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by Ellen Kolb * ellen@leavenfortheloaf.com
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Wednesday, May 6: NH House will vote on fetal homicide

 

Thursday, May 7: NH Senate will vote on buffer zone repeal




Get your House representatives' names and contact information at this link.
Get your Senator's name and contact information at this link.
 

 

Fetal Homicide:
Ask your House representatives to vote OUGHT TO PASS WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENT on SB 40.

The House will convene at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 6 for its session. The Criminal Justice/Public Safety Committee voted 11-5 for "ought to pass with amendment" on SB 40. Originally, SB 40 would have made a fetal homicide law effective fairly late in pregnancy. The proposed amendment would make it effective eight weeks into pregnancy, which is consistent with HB 560, "Griffin's Law." (HB 560 is currently stalled as Senators wait to see what the House will do with SB 40.)
  • A fetal homicide law could be used against anyone whose bad actions cause a woman to lose a wanted pregnancy. Such laws acknowledge the fact that such actions go beyond being simply an assault on the pregnant woman.
  • Two New Hampshire families testified this year about the loss of their preborn children to automobile collisions caused by careless drivers. Neither driver could be charged for killing a child, in the absence of a fetal homicide statute. 
  • Both SB 40 and HB 560 make it clear that no pregnant woman could be charged in the death of her own preborn child. The law would not affect the legality of abortion or assisted reproductive technologies. 
  • The New Hampshire Supreme Court in a 2009 decision (the Lamy case) urged the legislature to re-visit the state's homicide statutes as they pertain to a fetus. The absence of a fetal homicide law forced the Court to throw out a conviction against a drunk driver whose actions caused the premature birth and early death of a child.
  • Under current New Hampshire law, a woman's choice to terminate her pregnancy is respected - but without a fetal homicide law, a woman's choice to carry her pregnancy to term is NOT respected. Currently, drunk drivers and abusive partners can cause the death of a preborn child knowing that they will not be called to account for that death. It's time to change that.
  • The minority report of the House committee says that "enhanced penalties" for injuring a pregnant woman would be sufficient.  The writer of the report expresses concern that fetal homicide legislation is a step toward "personhood" and would endanger women. IN FACT, fetal homicide laws have been in effect in other states for years without impairing legal abortion. 
Here's my post about the House committee hearing on SB 40.
 

Buffer zone repeal:
Ask your state senator to vote OUGHT TO PASS with NO AMENDMENT on HB 403.

The Senate will vote on HB 403 at its 10 a.m. session on Thursday, May 7. The Judiciary Committee voted 3-1 to recommend "ought to pass." This bill calls for simple, straightforward repeal of the unenforceable anti-First-Amendment "buffer zone" law that was enacted last year.  
  • New Hampshire's law is very similar to the Massachusetts law that was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last June. Buffer zone supporters claim that NH's law is different because the zone is a different size. IN FACT, the Court's ruling had NOTHING to do with the size of the buffer zone.  As a reminder, here's what Chief Justice Roberts wrote for a unanimous Court:
    • "Petitioners [McCullen et al.] wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks—sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history. Respondents assert undeniably significant interests in maintaining public safety on those same streets and sidewalks, as well as in preserving access to adjacent healthcare facilities. But here the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] has pursued those interests by the extreme step of closing a substantial portion of a traditional public forum to all speakers. It has done so without seriously addressing the problem through alternatives that leave the forum open for its time-honored purposes. The Commonwealth may not do that consistent with the First Amendment. "
  • Buffer zone supporters testified that they could live with having the current buffer zone replaced by something that would pass constitutional muster. If they feel that way, let them introduce a new bill next year, with plenty of time for public hearings and vetting. For now, PASS HB 403 WITHOUT AMENDMENTS and get the buffer zone off the books.
  • The state and several county attorneys face litigation over the buffer zone law (via the Reddy v. Foster case). While there is currently a restraining order in place to prevent enforcement, taxpayers are on the hook for defending a law that clearly violates a recent Supreme Court decision. The best, fastest and cheapest way to end the litigation is to pass HB 403 and thereby repeal the buffer zone law.
Here's a post about last February's initial hearing on HB 403.
 

A few suggestions ...

  • Phone calls to legislators are better than emails. Use common sense about calling at a reasonable hour.
  • Emails are better than nothing. Don't cut-and-paste someone else's words; speak for yourself.
  • If you email, be sure to mention where you live so your reps will know that they're hearing from a constituent. 
  • Keep your message very brief and very courteous. 
  • Share information about these bills with your social media contacts.
  • The public is welcome to attend these House and Senate sessions by sitting in the gallery, but no public testimony will be taken. If you go to Concord, get there a half-hour ahead of the scheduled session and greet legislators on their way into their chambers.
This is a time for a unified, peaceful, determined pro-life message to all of New Hampshire's legislators. It's also, in my humble opinion, a time for prayer. If I hear any plans for a rally before the votes, I'll report it on the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page.
 

Let's get these bills onto Governor Hassan's desk!

For Life -

Ellen Kolb

 

 

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