Important correction to previous post: the hearing on CACR 14 will be at 1 p.m., not 10 a.m. as I originally posted. I’ve corrected the original post. Please share this wherever you’ve shared the original. Thanks, and I’m sorry for making the error.
Edited to correct hearing time: 1 p.m., January 22, 2020.
You’ll soon have a chance to register your opinion on a measure that would create a right to abortion protected under the New Hampshire Constitution. The House Judiciary Committee will have a hearing at 1 p.m. on January 22 in room 208 of the Legislative Office Building on CACR 14.
The hearing has been scheduled for a room that has enough public seating for 20 people. In a pinch, if the committee in the adjacent room is not meeting, dividers can be folded back to double the size of the Judiciary room. In a real pinch, if the crowd size justifies it, the hearing can be moved to Representatives Hall.
I think a real pinch is in order.
What CACR 14 says
The text of the proposed constitutional amendment: “The right to make personal reproductive medical decisions is inviolate and fundamental to the human condition. Neither the State nor any political subdivision shall infringe upon or unduly inconvenience this right.”
If passed, this amendment would survive an overturned Roe decision. It would mean public funding of direct abortion under Medicaid and other tax-funded programs. It would mean an end to New Hampshire’s two hard-won regulations on abortion: parental notification and a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Don’t look to Governor Sununu – who identifies himself as pro-choice – to stop the measure. Constitutional amendments don’t go through the Governor’s office. If three-fifths of New Hampshire House members and three-fifths of the State Senators OK the measure, it will go on the general election ballot in November 2020. If two-thirds of the voters say yes, CACR 14 will be baked into the New Hampshire constitution.
What you can do
Show up. Get a carpool going. Announce the hearing to your life-affirming neighbors and the people at your church. Babysit for a parent who’d like to attend. Take your kids out of school for the day, and let me know if they get marked “unexcused.”
Testimony is optional. Be present. If you absolutely positively can’t make it, send your opinion of CACR 14 directly to the Judiciary Committee (email: HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us). Be brief, clear, and courteous – but don’t be silent.
The hearing will take place on the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. That is not coincidental. Fortunately, the national March for Life is on the 24th this year. No one will have to choose between CACR 14 and a bus trip to Washington, DC.
Take a trip to Concord instead.
More than a thousand bills have piled up, awaiting hearings in the 2020 session of the New Hampshire General Court – or legislature, to use a less exalted term. Another bill to be voted on is a holdover from this year, which deserves your notice.
Anti-Trafficking Bill To Be Voted On In January
The retained bill is HB 201, which will get a House vote in early January. It seeks to increase the allowable penalty for adults buying sex from minors. It should not have been held over – “retained” is the technical term. Passage last spring would have been the right outcome. Survivors of juvenile sex trafficking supported the bill with compelling testimony. One of them will be a familiar name to longtime readers: Darlene Pawlik, who was an absolute showstopper who called out nonsense when she heard it.
I’ll make a long, infuriating story short, with a note that an organization called Decriminalize Sex Work has hired New Hampshire lobbyists to advance its agenda: HB 201 was retained by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. After consideration this past fall, the committee voted to recommend Ought to Pass on the bill. The full House is likely to vote on that recommendation on January 8 or 9. Good excuse for contacting your state reps, in my humble opinion: YES on the OTP motion for retained bill HB 201.
Thumbs up to chief sponsor Rep. Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton) and her co-sponsors, and to Rep. Nancy Murphy (D-Merrimack) who wrote the committee OTP recommendation for her colleagues.
No Hearings Yet
For all the bills described below, there are no hearings scheduled yet. Watch this blog and its related Facebook page for updates as the House and Senate calendars are published. As it happens, all these bills will start in the House Judiciary Committee, even if their subject matter might seem to fit better elsewhere. Such decisions are made by finer minds than mine.
Enshrining Abortion Into N.H. Constitution
Watch out for CACR 14. This is a proposed constitutional amendment, which in order to pass will have to get a three-fifths vote in the House, three-fifths in the Senate, and then two-thirds from voters in next November’s general election. The governor has no substantive say in the process. Here we go:
“The right to make personal reproductive medical decisions is inviolate and fundamental to the human condition. Neither the State nor any political subdivision shall infringe upon or unduly inconvenience this right.”
It doesn’t say “abortion.” It doesn’t have to, in order to place abortion squarely into the New Hampshire constitution as a protected right – a right “inviolate and fundamental.”
You’ll forgive me if I shout at you about this one. Silence implies consent to the amendment’s corollary: that there is no inherent “right” to life, only a privilege to be conferred by others. Now that’s discrimination.
Sponsors: Reps. Timothy Smith (D-Manchester), Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham), Catherine Sofikitis (D-Nashua), Sherry Frost (D-Dover), Heidi Hamer (D-Manchester), Chuck Grassie (D-Rochester), Arthur Ellison (D-Concord).
Born-Alive Infants Protection
HB 1675 (chief sponsor Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, R-Derry) seeks to assure medically appropriate care and treatment for any infant born alive following an attempted abortion.
The bill would be a step toward making New Hampshire a bit less Gosnell-friendly. I look forward to reporting on who supports it and who opposes it at the hearing.
After two years of trying to “study” assisted suicide via end-of-life related bills, advocates of assisted suicide have come out with a straightforward bill. HB 1659-FN has nine co-sponsors, led by Rep. Catt Sandler (D-Somersworth). The analysis in the heading of the bill says it “allows a mentally competent person who is 18 years of age or older and who has been diagnosed as having a terminal disease by the patient’s attending physician and a consulting physician to request a prescription for medication which will enable the patient to control the time, place, and manner of such patient’s death.”
You might wonder “what’s with the FN in the bill number?” FN means “fiscal note,” and it’s attached to any bill that is expected to cost money. Such bills go to the Finance Committee for a closer look (and a second full-chamber vote) if they pass the full House or Senate after the first committee is done with it.
While we’re on the subject: the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, whose USA affiliate is headed by former New Hampshire legislator Nancy Elliott, is a good source of information. I’ll cite others as HB 1659 makes its way through the legislative process.
The co-sponsors of HB 1678-FN think that Down syndrome, genetic abnormalities, and being an undesired sex shouldn’t call for a death sentence. The bill would prohibit abortions performed solely for one or more of those reasons. Chief sponsor is Rep. Abigail Rooney (R-Milton).
The bill calls for a limited penalty for violations by the abortion provider: liability for damages, and revocation or suspension of medical license if the provider has one. This is not a let’s-jail-abortionists bill. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone tries to say otherwise. Further, no penalty would attach to the mother of the child, and her anonymity in any ensuing civil action would be protected.
Into this Gosnell-friendly state comes HB 1475-FN, sponsored by Rep. Dave Testerman (R-Franklin) and Rep. Walt Stapleton (R-Claremont). It would prohibit abortions after detection of a fetal heartbeat.
HB 1640-FN (chief sponsor Rep. Werner Horn, R-Franklin) would repeal the judicial-bypass provision of the New Hampshire law requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion.
If this bill should pass and be signed by Governor Sununu, it would pose a challenge to U.S. Supreme Court rulings on parental-involvement-in-abortion laws dating back to 1976. See the testimony of Americans United for Life on a Florida parental involvement law from March 2019.
So – ready to roll? I’ve already picked out my favorite parking space near the Legislative Office Building. It’s going to get a workout in 2020.