One Step Closer To a NH Fetal Homicide Law

May 17, 2012

contact: Ellen Kolb, Cornerstone Vice-President for Government Affairs, 603-321-2703, ekolb@nhcornerstone.org

Cornerstone commends the New Hampshire Senate for its passage this morning of HB 217, regarding fetal homicide. We recognize that the House and Senate versions differ and will need to be reconciled. We are confident that this can be done so that this long-awaited law can go into effect. The New Hampshire Supreme Court noted in 2009 that New Hampshire law has a gap where the death of a preborn child is concerned. Every New Hampshire woman who chooses to carry her pregnancy should have that choice fully respected under law. Any drunk driver or abusive partner who causes a woman to lose a wanted pregnancy needs to answer to the community for that loss of life.

In 2009, Justice Duggan, writing for a unanimous New Hampshire Supreme Court in the Lamy case, overturned the conviction of a drunk driver for causing the death of a child – a child who was in utero when the intoxicated driver struck the mother. The child had to be delivered two months prematurely, and the child died two weeks later as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. Justice Duggan pointed out that New Hampshire criminal law did not support a conviction for the child’s death. Duggan wrote, “Should the legislature find the result in this case as unfortunate as we do, it should follow the lead of many other states and revisit the homicide statutes as they pertain to the fetus.”

Today, the Senate has agreed with the House that the Court’s suggestion is well worth following. Cornerstone’s supporters are grateful to the many representatives and senators who are promoting this important bill.

###