At yesterday’s executive session of the NH House Judiciary Committee, the Republican-majority committee voted to completely reject a slate of moderate pro-life legislation. These setbacks come despite New Hampshire voters having elected Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.
The Committee voted 11-10 against HB 625, which would prohibit abortion at or after 24 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for the life and health of the mother. If successful, HB 625 would be the only law prohibiting an infant in New Hampshire from being aborted prior to birth.
The bill would make New Hampshire’s laws on abortion comparable to laws that were in place in Massachusetts only three months ago.
The Judiciary Committee also voted 11-10 against HB 434, a bill to prohibit New Hampshire state funds from directly paying for abortions. Additionally, the Committee voted 11-10 against HB 430, which repeals a law allowing abortion clinics to bar protestors and counselors from public sidewalks near their facilities. The Judiciary Committee even voted 11-10 against HB 233, requiring health care providers to preserve the life of infants who are born alive. Republican Chairman Ned Gordon cast the deciding vote against each pro-life bill. If he had voted in support, we would be celebrating some long-overdue common sense.
It was not long ago that even the most moderate and left-leaning Republicans tended to support certain minimal restrictions on abortion. Governor Sununu—although a moderate Republican and generally supportive of legalized abortion—has stated that he would support a late-term abortion ban.
In New Hampshire’s legislature, however, it is clear that key elements of Republican Party leadership have embraced the hardline progressive position that a woman is always “entitled to terminate her pregnancy at whatever time, in whatever way, and for whatever reason she alone chooses”—a position the Supreme Court specifically rejected in Roe v. Wade.
According to the progressive American Values Atlas, 65% of Granite Staters do not agree that abortion should be “legal in all cases.” Most people in New Hampshire believe that there should be at least some minimal protections given to the unborn. This presumably includes a majority of Republicans in the state.
Despite this fact, New Hampshire Republicans have elevated important party leaders who are as absolutist and extreme in their advocacy of abortion as the most pro-abortion Democrat.
Cornerstone is grateful that 10 of the Republicans on the committee voted in a way that represents the majority of Granite Staters. But if New Hampshire Republicans do not demand a change of direction from their representatives and party leaders, abortion will continue to be legal in New Hampshire throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy, leaving even viable pre-born children without any protections.
All state representatives, including yours, need to hear from you before they vote on these bills next Wednesday or Thursday!