New Hampshire House to Vote on Life Bills this Week
The New Hampshire House will convene both Wednesday and Thursday this week. Among the many pending matters to be addressed are several bills related to respect for life.
With such a large number of bills on the agenda this week, representatives are reporting they are receiving many messages. It is important to speak out on these bills below, but the most effective messages will be brief with a very specific action item for your representative (for example, VOTE OUGHT TO PASS ON HB 589). And remember, it is best to reach out to your own representatives – elected officials are most interested in hearing from their own constituents. So be sure to tell your representative where you live when you are reaching out on an issue.
Grateful for all your efforts to advocate for the most vulnerable,
Meredith P. Cook
Director, Office of Public Policy
HB 589 seeks to repeal the New Hampshire abortion clinic buffer zone law. Many of you will recall that in 2014, the Legislature passed a bill creating a buffer zone around abortion clinics. The bill was signed into law, and this buffer zone allows only certain individuals to be present within a designated area around abortion clinics. While an employee of an abortion clinic is allowed to be present for the purpose of escorting individuals, an individual who wishes to speak with a woman to offer an alternative to abortion is silenced. The House Judiciary Committee heard compelling testimony on HB 589 from a number of people who seek to offer women an alternative to abortion in a peaceful and nonconfrontational manner. The Committee voted 9-8 to recommend the full House pass HB 589. Contact and your representatives to urge them to vote Ought to Pass on HB 589.
Banning Abortions after Viability
HB 578 seeks to prohibit abortion of a viable unborn child, except in cases of a medical emergency. This bill does not ban all abortions but instead seeks to address those taking place later in pregnancy when an unborn child is viable. Public opinion polls consistently reveal that Americans support restrictions on late-term abortions. The House Judiciary Committee heard from many New Hampshire citizens interested in prohibiting abortions once an unborn child is viable, including many of you. The Committee voted 10-7 to recommend the full House pass HB 578 with an amendment. Additional floor amendments are expected this week, including a deeply troubling Floor Amendment 2017-0661h introduced by Rep. Kenison that would remove a requirement of physicians to make efforts to preserve the life of the unborn, viable child. While we believe the best approach is HB 578 as introduced, we are asking legislators to consider both the mother and viable child if asked to vote on any amendments and under no circumstances to vote in favor of the floor amendment offered by Rep. Kenison. Contact your representatives to urge them to vote Ought to Pass on HB 578.
Death Penalty Expansion
A bill has been introduced seeking to make anyone who knowingly causes the death of a child guilty of capital murder. The death of a child is a tragic event that no parent, no family, and no society should ever have to experience. But Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person applies to every human person, even those who do great harm. Sentences such as life in prison without parole allow the means to protect our homes and neighborhoods without compromising our most basic belief that we uphold the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. By a bipartisan and overwhelming 17-3 margin, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to recommend the full House oppose HB 351. This bill likely will be heard by the House on Wednesday, so contact your representatives today and urge them to vote Inexpedient to Legislate on HB 351.