As abortion supporters carried signs outside the hearing room, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee took two hours of testimony today on SB 181, a bill to declare abortion “vital to the liberty and equality of all individuals” and to put it beyond the reach of state regulation. Chief sponsor Sen. Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka (D-Portsmouth) said that with the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Dobbs decision, “millions [of women] across the country…lose their rights.”
Kwoka assured her fellow senators that her bill would not change any law, leaving the Fetal Life Protection Act and its 24-week abortion limit in place. What she didn’t tell her fellow senators is that a separate bill is pending to repeal FLPA.
The full hearing may be viewed on YouTube, at the New Hampshire Senate Livestream. Look for Senate Judiciary’s hearing for 1/31/23, beginning near timestamp 1:47:00.
Robert Dunn testified late in the hearing (at timestamp 3:18:00 of the YouTube video). He’s Director of Public Policy for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. “This is a Senate bill that wants to be a CACR [constitutional amendment],” he said, and he’s absolutely right. The sponsors of SB 181 are using the bill as a backstop in case they can’t get an amendment in place to enshrine abortion in the New Hampshire constitution. A statute is much easier to amend or repeal than a constitutional provision – but one way or another, abortion advocates are determined to turn back the clock to before Dobbs and FLPA.
Recognizing the humanity of both mother and child, Dunn continued with a warning that SB 181 could “resonate in other circumstances….Human dignity and solidarity are beset with challenges. To say that certain human beings are beyond the pale…is not something that in my view is going to help advance the cause of human dignity and human rights in other contexts.”
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