Senate committee OK’s amended fetal homicide bill

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee has recommended passage for HB 560, the fetal homicide bill introduced as “Griffin’s Law” last year by Rep. Leon Rideout (R-Lancaster) – but with an amendment that reportedly substitutes language similar to last year’s SB 40. (The amendment, 3011-S, is not yet on the docket for the bill available for viewing, as of the time this is being posted.)

Committee chair Sen. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) said that she had consulted Rideout about the amended language. Rideout confirmed that information to me after the hearing, saying that while he hasn’t yet seen the text of the amendment, he wants conversation about fetal homicide legislation to continue.

Referring to last session’s failure of a conference committee on SB 40, Carson said, “I know we’re divided on this issue. We can try again.”

The committee vote of Ought to Pass with Amendment was 3-2 along party lines, with Sens. Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry), Gary Daniels (R-Milford) and Sam Cataldo (R-Farmington) in favor. Senators David Pierce (D-Lebanon) and Bette Lasky (D-Nashua) voted no.

[Click on Topics on the blog’s header for coverage of last year’s fetal homicide bills.]



Abortion stats bill headed to NH Senate after House passage

The New Hampshire House today passed a bill to establish a state abortion-statistics collection program. The bill will be scheduled for Senate action at a later date.

The bill, HB 629, was introduced a year ago and was studied by a House subcommittee last summer and fall. The bill was amended by the subcommittee, adopted by the full Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee on a 12-1 bipartisan vote, and placed on the consent calendar for today’s 2016 opening session in the House. Passage came on a voice vote.

The original bill had bipartisan support from eleven co-sponsors, led by Rep. Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester). The amendment adopted today was presented by Reps. Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield) and Thomas Sherman (D-Rye). Nelson reported on behalf of the subcommittee, “As amended, this bill provides statistical information that brings New Hampshire in line with 48 other states. The committee took care to be sure the identity of the patient is confidential and follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols. All stakeholders agreed to the final version of the bill.”

Related post on an earlier stats bill, 2014: “Putting down a marker for women’s health.”


Legislators, you’re in more than just my thoughts

As I write, the New Hampshire House and Senate are 45 minutes away from convening for 2016. Four hundred twenty-four people are up there when there’s a full complement. I’m thinking of all of them this morning – and praying.

If you’re a person of faith in God, I trust you’ll join me. Include everyone up in the State House, including the Governor and Councilors. Uphold them in prayer in good times and bad. They could use it.

So could I. It reminds me to put my trust in the right place. Either God is sovereign or He isn’t. Since He is, I might as well act accordingly, even though I need every reminder I can get once the legislative dust is kicked up.

Do you know your own reps – at least their names? Do they know you? Can you lift them up in prayer by name? Long ago, a nonprofit organization with which I worked had a sort of internal adopt-a-rep program whereby our supporters were asked to pray for a specific representative throughout the session. One of the best things about that program for each participant was the way it put a face on that amorphous entity called the House.

It’s easy to criticize and give up on a legislative body. I’ve done so more than once. It’s harder to write off an individual, especially an individual with whom one has built a relationship.

So for the House and Senate as a whole, and for each representative and senator, I’ll offer these petitions in all humility, knowing that no one is in need of prayer and mercy more than I.  Waste of time, you say? I respectfully disagree. Respectful disagreement seems not to be in vogue this week. I never was fashionable.

That they may be dedicated to the good of the people of New Hampshire,
For protection from all harm and violence,
That they might never inflict harm and violence whether intentionally or not,
For the discernment to speak the truth persuasively,
For the ability to extend mercy and forgiveness,
For knowing when to act and when NOT to act,
For the ability to shake off ill will,
For the ability to accept and give constructive criticism,
For the ability to give encouragement,
That they may refuse to ascribe ill will to those who dispute them,
That they may think twice or thrice before hitting “send” on social media,
For persistence in the belief that building a majority for good legislation is possible,
That they may defend the right to life, knowing that without that, defense of other rights sounds like just so much vote-buying,
That they may spend more time listening to local voters than to lobbyists in the hallway (and I say that as someone who has worked as a lobbyist),
In gratitude for their willingness to work for the public interest for $100 a year,
Lord, hear our prayer.

Hardly a comprehensive list of petitions, but you no doubt have your own. Good. The more, the better.

This session is starting in contention and bitterness, not mere disagreement. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, lucky you; you must not be on social media. I prefer to think that things can only get better as the session proceeds.

