Friday, July 08, 2005

State Representative Maurice Pilotte and SB30

In an e-mail written to a Catholic laywoman regarding the voting record of State Representative Maurice Pilotte of Manchester, New Hampshire, Fr. Edward Arsenault of the Diocese of Manchester wrote that: "Rep. Pilotte voted against SB30. The other procedural votes were an effort to defeat it.."

Fr. Arsenault was referring to the fact that Mr. Pilotte voted yea on vote number 119 (the Bettencourt Amendment) as well as vote number 120 and vote number 123 on SB30 and that he voted nay on vote number 121.

But the Bettencourt Amendment was just what it claimed to be - an amendment. An amendment is defined as "a statement that is added to or revises or improves a proposal or document (a bill or constitution etc). The Bettencourt Amendment was not an attempt to "defeat" SB30, it was an attempt rather to revise SB30 in someway. In what way? Representative David Bettencourt, a Republican from Salem, New Hampshire, introduced this amendment which would have (it was defeated 225-141) required teenage girls under the age of 18 to have a parents permission before they could get the pill from a pharmacist. This amendment would not have prohibited underage females from obtaining access to so-called "emergency contraception," it simply would have required them to get their parent's permission first.

State Representative Maurice Pilotte voted yea on the Bettencourt Amendment (vote 119) but voted nay on vote 121. What can we deduce from this? It would appear that Mr. Pilotte's only problem with SB30 is the fact that it allows underage females to obtain access to abortifacient drugs without parental notification. This is why he voted yea on the Bettencourt Amendment and nay on vote number 121.

Fr. Arsenault also accused the laywoman in question of "calumny" because she firmly believes (and has said so) that Mr. Pilotte is not pro-life and shouldn't be receiving Holy Eucharist and that this situation constitutes a scandal. But doesn't it? Isn't contraception always morally wrong? Why would State Representative Maurice Pilotte vote yea for the Bettencourt Amendment? After all, this Amendment would not have barred underage females (or any female for that matter) from getting their hands on abortifacient drugs. It would have merely prohibited underage females who didn't first obtain a parents permission from getting them.

The laywoman who wrote Fr. Arsenault also made mention of how Representative Pilotte voted against HB1220 in 2004 - which would have banned partial-birth abortion (infanticide) and how he publicly supported the Presidential candidacy of Senator Joseph Lieberman during the last presidential elections. Readers will recall the Senator's total advocacy of what he says is a "woman's right to choose" and his deeply disturbing voting record.

What are we to make of all of this? Readers might also recall how horrified many Catholics were when they discovered that a priest from Jaffrey, New Hampshire had been having sexual relations with a male in his teens and the Diocese of Manchester attempted to downplay this by asserting that the sex was "consensual."

Dear Jesus, have mercy on this troubled diocese.


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