Summary: State senators need messages from their constituents immediately, urging them to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 224 and HB 88.
The New Hampshire Senate is expected to vote Thursday, April 13 on the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation of “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) on HB 224 and HB 88. The votes will come only two days after the committee’s 3-2 ITL votes along party lines, with Republicans in the majority.
HB 224 would strip penalties from the Fetal Life Protection Act, preventing late-term-abortion providers from facing any civil or criminal penalties for illegally aborting preborn children after 24 weeks’ gestation. If HB 224 passes, FLPA will be effectively nullified.
HB 88 declares abortion to be “vital” to liberty and equality, and would prevent enactment of any future legislation that would “restrict or interfere with” abortion.
Senators need to get the message before Thursday 4/13: vote ITL on HB 224 and HB 88. The “Who’s My Senator?” link on the General Court website will let you determine your senator’s name and contact information. Let your message be brief, clear, courteous, and immediate. Send a message even if you attended the hearings or used the online testimony system.
HB 224-FN would expand abortion in New Hampshire, returning us to the days of legal unregulated abortion throughout pregnancy. Instead, voting ITL – inexpedient to legislate – will kill the bill. That’s the way to go.
If HB 88 passes, it would block any future legislation deemed to “restrict or interfere with” abortion. The sponsor calls it the Access to Abortion Care Act. Again, ITL is the right vote.
Do not assume that party lines will hold. Every senator needs to hear from pro-life constituents.
No bargaining: pro-life, period
HB 224 needs to be ITL’d. So does HB 88. Killing one and passing the other and calling that a “compromise” would be an unacceptable outcome. This is no time for horse-trading. Save that for the state budget.
Unlimited abortion as a recruiting tool?
The April 6 committee hearing on HB 224 was packed. The hearing lasted four hours. I stayed for one hour, which was more than enough to get the gist of the pro-HB 224 argument.
Chief sponsor Rep. Dan Wolf (R-Newbury) claimed that his “straightforward” bill was “about attracting [medical] providers” to New Hampshire. “We should not have draconian threats hanging over our doctors,” he said. Dr. Ilana Cass, Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, testified that FLPA makes it harder for her to recruit physicians. Other health care professionals expressed concern over the possibility of being considered criminals. Lobbyists from ACLU and New Futures sang different verses of the same tune.
The essence of the message conveyed by HB 224’s supporters was this: we need to recruit doctors who can abort viable healthy preborn children of healthy mothers, and who will do it with literal impunity – or who will stand by silently while their colleagues do so.
Pro-abortion demonstrators pose in front of the State House in Concord, 4/6/23. Ellen Kolb photo.
Pro-lifers came out in force
Fortunately, the abortion advocates didn’t have the April 6 committee hearing to themselves. A half-hour before the hearing began, the room was already full, with dozens more people in the hallway outside. Once the hearing got underway, more than forty people testified against the bill, far outnumbering speakers in support. Pro-lifers did what they had to do: they turned out in force to defend FLPA and call for the defeat of HB 224.
Pro-lifers also managed to find their way to the online testimony system, with 1353 people signing in as “opposed” to the bill.
Even a self-identified pro-choice legislator couldn’t stomach the bill. Rep. Bob Lynn (R-Windham) is a former New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice. Although the House was in session upstairs as the Senate hearing unfolded, Rep. Lynn took time to testify against HB 224, saying “I’m a pro-choice person” but that he wasn’t in favor of making abortion legal until the moment of birth. He said the bill creates “special rules for doctors.” Rep. Lynn was accompanied by his Windham neighbor, Rep. Katelyn Kuttab, who stressed that HB 224 was about “aborting viable healthy babies.”
Standing room only outside hearings on HB 224 and HB 88. Ellen Kolb photo.
HB 88 hearing
The HB 88 hearing didn’t begin until the one for HB 224 had ended on April 6 – meaning it didn’t get started until a little before 6 p.m. Few of the grassroots pro-lifers who had taken time from work and family to come to the State House could stay that long. There’s a danger that senators will look at the relatively low attendance and assume that HB 88 is somehow less offensive than HB 224.
It’s not. Both bills deserve to be killed decisively.