House votes down born-alive protection bill

The New Hampshire House has defeated HB 1675-FN, a bill to provide enforceable protection for children born alive following attempted abortion. The vote was 177-131 on an “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) motion.

The official record of the vote is at this site.

A YEA vote on that official record (remember, the motion was “inexpedient to legislate”) is a vote to kill the born-alive bill. Below is the full roll call, divided by county and town.

The vote was mostly along party lines, with most Democrats opposing the bill. The exceptions – the three Democrats who did not support “inexpedient to legislate” – were Reps. Nancy Murphy (D-Merrimack), Alan Turcotte (D-Allenstown), and Mark Vallone (D-Epping).

Three Republicans joined the majority in rejecting the bill by supporting the ITL motion: Dennis Acton and Josh Yokela of Fremont, and Dan Wolf of Newbury.

Prime sponsor Rep. Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien (R-Derry) welcomed to the visitors’ gallery Paula Page, an abortion survivor and New Hampshire resident, who was present for the vote. Speaking in favor of HB 1675, and against the ITL motion, were Reps. Prudhomme-O’Brien, Daryl Abbas (R-Salem), Dee Jurius (R-Meredith), Abigail Rooney (R-Milton), and Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack).

Speaking in favor of the ITL motion, and against the bill, was Rep. Marjorie Smith (D-Durham), restating the arguments she made in committee.

The Roll Call

The New Hampshire General Court website provides a page where you can look up your representatives and their contact information. Saying thank you to the reps who opposed the ITL motion is certainly in order. 

Note that you may be represented in two districts due to “floterial” districts, which combine several areas in order to achieve proportional representation. For example, a resident of Freedom in Carroll County would be represented by state representatives in county district 3 AND district 7.

Voting in favor of the “inexpedient to legislate” motion, therefore killing HB 1675 (177 votes)

All are Democrats except where noted by (r). Towns listed in parentheses.

BELKNAP COUNTY 

  • District 3 (Laconia, all wards): David Huot

CARROLL COUNTY 

  • District 1 (Bartlett, Hart’s Location, Jackson): Anita Burroughs
  • District 2 (Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Hale’s Location): Harrison Kanzler, Stephen Woodcock
  • District 3 (Albany, Freedom, Madison, Tamworth): Jerry Knirk, Susan Ticehurst 
  • District 6 (Wolfeboro): Edith DesMarais
  • District 7 floterial (Albany, Bartlett, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Freedom, Hale’s Location, Hart’s Location, Jackson, Madison, Tamworth): Edward Butler

CHESHIRE COUNTY 

  • District 1 (Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Walpole, Westmoreland): Michael Abbott, Paul Berch, Cathryn Harvey, Lucy Weber
  • District 5 (Keene ward 2): John Bordenet
  • District 6 (Keene ward 3): David Meader
  • District 7 (Keene ward 4): Sparky Von Plinsky
  • District 8 (Keene ward 5): Donovan Fenton
  • District 9 (Dublin, Harrisville, Jaffrey, Roxbury): Richard Ames, Douglas Ley
  • District 10 (Marlborough, Troy): Sandy Swinburne
  • District 12 (Richmond, Swanzey): Barry Faulkner, Jennie Gomarlo
  • District 13 (Winchester): Henry Parkhurst
  • District 16 floterial (Keene, all wards): William Pearson

COOS COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Dummer, Milan, Northumberland, Stark): Wayne Moynihan
  • District 3 (Berlin): Larry Laflamme, Henry Noel, Yvonne Thomas
  • District 5 (Carroll, Jefferson, Randolph, Whitefield): Edith Tucker

GRAFTON COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Franconia, Lisbon, Lyman, Monroe, Sugar Hill): Timothy Egan
  • District 3 (Bath, Benton, Easton, Landaff, Orford, Piermont, Warren): Susan Ford
  • District 5 (Lincoln, Livermore, Waterville Valley, Woodstock): Jerry Stringham
  • District 6 (Ellsworth, Groton, Orange, Rumney, Thornton): Kevin Maes
  • District 7 (Campton): Richard Osborne
  • District 8 (Hebron, Holderness, Plymouth): Sallie Fellows, Suzanne Smith, Joyce Weston
  • District 10 (Enfield): Roger Dontonville
  • District 11 (Canaan, Dorchester, Wentworth): Timothy Josephson
  • District 12 (Hanover, Lyme): Polly Campion, Mary Jane Mulligan, Sharon Nordgren
  • District 13 (Lebanon, all wards): Richard Abel, Susan Almy, Laurel Stavis, George Sykes
  • District 15 floterial (Bath, Benton, Easton, Haverhill, Landaff, Orford, Piermont, Warren): Dennis Ruprecht
  • District 17 floterial (Alexandria, Ashland, Bridgewater, Bristol, Enfield, Grafton): Joshua Adjutant

