UPDATED: Senate vote on abortion bill rescheduled to Feb. 22

Edited to reflect change in Senate schedule!

The New Hampshire Senate will vote Wednesday, February 22 on SB 181, a bill to declare abortion “vital to the liberty and equality of all individuals” and to put it beyond the reach of state regulation.

This is a rescheduled vote due to a forecast winter storm. The vote had originally been scheduled for February 23.

The Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 along party lines (Republicans in the majority) to recommend an “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) vote on the bill. If the ITL recommendation is accepted by the Senate, the bill will die.

Action item: contact your state senator (see “Who’s My Senator?” from the General Court website) and request SUPPORT for the committee recommendation of “inexpedient to legislate” on SB 181.

While the sponsor of SB 181 has assured her colleagues that SB 181 would leave the Fetal Life Protection Act untouched, she failed to note that a separate bill is in the works to repeal FLPA. If SB 181 is passed and FLPA is repealed, New Hampshire will return to being a state where the elective direct intentional termination of human life is available on demand throughout pregnancy.

For coverage of the committee hearing on SB 181, see this blog’s January 31 post.

Seven other life-issue bills are pending in the House Judiciary Committee, which held hearings last week. A committee vote has not yet been scheduled.

SB 181: two hours of testimony; vote not yet scheduled

As abortion supporters carried signs outside the hearing room, the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee took two hours of testimony today on SB 181, a bill to declare abortion “vital to the liberty and equality of all individuals” and to put it beyond the reach of state regulation. Chief sponsor Sen. Rebecca Perkins-Kwoka (D-Portsmouth) said that with the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Dobbs decision, “millions [of women] across the country…lose their rights.”

SB 181 supporters outside Senate hearing

Kwoka assured her fellow senators that her bill would not change any law, leaving the Fetal Life Protection Act and its 24-week abortion limit in place. What she didn’t tell her fellow senators is that a separate bill is pending to repeal FLPA.

The full hearing may be viewed on YouTube, at the New Hampshire Senate Livestream. Look for Senate Judiciary’s hearing for 1/31/23, beginning near timestamp 1:47:00.

Robert Dunn testified late in the hearing (at timestamp 3:18:00 of the YouTube video). He’s Director of Public Policy for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester. “This is a Senate bill that wants to be a CACR [constitutional amendment],” he said, and he’s absolutely right. The sponsors of SB 181 are using the bill as a backstop in case they can’t get an amendment in place to enshrine abortion in the New Hampshire constitution. A statute is much easier to amend or repeal than a constitutional provision – but one way or another, abortion advocates are determined to turn back the clock to before Dobbs and FLPA.

Recognizing the humanity of both mother and child, Dunn continued with a warning that SB 181 could “resonate in other circumstances….Human dignity and solidarity are beset with challenges. To say that certain human beings are beyond the pale…is not something that in my view is going to help advance the cause of human dignity and human rights in other contexts.”

Bravo, sir.