Update, 7/8/21: I am indebted to an attorney well-versed in pro-life policy who called me out on claiming that the language cited below would expire in two years. Instead, I’ll try for more clarity: it’s possible that it might not survive the next budget process. More about that below, in boldface.
For the first time since 1997, New Hampshire has a law limiting late-term abortion. Well, we’ll have one as of next January 1, and it may only be good – I said “may” – until the expiration of the budget on June 30, 2023. Still, after nearly a quarter-century, the Granite State will move ahead past the era of unregulated abortion.
I wondered if flipping the House and Senate would make a difference. Turns out it did.
It has taken me a couple of weeks to process this news. It’s stunning to me, as someone who was an activist even before 1997, to see this victory. Our pro-choice governor kept the word he gave in 2016. Pro-life reps worked to get pro-life language into the budget, after the Senate stalled a freestanding bill that would have done the job. Some pro-life budget conferees – who were Republicans, as it happens – wouldn’t let the provision be tossed out during budget negotiations.
We still don’t have abortion statistics, or a requirement that only medical personnel provide abortions (remember that the next time someone tells you abortion is a private “medical” decision), or conscience protection for health care workers who choose not to participate in the direct intentional termination of human life.
We can bet that the pro-life provisions in this budget will be up for debate and rejection in two years when the next budget is crafted. We can bet that the people promoting unregulated abortion will be fighting back, and in fact are doing so already.
So who wants it more? Do pro-life Granite Staters want to build on this victory?
Continue reading “Pro-life policies in state budget: victory with an expiration date (UPDATED)”
House and Senate conferees working on the New Hampshire state budget for 2022-23 have agreed to include a restriction on abortion funding, according to news reports. The compromise language adds a 24-week limit on abortions.
Continue reading “State budget conferees restore abortion funding restriction”
As reported by Adam Sexton of WMUR, the New Hampshire Senate Finance Committee has voted to remove proposed state budget language requiring family planning contractors to keep abortion work financially and physically separate from contractors’ other business.
The House language rejected by the Senate committee was reported in this blog last month. Its stated purpose was “[i]n order to ensure that public funds are not used to subsidize abortions directly or indirectly.”
The House language was included in HB 2, the so-called “trailer bill” that is a companion measure to HB 1. Together, the bills will form the state budget for the biennium beginning July 1.
The disputed language is different from provisions included in past state budgets to prevent state funds from being used directly for elective abortions. Such provisions are similar to the Hyde Amendment in the federal Health and Human Services budget.
The Senate Finance Committee will eventually make a recommendation to the full Senate on HB 2, which is likely to contain over a hundred provisions applying to various budget areas.
House and Senate will eventually have to settle their differences before submitting a budget to Governor Chris Sununu by the end of June.
The New Hampshire Senate will meet Thursday, May 27 at 10 a.m. to consider Judiciary Committee recommendations on two life-issue bills.
HB 625, Fetal Life Protection Act
The Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 along party lines (GOP majority) to recommend Ought to Pass with Amendment on HB 625, concerning late-term abortions.
The committee – including Sen. William Gannon – did not recommend adding an exception for eugenic abortion. (See this blog’s earlier report on the bill.) Cornerstone Action, which favors HB 625, posted a report worth reading in full, outlining the committee’s actions and giving a call to action.
From the Cornerstone message: “Contact your Senator now and ask him or her to support a floor amendment adopting—at minimum—the severability and ‘physician requirement’ sections of the Birdsell amendment. These changes are critical to protecting the bill [HB 625], both in court and against a possible veto.“
HB 233, Born-Alive Infant Protection
A born-alive infant protection bill will not pass the year, with the Senate Judiciary Committee voting to re-refer HB 233.
Re-referral is the Senate’s version of what the House calls “retaining” a bill. The procedure keeps a bill in committee for the remainder of the calendar year, preventing a full-Senate vote until 2022.
The Senate’s May 27 session will be streamed online at http://sg001-harmony.sliq.net/00286/Harmony/en/View/Calendar/20210527/-1. This link will not be live until the session begins.
Since committee hearings on March 30, the New Hampshire Senate has not yet scheduled votes on bills regarding born-alive protections (HB 233) and a 24-week limit to abortion (HB 625).
GOP Senator calls restriction on eugenic abortion “a bridge too far”
HB 625 met resistance at the March 30 Senate Judiciary hearing from a Republican senator. Sen. William Gannon (R-Sandown) noted that the bill contains no exception for preborn children diagnosed with “severely fatal abnormalities.”
Following testimony in favor of HB 625 by one of its co-sponsors, Sen. Gannon challenged him. “I have a problem – it’s a bridge too far without it for me, sir. You don’t have any exception for severely fatal abnormalities which I think would be cruel to a mother and father in the situation.”
Video of the hearing is on YouTube, with Sen. Gannon’s question at time stamp 2:40:00.
[Update: Please see Sen. Gannon’s response in the comment section at the end of this post.]
Continue reading “No Senate votes yet on 2021 life-issue bills”