A New Hampshire House committee has voted 12-1 to send an abortion statistics bill to the full House with an “ought to pass” recommendation. A subcommittee of the Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee has worked on the bill at several public hearings since June. On a 4-0 vote, the subcommittee led by Rep. Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield) recommended the amended version of the bill that was adopted by the full HHSEA committee today. I expect that the full House will take up the bill next January.
As I’ve noted since HB 629 was introduced earlier this year, New Hampshire is one of the very few states that do not report any abortion statistics to the federal Centers for Disease Control. (See also an analysis of abortion-stat reporting, from the Charlotte Lozier Institute.)
I’ve watched this bill and attended nearly every hearing and work session, and it was good to hear the roll call this afternoon. Chief sponsor Rep. Kathy Souza (R-Manchester) and co-sponsor Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) were present for the vote as well.
Rep. Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth) gently dissented from the ought-to-pass motion.Ticehurst commended the subcommittee for its work on what she called a “difficult topic,” but said she could not see a public health concern that was addressed by the bill. “We know an induced termination of pregnancy is less risky than carrying a pregnancy to term,” she claimed, without supporting the assertion. She acknowledged that HB 629 was an improvement on earlier efforts to pass a stats law, but she expressed concern that any stats bill would help “insert” other people into a woman’s pregnancy decision. Rep. Helen Deloge (D-Concord) attempted to allay Ticehurst’s concerns. “The purpose of the bill is to gather information. It is a nonjudgmental piece of paper.”
Rep. Ticehurst declined the opportunity to write a minority report on the bill, and she agreed with her fellow committee members to place the bill on the House’s consent calendar for noncontroversial bills. Floor action will probably come in January. Watch this blog and its Facebook page for updates.
(Voting Ought to Pass on HB 629 as amended: Republican Reps. Frank Kotowski, Don LeBrun, Bill Nelson, Joseph Guthrie, Joanne Ward; Democratic Reps. James MacKay, Barbara French, Helen Deloge, Thomas Sherman, Lucy Weber, Pamela Gordon, Kendall Snow.)