New Hampshire House Passes Three Pro-Life Bills on Abortion

State   Steven Ertelt   Mar 30, 2012   |   12:00PM    Washington, DC

The New Hampshire state House voted this week to approve three key pro-life bills that will limit and reduce abortions — including a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, a 24-hour waiting period, and an informed consent measure to give women accurate information.

The waiting period bill was going to allow women a chance to get information on the proven connection between abortion and breast cancer, but amendments floated on the House floor by abortion backers got enough votes and women will be denied the information.

Republican Rep. Jeanine Notter of Merrimack, the main sponsor of the bill, told lawmakers it should be included.

“This is model legislation from Americans [United] for Life,” she said. “Does abortion increase the risk of breast cancer? It depends on the study (you believe). Women should know about the risk.”

The House also passed a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases of saving the life of the mother or to “avert the serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

The Concord Monitor newspaper provides more details on the bills:

Rep. Tammy Simmons, a Manchester Republican, co-sponsored the amended version that passed yesterday.

“Twenty-four hours is not too long to wait when we are talking about the life of another human being,” she said.

The amended bill now heads to the state Senate. It took a series of back-and-forth votes to get it there.

Two weeks ago, the bill passed the House 189-151. It was then referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee so the bill’s criminal penalties could be reviewed. That committee voted 8-7 to remove the felony charges and returned the bill to the House for a second vote yesterday.

On the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the Associated Press provides additional details:

Abortion providers would face felony charges punishable by up to 15 years in prison for violating the proposed law, although the mother would not be prosecuted. The House voted 190-109 to send the bill to the Senate. The fate of the bill and four others sent to the Senate is uncertain.

Besides the 20-week ban, the House voted over the past two weeks to ban partial-birth abortions, require women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion, approve a study to recommend a process to collect statistics on abortion and to change the timing given judges to rule on whether a minor can have an abortion when she does not want to notify her parents in advance.

State Rep. Kathleen Souza, R-Manchester, argued New Hampshire should recognize that the fetus feels pain at 20 weeks.

“If we are tolerating what is happening to these unborn children, can we not at least have some empathy and say they feel pain?” she said of the bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

If the pro-life measures reach the desk of pro-abortion Gov. John Lynch, they will probably be vetoed:

“The governor believes these are about health care decisions between a woman and her doctor. He doesn’t think state government should get involved. That’s the principle he’ll use reviewing these bills should they reach his desk,” Lynch press secretary Colin Manning said this week when asked about the bills.