House tables Bathroom Bill and Post-Viability Abortion Bill; Buffer Zone Repeal Falls Short

The New Hampshire House voted 187-179 on March 9 to table HB 478, preventing the “gender identity” or Bathroom Bill from advancing for now. The vote came after intensive phone and email campaigns on both sides of the measure. Even after the tabling vote, supporters of the bill mounted an immediate email campaign to urge representatives to take up the bill later in the day – an effort that failed.

New Hampshire remains a state where abortion is legal throughout pregnancy, as the House tabled HB 578, a bill to limit post-viability abortions. The underlying bill actually never made it to the House floor, with the House instead debating and then killing a committee amendment. Following the 170-189 vote against the amendment, the bill was tabled.

Repeal of New Hampshire’s buffer zone law fell short for the third year in a row. The House voted “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 589, 191-165. The buffer zone law was passed in 2014, giving abortion facility managers the right to ban First Amendment activity outside their facilities. A similar law in Massachusetts was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014. In related news, a federal court earlier this year turned away a challenge to the New Hampshire law, saying that since no facility had yet posted a zone, no one had standing to take the law to court. At this date, the buffer zone law still lies on the books unused.