New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu has vetoed HB 1625, which would repeal the state’s unenforced buffer zone law. In doing so, he keeps his word from three weeks ago, and violates his word from 2016.
In his 2016 pitch to pro-life Republican voters on the eve of the gubernatorial election, he called buffer zone repeal a “common sense platform initiative” that he supported. In the same statement, he wrote “I know that my winning the race for Governor will be our best chance to get this important work done.”
His position hasn’t evolved. It has mutated. That doesn’t say much for the environment in which he chooses to immerse himself. Even the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who like Governor Sununu was “pro-choice,” recognized a violation of pro-lifers’ First Amendment rights when she saw one. Not so for Mr. Sununu.
Why were pro-life, pro-First-Amendment voters important enough to reach out to six years ago? Because then-Councilor Sununu had just survived a shockingly close GOP gubernatorial primary, and he wanted to mend every fence in sight.
Today, secure in his third term and aiming for a fourth, he can write off those pro-life, pro-First-Amendment voters. Maybe he thinks he has their votes locked up in any case, given the likely Democratic alternative in November. Maybe he thinks that by signing into law two of the five policies he backed in his 2016 statement – fetal homicide legislation and a late-term abortion ban – his work is done and his treasured “moderate” label is intact right alongside his “pro-choice” badge.
(I wonder if he’s gotten the memo about Planned Parenthood urging that the term “pro-choice” be abandoned in favor of “pro-abortion.”)
No need for nasty messages to the Governor. They’re rude, and in any case they’re counterproductive. But readers who treasure the First Amendment rights of peaceful prolife witnesses might want to keep this veto in mind.
The legislature will attempt to override the veto at a future date, but given the roll call numbers on HB 1625 so far, the necessary supermajority is lacking.
I’ll edit this post to include Governor Sununu’s formal veto statement when it becomes available.
A couple of earlier posts on HB 1625: Three reasons for Governor Sununu to sign buffer zone repeal; House to vote week of March 15