A group of New Hampshire Republicans are facing criticism after they helped to defeat a pro-life bill Thursday in the state legislature.
Late-term abortions currently are legal for any reason up to birth in New Hampshire. State House Bill 578, sponsored by Rep. Keith Murphy, a Republican, would have prohibited abortions on unborn babies who are viable outside the womb.
“The New Hampshire House had a chance to stand with Murphy. The House refused,” pro-life blogger Ellen Kolb wrote this week at Leaven for the Loaf.
Murphy’s clean bill, the one he introduced, was weakened in committee. The clean bill never came up today. The question before the House was whether to adopt the committee amendment, which while inferior to the original bill, kept alive (you’ll pardon the expression) the idea that aborting children at eight or nine months’ gestation is something to be more-or-less avoided.
The amendment was defeated , 170-189. After that, the bill itself was swiftly tabled.
The amendment would have allowed late-term abortions after viability if the baby is diagnosed with a fatal anomaly or deemed “incompatible with life,” according to her report. It also would have removed a requirement that a second doctor to be present at a late-term abortion in the chance that the baby was born alive, according to Kolb.
On Facebook after the vote, Rep. Murphy slammed the Republicans who voted against the late-term abortion ban.
“As a result of the vote, NH remains one of the seven states to allow abortions right up to the moment of birth,” Murphy wrote, listing the names of 30 Republicans and one Libertarian who helped to defeat the bill.
“A few of these people voted against the committee amendment because they felt it didn’t go far enough,” Murphy continued. “… Most simply opposed the state protecting the lives of unborn children at any moment prior to birth, even when those children could survive outside the womb.”
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He called for a defeat of Republicans who stray from the party’s pro-life platform in the next election and urged that they be replaced with lawmakers willing to protect unborn babies’ lives.
“I truly believe lives hung in the balance and because of the above representatives, those lives are lost,” he concluded.
There is a slim chance that the bill could be considered again.
Kolb noted, “The man who moved to table the bill following rejection of the amendment was Rep. Joe Hagan, chairman of Judiciary, who in very hasty remarks indicated that he thought the bill was salvageable.”
However, both Kolb and Murphy expressed strong doubts about this possibility, because state lawmakers did not even support a weakened form of it.