Looking back: selected NH House votes, 2015

State House, Concord NH
State House, Concord NH

Personhood, buffer zone repeal, fetal homicide, conscience protection for health care providers, public funding of abortion providers, abortion statistics, restriction on post-21-week abortion: the New Hampshire House considered all those issues this year, with mixed results. Bills on personhood, conscience protection, and limiting public funding of abortion providers were killed outright. The post-21-week bill was tabled without a roll call vote. A fetal homicide bill and an abortion statistics bill (the latter without a roll call) are still under consideration for 2016. Buffer zone repeal passed the House but was tabled in the Senate.

As always, the New Hampshire General Court home page is your portal to vote results, the text of bills, and identifying your representatives.  You can find every legislator’s action on every roll call vote. Take careful note of what motion is at issue in a vote;  “yes” might mean “yes” to killing the bill.

56 legislators to thank

Five votes represents a very small piece of House business and a small segment of the right-to-life spectrum. Granting that, though, these five 2015 votes are worth noting together:  HB 194 (personhood), HB 403 (buffer zone repeal), HB 560 (fetal homicide/Griffin’s Law from Rep. Rideout), HB 670 (conscience rights for medical professionals), and HB 677 (limiting public funding to abortion providers).

Fifty-six legislators showed up for all five of those votes, favored buffer zone repeal and fetal homicide legislation, and opposed killing the bills on personhood, conscience rights, and public funding of abortion providers. They’re listed here alphabetically by county, with district number in parentheses.

By their votes, these reps defended the right to life and the right to peaceful free expression. By their votes, they agreed that people who don’t want to cooperate in abortion should not be coerced into doing so. They know that New Hampshire law needs to recognize (as do more than three dozen other states) that anyone like an impaired driver or abusive partner who injures a pregnant woman and thereby causes the termination of her pregnancy against her will has committed homicide.

Next time you see these representatives, say thanks.  I will.

Belknap County

Raymond Howard Jr. (8), Robert Luther (3), Franklin Tilton (3).

Carroll County

Ed Comeau (5), Glenn Cordelli (4), Frank McCarthy (2), Bill Nelson (5).

Cheshire County: none.
Coos County

Leon Rideout (7).

Grafton County

Duane Brown (16), Paul Ingbretson (15), Eric Johnson (7).

Hillsborough County

Ralph Boehm (20), John Burt (39), Larry Gagne (13), Linda Gould (7), William Goulette (23), Edith Hogan (34), Joseph Lachance (8), Dick Marston (19), Mark McLean (15), Josh Moore (21), David Murotake (32), Keith Murphy (7), Jeanine Notter (21), Bill Ohm (36), Carl Seidel (28), Kathleen Souza (43), Victoria Sullivan (16)

Merrimack County

Michael Brewster (21), Harold French (2), Carol McGuire (29), Dan McGuire (21), Brian Seaworth (20)

Rockingham County

Max Abramson (20), Al Baldasaro (5), David Bates (7), Allen Cook (11), Joe Duarte (2), J. Tracy Emerick (21), William Gannon (4), Richard Gordon (35), Jeffrey Harris (9), Bruce Hodgdon (1), Robert Introne (5), Daniel Itse (10), Lawrence “Mike” Kappler (3), Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien (6), Frederick Rice (21), James Spillane (2), Chris True (4).

Strafford County

Warren Groen (10), Thomas Kaczynski Jr. (22), Robert Knowles (12), Don Leeman (23), Leonard Turcotte (4).

Sullivan County

Thomas Laware (8).


Two NH House de-funding bills: who rejected both? who supported both?

piggy bank office_com - Copy[Note: An error in the original post had several representatives on both lists. That has been corrected. I regret the error.]

The New Hampshire House killed HB 677 earlier this year, a bill to keep taxpayer money away from abortion providers. The link to the complete roll call is here. Note that the motion was “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL), so on the 216-142 tally, Yea was a vote to kill the bill. Reasons might vary for failing to support the bill – didn’t like the way the bill was drafted, didn’t want to deny funds to organizations that do so much good (or as I call it, the Duprey option), whatever – but you won’t know unless you ask. Find contact information for your reps on the state web site.

Another bill to keep public funds away from abortion providers, HB 228, was introduced in 2011 and was approved by the House in January 2012. It actually passed the House (see the roll call) but was tabled in the Senate. The House motion was “ought to pass” (OTP), so on HB 228, Yea indicated support.

Who rejected both de-funding bills?

