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A bill as poorly written as HB-194 does not merit consideration

To The Daily Sun,

House Bill 194, which is currently under consideration in the New Hampshire House, provides that life begins at conception. The bill would give full protection of the law to all fertilized eggs. It would ban all abortions, with no exceptions, as well as indirectly impacting thousands of wide-ranging laws, from the provision of Social Security benefits and how wills are administered, to infertility treatment and contraceptive options, to name just a few. The bill states that it should "not be construed to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child," although lead sponsor of the bill, Representative J.R. Hoell (Merrimack, District 23) stated during the hearing of the bill on Jan. 23 that he would be pleased should this bill lead to criminalization of abortion in the future.

During the break I asked Rep. Hoell why he would sponsor a bill that would, for example, prevent women with ectopic pregnancy from receiving potentially life-saving care. His first response was that such cases would be exempted in this bill. I pointed out that this was not the case, to which he replied that he would support such an exemption in follow-on legislation.

I am not a lawyer. I am a recently retired reproductive health epidemiologist, but even I know that our country is founded on the principle of rule of law and that how a law is written matters. Commas matter. A bill as poorly written as HB-194 is so inadequate that it does not merit the time that the committee and representatives of concerned organizations have spent in deliberation. For this reason, in addition to my personal opposition to legislation that would limit a woman's decision-making power regarding her own health.

I strongly urge citizens to contact their own representatives and members of the House Judiciary Committee to oppose forwarding this bill to the state House floor.

Cynthia Stanton


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Name Year-Round Library is finger in eye to town's other libraries

To The Daily Sun,

After being open for more than five years, the Gilmanton Year-Round Library is mired in, from my perspective, a scratch-your-head financial malaise. Some of the most avid library users still advocate for no public funding. The selectmen still take no pride in a building and its services that greatly enhance the quality of life in Gilmanton.

When I was hired as the first librarian at the GYRL, the trustees and I agreed on several goals. Just about all were accomplished. We wanted to provide full library services for at least five days per week. We wanted to provide these services in a relaxed atmosphere outside of the politics and personalities of the town. We wanted the library to be a community living room and community meeting space welcoming to all. And we wanted significant collections in all media, including state-of-the-art technology and participation in the N.H. State Library Inter-library Loan Network. All services had to equal the building's potential. These goals were met and in the last four years enhanced.

We were optimistic that residents of Gilmanton would say, "I might not use this library, but many of my neighbors and their children will and it is a service that should be offered to the community."

Public libraries, by their very nature, are the center — not of any class or section — but of the entire community. The poorest family and the richest family have equal privileges. Children and young people and middle-aged people and old people have equal interest in a local library and its content. A library serves the whole community as no other institution in its midst does.

Now I know that most Gilmanton residents are both kind and open-minded. It was no secret that, as the GYRL's first librarian, I was born and raised in the Bronx and am an avid Yankee fan. But still, I was almost universally treated cordially and with respect by library visitors, school administration and staff, and town officials.

It is my hope that the Gilmanton Selectmen, Budget Committee and voters support GRYL funding. Given my experience at the GYRL, I do have several items for thought.

Item 1: Gilmanton Year-Round Library Trustees please change the name. It has been and still is a finger in the eye to the other two libraries in town. I like the name Gilmanton Central Library, halfway between the Corners and the Iron Works. But I am sure other polite names will come to mind.

Item 2: Create one online catalog for all three libraries so borrowers can find the closest library that has the wanted item. Also, coordinate hours open as to maximize the number of hours at least one library will be open. Coordinate book and other media purchases to get the broadest collection possible. This might mean a coordination of funding requests from the town and appeals for private funding.

Item 3: Remember libraries are cooperative, not competitive, organizations.

Gary Mason

First GYRL Librarian


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