HB 625, Relative to the protection of fetal life, would prohibit a healthcare provider in NH from aborting a preborn child with a gestational age of at least 24 weeks. The bill will have its crucial first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, February 9, at 9 am. After many years of similar failed legislation, it needs strong citizen support if it is to fulfill its mission of protecting viable life. To act now, go to our Take Action 2021 page and find specific action information for HB 625 under “LIFE.”
HB 625 is the most critical life bill introduced this session intended to add some accountability and framework into the wide-open abortion industry in the state.
For far too long, New Hampshire has been one of only a few U.S. states that provides virtually no protection for unborn children. We are even barred from knowing how many abortions occur in the state. Currently, abortions are legal, unrestricted, and unregulated throughout 40 weeks of pregnancy.
New Hampshire does not regulate or inspect abortion facilities, nor does it collect any statistics on abortions as 47 other states do. In fact abortion facilities are not considered medical clinics but “offices” exempt from licensure or regulation. Even conscience rights of health care personnel who may object to participating in abortion procedures are not protected in our state.
The only restriction New Hampshire places on abortions is prohibiting a single procedure where a living child is partially delivered before being killed. But this arbitrary law only bans one specific procedure. Viable infants may still be legally aborted at any time using other procedures, such as dismembering the infant in the womb and removing them piece by piece. To change that, we must act by passing HB 625.
HB 625 is well-argued in its text which clearly lays out the case that it is already supported by legal opinions at the state and federal levels. It seeks only to honor the distinctions already drawn by the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, which balanced the viability and inherent rights of the child against those of the mother. The Supreme Court also noted in another case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of pregnancy in protecting…the life of a fetus that may become a child.” New Hampshire itself has recognized the fetus as a separate entity from the mother with distinct legal interests.
By enacting HB 625, New Hampshire would join the majority of states, some heavily Democratic, in placing some restrictions on late-term abortions. HB 625 does not radically impose new criminal penalties on providers. It simply applies the same Class B penalty currently in place for one specified late-term abortion procedure to all late-term abortion methods. And the proposed law only applies to intentional or knowing violations.
No law is perfect. There will be discussion on whether 24-weeks is too specific when determining viability – preborn infants can be viable before that time – but we concur with the bill sponsors that a specified timeframe will be clear notice to providers and women of what the law is in the state. More importantly, we will finally have some long-needed protection for pre-born life in New Hampshire.
We also feel it’s important to note that Governor Sununu expressed his support for a late-term abortion ban before being elected in 2016. It’s time to follow through on that promise.
Will you help protect our unborn who can’t speak for themselves? For action information, including emailing the House Judiciary Committee and virtually signing in to the February 9th hearing – you can do that immediately – to register your support for the bill, go here now and find HB 625 under “LIFE.” You will also find additional life bills we’re prioritizing this legislative session that need your support.
Photo courtesy of 40 Days for Life