Originally Published in the Union Leader on June 3, 2022
WITH ITS May 23 article on the Governor’s signing of HB 1673, a bill that further clarifies the already-narrow ultrasound requirement in the state’s recently enacted late-term Fetal Life Protection Act, the Union Leader has once again fallen in line with the persistent truth-twisting of the abortion lobby.
The Union Leader asserted that, before HB 1673, the act “required that all women seeking an abortion get an ultrasound regardless of the age of the fetus.” The act never mandated ultrasounds throughout pregnancy. Only when there is a “substantial risk” that the child is at least 24 weeks old would an ultrasound even come into question. HB 1673 simply reiterates, not changes, what is already in the law, leaving no room for doubt or exploitive misinterpretation.
Opponents of the law quoted frequently one paragraph — RSA 329:44, I — out of context to falsely claim that ultrasounds were required throughout pregnancy. But the language limiting the ultrasound requirement occurred later in the act, in RSA 329:46. I am sorry to have to cite specific statutory provisions in an op-ed, but that is what is necessary when journalists will not do their jobs.
Courts do not read laws by considering only one paragraph in isolation. For example, New Hampshire’s parental notification law — RSA 132:33 — begins simply: “No abortion shall be performed upon an unemancipated minor” unless parental notification has been given. But nobody thinks, and the Union Leader has never claimed, that our notification law requires notification before all abortions. It is only by reading the entire parental notification law that we can see it is limited in scope. It’s not for nothing that the false claim that the act required an “ultrasound regardless of the age of the fetus” is made by journalists and activists, not lawyers.
The Union Leader also makes this claim: “Sununu got behind legislation to exempt all cases of rape, incest and fetal abnormality from the late term ban on abortions. For months the GOP-led House rejected all those changes.”
The House was never presented with any such bill. HB 1609 was introduced as a total nullification of the six-month abortion ban. In its original form, the bill added an undefined new “health” exception, which — under Supreme Court case law — would have made abortionists the final word on when abortions can occur. The bill also entirely removed the law’s enforcement mechanism: its narrow ultrasound requirement. The rape exception in the bill was completley superfluos and incidental to the bill’s purpose.
I applaud and support the Governor’s signing of HB 1673, a bill initially deployed to destroy the Fetal Life Protection Act that ultimately served to refine and clarify a key provision. What I don’t applaud is the Union Leader once again uncritically repeating as truth the false claims of abortion advocacy groups.