support. I’m a registered lobbyist with a client that does not take a position on capital punishment, so as I entered the room I had to take off my orange badge and become just another member of the general public losing time from work in order to weigh in on the bill. I caught just the end of Rep. Welch’s testimony.
As quoted in a New Hampshire Union Leader report, Rep. Welch announced he had abandoned his longtime support for capital punishment. “Now I’ve resolved my positions. I’m consistently prolife and will not vote for the death penalty.”
Remember that the next time you think someone’s views on the right to life are set in stone.
(Note: This is based on a post I wrote for Cornerstone Action, which kindly gave me permission to re-post here.)
New York’s governor ordered buildings to be illuminated in pink lights on January 22, in celebration of state law he had just signed eliminating most limitations on abortion. Legislators in Virginia and Vermont are ready to follow suit with radically anti-life policies.
Think it couldn’t happen in New Hampshire? The grim fact is that it already has. New Hampshire is one of the most abortion-friendly states in the country. Here are the facts.
How far into pregnancy are abortions permitted in New Hampshire?
Abortions are legal, unrestricted, and unregulated throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy in New Hampshire.
As recently as 2017 and 2018, legislators rejected bills that would have provided protection for viable preborn children.
What laws in New Hampshire affect abortion now?
New Hampshire has a parental notification statute. When a minor seeks abortion, she needs to notify a parent or guardian, or else use a “judicial bypass” in which a judge determines she is mature enough to make her own decision. The law calls for notification, not consent.
New Hampshire bans the barbaric abortion method known as partial-birth abortion or dilation-&-extraction, in which a child is delivered partway before being killed. This ban was passed in 2012.
As of early 2019, New Hampshire policy limits the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.
New Hampshire adopted a fetal homicide statute in 2017, allowing prosecutors the option of filing homicide charges against a person whose bad actions cause the death of a preborn child against the mother’s will. While not an abortion law, it was bitterly opposed by abortion advocates.
How many abortions are performed in New Hampshire annually?
No one knows, and that includes state lawmakers. New Hampshire does not have an abortion statistics law, despite the fact that the federal Centers for Disease Control attempts to collect abortion data. Forty-seven other states manage to collect and report such data, while protecting the anonymity and privacy of individual women obtaining abortions.
New Hampshire public health officials have no reliable data on the age of women seeking abortion, the stage of pregnancy at which abortions are performed, and whether women are experiencing abortion complications.
How many doctors do abortions in New Hampshire?
No one knows, since public health authorities do not collect any data on abortions.
There is no requirement that abortion providers in New Hampshire have any medical training or certification whatsoever.
Do New Hampshire state public health authorities inspect abortion facilities?
No, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. From a May 19, 2013 report in the New Hampshire Sunday News: “Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Department of Health and Human Services, explained in an email that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and the Concord Feminist Health Center are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements because they are considered physician offices. Twenty-three health care providers such as hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and dialysis centers are licensed by the state, but not abortion clinics. ‘In New Hampshire, there is no such thing as an abortion clinic – the majority of abortions are done in doctors offices … and doctors’ offices are exempt from licensure under RSA 151:2 II,’ Neilsen said. ‘Because they are exempt, we have no jurisdiction over them, and neither does anyone else.’”
Who sets standards for abortion facilities?
The abortion providers themselves determine what standards to use. Since there is no law that providers have any medical training, those “standards” need not relate in any way to women’s health.
What’s the rate of post-abortion complications experienced by New Hampshire women?
No one knows, since lawmakers refuse to demand abortion statistics and public health officials decline to collect them. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” sums it up.
Does New Hampshire law protect children who survive attempted abortion?
No. Children who survive attempted abortion are not entitled to any more care than the abortionist wishes to provide. A bill to recognize a duty to care for such infants was defeated by the New Hampshire House in 2016.
Does New Hampshire law recognize the conscience rights of health care personnel who choose not to participate in abortion?
No. A bill to provide conscience protections was killed in the New Hampshire House in 2018. Health care professionals in New Hampshire can lose their jobs and be subject to professional sanctions for refusing to assist in abortions.
How did New Hampshire become such a haven for abortion providers?
In 1997, then-Governor (now U.S. Senator) Jeanne Shaheen signed a lawrepealing New Hampshire’s 19th-century anti-abortion laws. She did so knowing full well that no updated laws were in place. With a stroke of her pen, and with the cooperation of legislators, New Hampshire abortion regulation disappeared. So did concern for the health of women obtaining abortions. So did concern for preborn children, even moments away from birth.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can help turn a culture of abortion into a culture that respects and nurtures life, especially in its most vulnerable stages.
Share the message: Knowledge is power, and many people don’t know the facts about abortion in New Hampshire.
Pray. Join with your faith community. A culture of prayer will lead to a culture of life.
Politicians bear a great deal of responsibility for New Hampshire’s abortion-friendly laws, but blaming Concord won’t help. What will help is electing representatives at all levels of government who respect the right to life, and who care about the health of pregnant women and their children. Vote for candidates who recognize that New Hampshire law relative to abortion must be changed.
Consider running for local or state office.
Work within your community to create and sustain life-affirming options for women and children at risk from abortion. Contact your local pro-life pregnancy care center to learn about practical ways you can help.
The New Hampshire House has voted to kill a “right-to-work” bill. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are noisy with the cries of RTW advocates who are upset that SB 11 failed on the Republicans’ watch. Right-to-work is in the state GOP platform. Republican leadership in legislative and executive branches promoted the bill. It failed anyway, by 23 votes.