These are the representatives who supported the ITL motion on HB 677 AND voted against the OTP motion on HB 228. They had two chances to get taxpayers out of the abortion business, and twice they refused to do so. I’ll look on the bright side and say that past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Alphabetically by county, with party affiliation in parentheses:

BELKNAP: Donald Flanders (r), Franklin Tilton (r)

CARROLL: Karen Umberger (r)

CHESHIRE: Cynthia Chase (d), John Hunt (r), Henry Parkhurst (d), Tara Sad (d), Franklin Sterling (r), Bruce Tatro (d), Lucy Weber (d)

COOS: Robert Theberge (d), Yvonne Thomas (d)

GRAFTON: Susan Almy (d), Mary Cooney (d), Rick Ladd (r), Sharon Nordgren (d), Suzanne Smith (d), Charles Townsend (d), Andrew White (d)

HILLSBOROUGH: Chris Christensen (r), Jack Flanagan (r), Carolyn Gargasz (r), Kenneth Gidge (d), Jeffrey Goley (d), Mary Gorman (d), Jean Jeudy (d), Neal Kurk (r), Peter Leishman (d), Patrick Long (d), Russell Ober (r), Marjorie Porter (d), Ted Rokas (d), Cindy Rosenwald (d), Lisa Scontsas (r), Barbara Shaw (d), Daniel Sullivan (d)

MERRIMACK: Helen Deloge (d), June Frazer (d), Mary Gile (d), David Kidder (r), Frank Kotowski (r), James MacKay (d), Dick Patten (d), Stephen Shurtleff (d), Mary Jane Wallner (d)

ROCKINGHAM: Mary Allen (r), Jacqueline Cali-Pitts (d), Robert Elliott (r), Patricia Lovejoy (d), Betsy McKinney (r), Charles McMahon (r), Marcia Moody (d), Laura Pantelakos (d), Joanne Ward (r)

STRAFFORD: Timothy Horrigan (d), Naida Kaen (d), Peter Schmidt (d), Dale Sprague (d), Janet Wall (d)

SULLIVAN: John Cloutier (d), Raymond Gagnon (d), Andrew Schmidt (d)

Who Supported Both de-funding Bills?

Here’s the other side of the coin: reps who supported OTP on HB 228 and opposed ITL on HB 677.

BELKNAP: Guy Comtois (r), Franklin Tilton (r)

CARROLL: Frank McCarthy (r)


COOS: Laurence Rappaport (r)

GRAFTON: Paul Ingbretson (r), Jeffrey Shackett (r)

HILLSBOROUGH: Richard Barry (r), James Belanger (r), Ralph Boehm (r), John Burt (r), Lars Christiansen (r), James Coffey (r), Daniel Donovan (r), Larry Gagne (r), Dick Hinch (r), Edith Hogan (r), Gary Hopper (r), Don LeBrun (r), Keith Murphy (r), Jeanine Notter (r), Barry Palmer (r), Anthony Pellegrino (r), Laurie Sanborn (r), Carl Seidel (r), Tammy Simmons (r), Kathy Souza (r), Steve Stepanek (r), Timothy Twombly, Jordan Ulery (r)

MERRIMACK: Greg Hill (r), JR Hoell (r), Carol McGuire (r), Dan McGuire (r), Brian Seaworth (r)

ROCKINGHAM: Al Baldasaro (r), David Bates (r), Debra DeSimone (r), Joe Duarte (r), Robert Fesh (r), Kathleen Hoelzel (r), Robert Introne (r), Lawrence Kappler (r), Phyllis Katsakiores (r), Walter Kolodziej (r), John O’Connor (r), Frederick Rice (r), Kyle Tasker (r), James Webb (r), David Welch (r), Kenneth Weyler (r)

STRAFFORD: Roger Berube (d), Sue DeLemus (r), Warren Groen (r), Laura Jones (r), Robbie Parsons (r), Joe Pitre (r)


If your rep isn’t listed

This posts lists only people who voted the same way on both bills. The full roll calls linked near the top of this post will tell you if your representatives were absent for the vote(s). If your current rep wasn’t in office in 2012, she or he wouldn’t be on these lists. The Speaker of the House doesn’t vote if presiding, as was the case for Bill O’Brien in 2012 and Shawn Jasper in 2015.

In view of the recent videos of Planned Parenthood doctors, and in view of the fact that PP is the state’s largest abortion provider as well as a state family planning contractor, maybe it’s time to ask: are any of your reps who twice opposed de-funding reconsidering their stand?