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New Hampshire Legislature in Session and Religious Liberty Action Alert

February 6, 2017

NH State House

We have been testifying at the State House, and it has been wonderful to see so many of you in Concord. Now that the Legislature has been in session for a few weeks, we want to provide you with a summary of some of the key bills we have been following as well as notes on how you can take action.

Click on the subjects below to read about the legislation we have been tracking under each of these topics. Don't miss the action alert on what you can do today in support of religious liberty.

Cook Meredith ROUND 250Grateful for all your efforts to advocate for the most vulnerable and the common good,

Meredith P. Cook
Director, Office of Public Policy

Abortion

Buffer Zone: 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 non-confrontational manner. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on the bill in the near future and will make a recommendation to the full House.

Contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and your own representatives to urge them to vote OUGHT TO PASS on HB 589.

Abortion Statistics

Currently, New Hampshire is one of only two states in the country that does not collect statistics about abortions. HB 471 was introduced to require the Department of Health and Human Services to publish an annual report based on an aggregate summary of the information obtained about abortions performed in New Hampshire. The bill specifically includes safeguards to maintain the privacy of individual information. Last session, a bipartisan group worked to agree on language that would collect this data and protect individual information, but it was defeated in the Senate. The current bill includes that privacy protection language. A hearing will be held on HB 471 on Tuesday, February 7.

Contact the members of the House Health and Human Services Committee and your representatives to urge them to vote OUGHT TO PASS on HB 471.

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 will vote on the bill in the near future and will make a recommendation to the full House.

Contact the members of the Judiciary Committee and your representatives to urge them to vote OUGHT TO PASS on HB 578.

Fetal Homicide

In 2009, the New Hampshire Supreme Court heard the Lamy case, a criminal case concerning an intoxicated driver who struck a car driven by a woman who was pregnant. The child was delivered prematurely and died two weeks later as a result of the injuries sustained in the collision. The Court overturned the conviction of the driver for causing the death of the child because current New Hampshire law does not support a conviction for the child’s death. In the Lamy decision, Justice James Duggan wrote, “Should the legislature find this result in this case as unfortunate as we do, it should follow the lead of many other states and revisit the homicide statutes as they pertain to the fetus.” HB 156 and SB 66 have been introduced to include unborn children in the current homicide laws. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on HB 156 on Tuesday, February 7. In addition, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on SB 66 soon and will make a recommendation to the full Senate.

Contact the members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, Judiciary Committee, and your representatives and senator to urge them to support this long overdue change in the law.

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 begins 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. The House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on HB 351 on Tuesday, February 7.

Contact the members of the Committee and your representative and urge them to vote INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE on HB 351.

Religious Liberty Action Alert

As you know, religious freedom in the United States has suffered years of erosion, including conscience protections regarding abortion. The White House is contemplating the issuance of an executive order that would restore the government’s respect for the religious freedom of individuals and organizations.

Download this sample action alert to show your support for such an executive order.

How to Contact Your New Hampshire Legislators

Look up the contact information for your elected officials or call (603) 271-3661.

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