Wednesday hearings: repeal buffer zone, prohibit post-viability abortions

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee will have hearings on Wednesday, February 1, on two bills: HB 578, to prohibit abortions of children of gestational age 21 weeks or more who are determined to be viable, and HB 589, yet another attempt to repeal the useless, unenforced buffer zone bill.

Room 208 of the Legislative Office Building is the location for the hearings. That’s on State Street in Concord, behind the State House. The hearing for HB 578 begins at 10 a.m., and the hearing for HB 589 begins at 11 a.m.

The sponsors of both bills would be grateful for your support at the hearings, whether or not you choose to speak publicly. If you want to testify on one or both bills, fill out a pink card for each bill you want to speak about. You’ll find those cards in the committee room. There will also be sign-in sheets for people who want to register their opinion (pro or con) without offering testimony.

If you email the committee in support of these bills (, copy your message to the chief sponsors: Rep. Keith Murphy ( leads the team on the post-viability abortion bill, and Rep. Kurt Wuelper ( is chief sponsor of buffer zone repeal.

I’ve been writing about the buffer zone law ever since the idea was floated in 2013. Peruse these posts for a review.

As for the post-viability ban, remember that in New Hampshire, abortion is currently legal throughout pregnancy. There is a parental notification law, but that’s about parental rights, and it cannot stop a minor from getting an abortion since there is a judicial bypass provision. We have a partial-birth abortion ban, which simply prohibits a particular abortion method (pulling the child partway out of the mother’s body before killing the child).

Rep. Murphy’s bill to prohibit post-viability abortions provides for the mother’s health, gives wide latitude to the abortion provider to confirm gestational age and viability, and provides that a born-alive child shall receive care. It’s hardly a challenge to Roe v. Wade. In this state, though, with the legislature’s strong pro-abortion bias (remember, the Republican House last year couldn’t even pass a bill to require care for children surviving attempted abortion), it’s pushing the envelope. Good. The envelope needs pushing.

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