Marching for Life, or Where the Sidewalk Ends - Granite Grok

Marching for Life, or Where the Sidewalk Ends

New Hampshire Right to Life sponsored another successful March for Life in Concord on Saturday. The annual event brings hundreds of pro-life Granite Staters together to rally and march in defense of the right to life. Bold stuff, for Concord.

Gathering on State House plaza before March for Life 2017. Ellen Kolb photo.
Gathering on State House plaza before March for Life 2017. Ellen Kolb photo.

Opponents waited near the Equality Center down the street (the name “Feminist Health Center” has been retired from active duty). There were permits all around. Concord officials have adopted an every-other-year policy for use of the sidewalk in front of the Center during the march: last year, pro-lifers got to march in front of the building while abortion advocates stayed off that segment of sidewalk; this year, it was the other way around, with pro-lifers shifting off of Main Street for a block to stay within the terms of the permit issued by the city.

Participants in the March for Life are usually directed not to block the sidewalks while marching from the State House to St. John the Evangelist Church half a mile away (site of a post-march program). Permit holders of any persuasion are supposed to leave enough room to allow passage by people not involved in the demonstration du jour. Or so I thought.

This is what the sidewalk looked like at one end of the Equality Center’s block, where the pro-lifers’ route moved off Main Street.

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The same demonstrators moved to the other end of the block to greet marchers returning from their one-block pro-life detour. (I took both photos.)

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No big deal, since I didn’t need to use that particular stretch of sidewalk. But have I been under the wrong impression all these years about a requirement for sidewalk access? Next year, maybe I’ll ask to see the fine print on the permit. I’m sure the terms are the same for all parties.

The march itself was one of several events in this annual observance, which is timed to come near the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Since 1989, New Hampshire’s march for life has always been preceded by a gathering at what used to be the Concord dump, now the transfer station. I report at Leaven for the Loaf on how that unlikely venue became part of New Hampshire’s largest annual pro-life gathering.

Note for First Amendment fans: as the legislature takes its third swing at the unenforced “buffer zone” law, the New Hampshire Right to Life PAC is petitioning Governor Sununu to sign repeal when it comes to his desk. Sign here if you’re so inclined.