Protecting Viable Children from Abortion (HB 578, 2017)

Cornerstone supports House Bill 578 to prevent induced abortions of viable preborn children. To tolerate the killing of such human beings, not as the unintended outcome of efforts to protect a woman but as a direct intentional action in itself, is simply uncivilized.

The last time the House considered similar legislation, the minority report on the bill from the Judiciary Committee included a claim that post-viability abortions were not being done in New Hampshire. We respectfully remind the committee that New Hampshire public health authorities do not require abortion providers to report anything about their procedures, including the gestational age at the time of termination. Any assumption that abortions of viable preborn children do not occur here is unsupported by valid statistical information.

Sponsors of HB 578 have made a good-faith effort to respect women’s safety, the judgment of abortion providers, and the dignity of children who survive attempted abortion. We understand that viability is a shifting standard, tied to the technology and skill available to health care providers as well as to the stamina of the individual human being in question. HB 578 leaves the determination of viability in the hands of the abortion provider, which should allay the concerns of legislators afraid that HB 578 would tie the hands of providers. The bill provides that if a child is born alive after attempted abortion, reasonable care measures shall be taken with respect to the child. The bill makes no attempt to outline those measures, leaving them in the hands of the physician.

We acknowledge that disagreements exist between those who respect the right to life from conception to natural death and those who consider that right subordinate to a right to choose. (We consider the latter term incomplete, since it leaves hanging an important question: “choose what?”) HB 578 may provide common ground for people with otherwise conflicting viewpoints. The bill as introduced respects women’s safety; it respects the autonomy and judgment of abortion providers; it calls for care for any child born alive. In fact, it hews closely to Roe v. Wade. That fact might seemto make HB 578 an odd fit for Cornerstone. Indeed, we see the millions of abortions triggered by Roe as tragedies, and not just for the children lost to termination. You are not being asked today to step away from Roe, howevernot with this bill.

What we have before us is legislation to move New Hampshire away from the position it now holds, where abortion is available throughout pregnancy. That is frankly a barbaric position to defend, treating viable human beings as disposable. We urge you to consider those viable preborn children as human beings worthy of protection. We urge you to vote Ought to Pass on HB 578.