Attempt to override buffer zone veto coming on September 15

Don’t let this get lost in the pile of messages you’re receiving about the primary election: The New Hampshire House will meet on September 15 for “Veto Day,” taking up the eight bills vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu this year. Among them is HB 1625, repeal of the unenforced “buffer zone” law designed to restrict the First Amendment rights of peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities.

A two-thirds majority is required to overturn a veto. If the House overturns the veto, the Senate will then attempt an override. Both chambers are meeting at 1 p.m. on September 15.

Note that Veto Day comes two days after the state’s primary election. If your representative happens to be defeated that day, he or she will still be in office until next December and will therefore be able to vote on Veto Day.

Look up your representatives’ names and contact information: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/

When you send your message to OVERTURN the veto of HB 1625, remember that your reps will be hearing from many people. Keep it short and to the point. If you email your rep, make sure your subject line has the relevant information, since that might be all that gets read. For example: “From a constituent: overturn HB 1625 veto.”

HB 1625 passed the House narrowly last March, 168-162, with every Democrat present voting against the bill and all but ten Republicans voting for it.

Governor Sununu in his veto message said, “In the eight years since this law was originally enacted, we know of no instance where an individual or group has been harmed by it. As a result, I am not looking to make any changes at
this time.” He has no problem with keeping on the books a law that’s based on one overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Update: The House sustained the Governor’s veto. The vote to override the veto failed, 145-175. The 152 Democrats who cast a vote all voted to sustain the veto; they were joined by 23 Republicans.

An earlier post about HB 1625: Three reasons for Governor Sununu to sign buffer zone repeal (still relevant as reasons to override his veto). I had a few things to say after the veto, too.

Fetal Life Protection Act now has an exception

In the Governor’s Friday afternoon news dump just before Memorial Day weekend, we learned that he has quietly signed HB 1609, which adds an exception for “fetal anomalies incompatible with life” – i.e. a eugenic exception – to New Hampshire’s 24-week abortion limitation, the Fetal Life Protection Act (FLPA).

The bill also includes clarification of FLPA’s ultrasound language. That particular provision was already passed via Governor Sununu’s recent signing of HB 1673, however, making that part of HB 1609 superfluous.

Take a moment to revisit this blog’s post “A door that shouldn’t be opened” in which I quoted the public policy director for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester: “This would be the first time New Hampshire would designate a particular category of children to be liable for abortion, and that’s a door we don’t think the state should open.”

He was right, even if his words fell on deaf ears.

Pro-life policies in state budget: victory with an expiration date (UPDATED)

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)”

Life-issue bills: NH Senate to vote on committee recommendations this week

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.

Time to kill the “buffer zone” law

“Safety and balance.” That has been the cry parroted by supporters of New Hampshire’s unenforced and unenforceable buffer zone law ever since its introduction and passage in 2014. Keeping people safe means keeping people silent: that’s some screwy balance. No wonder the law has never been used.

It’s time for the Sidewalk Free Speech Act, HB 430, which will have its hearing tomorrow, February 9, at 2 p.m. It will repeal the buffer zone law, if passed.

Four times, efforts to repeal that law have failed. It’s imperative to keep trying. It’s time to erase a blot on New Hampshire’s statutes by getting rid of the buffer zone law. See the end of this post for details on how you can let legislators know that.

HB 430 ought to pass with an overwhelming majority. Anyone who values the First Amendment will support it. Abortion will be unaffected when HB 430 passes, but First Amendment rights will be reaffirmed.

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