CONCORD, NH – Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, is calling on the faithful to violate New Hampshire's buffer zone law when it goes into effect next month.
Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires all protesters to stay 25 feet away from the state's abortion facilities. The bill, which passed the Senate last Thursday by a 13-10 vote, takes effect 30 days after its signing date.
The bill's passage overjoyed the abortion industry. The executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, Laura Thibault, told the Associated Press the bill aided women in “accessing safe, legal health services.”
Nelle Douville, a former abortion escort at the Planned Parenthood facility in Manchester, was present at the signing ceremony yesterday afternoon. She described herself as ““the blonde one who bursts into applause (and tears unseen) when Governor Hassan declared the bill law” in an entry on BlogHer.com.
Although Douville did not recount any physical violence or threats from sidewalk counselors, she said she had seen “those who accompany patients react with anger and move toward potential confrontation” with pro-life advocates.
Before Hassan's signature, New Hampshire Right to Life likened sidewalk counseling to civil rights protests, which affirmed the human dignity of all people. The organization quoted Martin Luther King Jr.'s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”: “We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”
The Supreme Court is currently weighing a similar buffer zone law in neighboring Massachusetts, which First Amendment supporters and Christians alike say infringe on pro-life speech. The justices are expected to decide McCullen v. Coakley as early as this week.
“Every city and state in the USA has penal codes should unlawful conduct exist. If someone is engaging in repeated unlawful conduct then an injunction can be sought,” Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, told LifeSiteNews. “Without any showing of unlawful conduct pro-life speech can be limited if you are inside the buffer zone. This is what Justice Scalia calls ‘the abortion distortion’ – any other group can protest, but life-affirming speech is penalized.”
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The New Hampshire law's defenders say it passes constitutional muster because it does not specifically single out pro-life activists, saying all protesters must stand outside “a radius up to 25 feet of any portion of an entrance, exit, or driveway of a reproductive health care facility.”
Legal or illegal, Fr. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, says those who wish to rescue the unborn should ignore it, because it violates a higher Law.
“Because of its injustice, and because of the teaching of the Church that calls for conscientious objection to such laws, this law has no claim on conscience and should be directly disobeyed and violated,” he said in a statement.