Remarks on Tabling HB 1511, Proposed Amendment to Fetal Homicide Law (2018)

Cornerstone Action’s executive director Shannon McGinley released this statement following the vote by the New Hampshire House to table HB 1511, a proposed change to the fetal homicide law.
Cornerstone was proud to stand by the families whose hard work resulted in the passage of a fetal homicide law last year. The law currently allows (but does not require) prosecutors to bring a homicide charge against anyone whose bad actions cause the death of a fetus against the mother’s will, beginning at the 20th week of pregnancy. HB 1511 was an attempt to amend that law by changing the 20-week limit to eight weeks. That would have been a logical extension of the law. Among the nearly forty other states with fetal homicide legislation, some even make it effective throughout pregnancy, with no time limit.
As introduced, HB 1511 had another provision to which Cornerstone strongly objected: it would have removed the fetal homicide law’s exemption for actions performed by, or at the direction of, the pregnant woman whose preborn child dies as a result. That provision of HB 1511 attempted to turn a fetal homicide law into an abortion law. The maternal exemption is an integral part of fetal homicide legislation in the many other jurisdictions where it’s on the books.
A minority report from the committee that looked at HB 1511 produced an amendment to the bill removing the objectionable provision. Such an amendment would have addressed our concerns with the bill. Should the House vote to remove HB 1511 from the table, accepting that amendment should be the next order of business.