A reader sent me a message tonight asking where to find the text of New Hampshire’s Fetal Life Protection Act (FLPA), which does not restrict abortion before 24 weeks of pregnancy. That’s the abortion “ban” that abortion-friendly candidates and PACs keep talking about as the November 8 election approaches.
The reader wanted to show a skeptical neighbor that the current law really does have exceptions for “fetal abnormalities incompatible with life.” When she did an online search for the relevant law – RSA 329:44 – she found no such exception in the first search result she found. I looked at the page kicked up by her search. Then I saw the note at the bottom of the page: “eff[ective] Jan. 1, 2022.”
The search result she saw at first didn’t show the amended version of the law. The amendment went into effect in May of 2022.
To find the updated language, I went to the General Court website and looked for the chaptered final version of HB 1609, the bill that amended FLPA.
Here’s the situation: abortion is hardly banned in New Hampshire.
There is no limitation on abortion before 24 weeks of pregnancy, except for a parental notification provision for minors seeking abortion, which can be sidestepped if the minor opts for a judicial bypass.
FLPA (RSA 329:44 as amended) limits abortions after the fetus reaches a gestational age of 24 weeks, with the following exceptions: “fetal abnormalities incompatible with life,” or a medical emergency, defined in the law as “a condition in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, as defined in RSA 329:43, V, of the pregnant woman.”
Whether or not you think exceptions are a good idea, they’re in there. This is all a matter of public record. Anyone attempting to obscure or deny the language of the law is not dealing in truth.
The only other abortion statute we have makes partial-birth abortion illegal. That law was passed over Gov. Lynch’s veto in 2012. Partial-birth abortion is a procedure in which the preborn child is partially delivered before being killed. The partial-birth-abortion law restricts one abortion method, not abortion in general.
I salute the reader who contacted me about this. She’s working to bring good sense and accurate information into a conversation with a neighbor. May her effort bear good fruit.