NH House kills HB 483, rejects informed consent again

The New Hampshire House voted this morning to reject HB 483, Rep. Jane Cormier’s bill to establish informed consent requirements for abortion. The vote on the inexpedient-to-legislate motion was 229-121.

“Pro-choice means pro-information,” said Cormier to her colleagues before the vote. “Full information and disclosure are not ideological.”

In effect, a majority of House members just went on record saying they have no problem with a women not knowing in advance who will perform her abortion or prescribe her abortion-inducing drug. Rep. Sylvia Gale (D-Nashua) called this an “ideological obstacle” in her committee report and her floor speech. More obstacles, according to Gale and today’s House majority: information on childbirth risks, fetal development, and the type of abortion procedure recommended by the provider.

Rep. Peter Sullivan, a Democrat representing ward 3 in Manchester, had hoped this bill would somehow “bridge the divide” between people on different sides of the abortion debate, “but the more I read, the more uncomfortable I became.” He was particularly agitated by the bill’s definition of “unborn child” as “the offspring of human beings from conception until birth.” That was too much for him. “Defining life as beginning at the moment of conception could throw our entire state into disarray.”

No boat-rocker, he.

The representatives who defended the bill on the House floor included Cormier, and Reps. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack). John Cebrowski (R-Bedford), Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead), and co-sponsor Lenette Peterson (R-Merrimack). Opposing the bill in debate along with Gale and Sullivan was Rep. Constance Bouchard (D-Concord), leader of the House’s “Reproductive Rights Caucus.”

Today’s vote in the Democrat-majority House follows last year’s rejection of the Women’s Right to Know bill (HB 1659), another informed consent measure, in what was then a House with a strong Republican majority. Representatives informed me late last week that the Republican minority leadership team did not attempt to promote today’s bill within the Republican caucus.

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