There’s one thing every pro-life Granite Stater can do today on the public policy side of pro-life work: contact your state representatives and urge them to stand by the 24-week abortion restriction that was included in the recently-passed state budget.
Never mind what Texas is doing, or what the Supreme Court is doing, or what kind of crazy social media posts you’re seeing about abortion policy anywhere in the United States. For the moment, seeing to our own state’s business is of paramount concern.
Hard-fought gains in jeopardy
You’ll recall that earlier in 2021, the House and Senate passed a budget that included the Fetal Life Protection Act. The Governor signed the budget. While the budget itself went into effect July 1, the Fetal Life Protection Act (which I’ll refer to as the 24-week law) is scheduled to take effect next January 1.
Look at HB 2, page 14 line 14 to page 19 line 1. There’s the 24-week abortion limit.
While happy to see New Hampshire’s Wild-West abortion policy finally come to an end (or at least a scheduled end), I was unhappy that it came via a budget provision rather than as a freestanding bill. I feared that the next budget go-round two years hence would find the Fetal Life Protection Act repealed. An attorney far better versed than I in such matters assured me my fears were misplaced.
Thanks to a handful of legislators, my fears are back: the risk is not repeal in two years, but weakening or gutting of the law as early as 2022.
Beginning next Monday, September 14, New Hampshire House members will have five days to file their intent to introduce 2022 legislation. Senators will follow suit in October. These are the LSRs, or legislative service requests. Anyone who wants to revise or repeal a law can file an LSR to do so. The 24-week law is vulnerable to attack.
Where your support is most needed
Every one of your elected officials needs to know that you expect pro-life policy to be a priority. Even Democratic officeholders who are staunchly united behind unrestricted abortion ought to hear from you; don’t ever let them say they don’t know where you stand.
Conversations I’m having, though, point to Republicans as the officeholders most in need of your messages. Specifically, New Hampshire House Republicans need to know their constituents are watching the 24-week law carefully.
Yes, Republicans have the current legislative majority in Concord. However, despite state and national GOP platform planks, there are GOP reps who consider the right to life to be negotiable or secondary or irrelevant. With a narrow majority, it would only take a few GOP reps joining with Dems to undermine the 24-week law.
There are Republican reps who can be counted on to fight like tigers over the Second Amendment or taxation or the governor’s emergency powers, but who wish all this abortion business would just go away.
It won’t go away. Not a chance. Human rights – even achingly small steps towards those rights – are like that.
You don’t need to ask your GOP reps whether or not they like the 24-week law, although there could be some constructive conversations if you choose to start one. All you need to tell them is that you want them to stand by the 24-week law and refuse to water it down.
A Republican rep who is weak or uncommitted on the life issues will be vulnerable to scare tactics and misinformation by abortion advocates in both parties. You can counter that by encouraging your reps to stand by the 24-week law if an attempt is made to weaken it.
Do not look to Republican leadership or Governor Sununu to do your work for you. Print out those words and hang them on your wall for inspiration if necessary.
Contacting your House reps
Need to bookmark the House roster so you can look up your representatives? Here’s the link: who’s my legislator? You can always go to the General Court website (gencourt.state.nh.us) for information on a representative, senator, or bill. Brief phone calls are best, keeping in mind that New Hampshire reps don’t have offices and that your call will go to their cell phones or house landlines. Emails are better than nothing.
With courtesy and conviction and brevity, urge your reps to stand by the Fetal Life Protection Act as passed in HB 2. Concentrate on GOP reps, if you’re pressed for time. There’s no need to weaken the law before it goes into effect.
Why contact House members now? Because they’re going to file LSRs next week. Why House members instead of senators? Because the Senate won’t be filing LSRs until later.
New Hampshire has been a home to abortion extremism long enough. Help your reps develop the courage and confidence to move in a healthier direction.
There are plenty of headlines and noise elsewhere about what’s going on in other states. Forget all that for now. There’s work to be done here at home.
From NH Journal, an op-ed by Rep. Beth Folsom (R-Wentworth): I Sponsored the Fetal Life Protection Act; Stop Lying About What’s In It