Having passed the New Hampshire House, two pro-abortion bills will get a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, April 6. The hearing is scheduled for room 100 of the State House in Concord. HB 224-FN is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and HB 88 for 1:30.
As a practical matter, there’s no way all the testimony on HB 224 -FN will be over in half an hour. I expect the dual hearings to last all afternoon. Showing up for the first hour will be important; there will be sign-up sheets near the door of the hearing room allowing attendees to sign their names & indicate opposition (or support) for each bill.
HB 224-FN would remove penalties from the Fetal Life Protection Act, New Hampshire’s recently-enacted 24-week abortion limitation. FLPA would thus become unenforceable and useless. HB 88 would declare abortion to be “vital to the equality and liberty of all individuals.” While the text of HB 88 leaves FLPA in place, that won’t matter if FLPA has no enforcement mechanism. HB 224-FN is more dangerous, given Governor Sununu’s expressed willingness to sign it.
In short, HB 224-FN will expand abortion in New Hampshire, returning us to the days of legal unregulated abortion throughout pregnancy.
Both bills ought to be ITL’d: voted “inexpedient to legislate” in committee and on the Senate floor.
What you can do
You can attend the hearing. Allow plenty of time to find parking. Wear good shoes, since you’re likely to be standing in the hall for however long you’re there. The hearing room doesn’t have a large capacity, and no one is allowed inside once the seats are filled – so the hallway will be occupied by people listening to the hearing online.
Right now, register your opinion on the Senate’s online testimony system. You do not have to provide a full statement. Clicking “oppose” is enough. Your name and position on the bill will be visible to the public. The Senate has a handy guide to the online system as well as how to submit testimony in person. Brief, courteous, and clear are always good rules to follow.
Contact your own state senator to express strong opposition to both bills, particularly HB 224-FN. Do not assume Republicans will see things your way; HB 224-FN has Republican co-sponsors. Also, I’ve heard from a voter that her Republican senator told her HB 224 isn’t that big a deal, since late-term abortions don’t happen here anyway.
(She said that with a straight face, despite knowing there’s no requirement to collect and report abortion statistics in New Hampshire. I wasn’t born yesterday. I’ve been around for all the stats bills that have gone down to defeat over the last 20 years or so. But I digress.)
If you email or write to your senator, be sure to mention that you live in that senator’s district. Provide your address for confirmation.
Printable handout with information on HB224-FN and the Senate process
Click on this link for a printable PDF with information on HB 224-FN and with contact information for all 24 senators: https://mcusercontent.com/a2d953b9f956aaa8e14accaac/files/bede0f41-a03b-674d-e64d-8266b3f46731/oppose_HB_224.pdf
Subscribers to the Leaven for the Loaf email updates have this PDF link already. If you’re not receiving the emails, you can sign up here.