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY 

  • District 1 (Antrim, Hillsborough, Windsor): Marjorie Porter
  • District 3 (Bennington, Greenfield, Hancock): Daniel Pickering
  • District 4 (Francestown, Greenville, Lyndeboro, Wilton): Jennifer Bernet, Kermit Williams
  • District 5 (Mont Vernon, New Boston): David Woodbury
  • District 6 (Goffstown): Cole Riel
  • District 7 (Bedford): Sue Mullen
  • District 8 (Manchester ward 1): Jeffrey Goley, Diane Langley
  • District 9 (Manchester ward 2):Israel Piedra
  • District 10 (Manchester ward 3): Patrick Long
  • District 11 (Manchester ward 4): Donald Bouchard, Nicole Klein-Knight
  • District 12 (Manchester ward 5): Amanda Bouldin, Andrew Bouldin
  • District 13 (Manchester ward 6): Kathy Desjardin
  • District 14 (Manchester ward 7): Mary Freitas, Mary Heath
  • District 15 (Manchester ward 8): Erika Connors
  • District 16 (Manchester ward 9): Barbara Shaw
  • District 17 (Manchester ward 10): Heidi Hamer, Timothy Smith
  • District 18 (Manchester ward 11): Patricia Cornell, Willis Griffith
  • District 19 (Manchester ward 12): Robert Backus
  • District 21 (Merrimack): Kathryn Stack
  • District 22 (Amherst): Megan Murray
  • District 23 (Milford): Paul Dargie, Joelle Martin, Peter Petrigno
  • District 26 (Brookline, Mason): Brett Hall
  • District 27 (Hollis): Michelle St. John
  • District 28 (Nashua ward 1): William Bordy, Bruce Cohen, Janice Schmidt
  • District 29 (Nashua ward 2): Paul Bergeron, Ray Newman, Sue Newman
  • District 30 (Nashua ward 3): Patricia Klee, Suzanne Vail
  • District 31 (Nashua ward 4): Fred Davis, Manny Espitia
  • District 32 (Nashua ward 5): Allison Nutting-Wong, Michael Pederson
  • District 33 (Nashua ward 6): Mark King, Frances Nutter-Upham
  • District 34 (Nashua ward 7): Catherine Sofikitis, Deb Stevens
  • District 35 (Nashua ward 8): Skip Cleaver, Latha Mangipudi, Laura Telerski
  • District 36 (Nashua ward 9): Martin Jack, Michael O’Brien
  • District 38 floterial (Antrim, Bennington, Francestown, Greenfield, Greenville, Hancock, Hillsborough, Lyndeborough, Wilton, Windsor): Chris Balch, James Bosman
  • District 42 floterial (Manchester wards 1-3): Matthew Wilhelm
  • District 43 floterial (Manchester wards 4-7): Christopher Herbert
  • District 45 floterial (Manchester wards 10-12): Constance Van Houten

MERRIMACK COUNTY 

  • District 1 (Andover, Danbury, Salisbury): Kenneth Wells
  • District 4 (Sutton, Wilmot): Thomas Schamberg
  • District 5 (New London, Newbury): Karen Ebel, Dan Wolf (r)
  • District 6 (Bradford, Henniker): Roderick Pimentel
  • District 7 (Warner, Webster): Clyde Carson
  • District 9 (Canterbury, Loudon): Howard Moffett, George Saunderson
  • District 10 (Concord ward 5, Hopkinton): David Luneau, Mel Myler, Mary Jane Wallner
  • District 12 (Concord ward 2): Connie Lane
  • District 13 (Concord ward 3): Beth Richards
  • District 14 (Concord ward 4): James MacKay
  • District 15 (Concord ward 6): Ryan Buchanan
  • District 16 (Concord ward 7): Timothy Soucy
  • District 18 (Concord ward 9): Kristina Schultz
  • District 19 (Concord ward 10): Christy Bartlett
  • District 20 (Chichester, Pembroke): David Doherty, Dianne Schuett
  • District 23 (Bow, Dunbarton): Samantha Fox, Mary Beth Walz, Gary Woods
  • District 25 floterial (Andover, Danbury, Salisbury, Warner, Webster): David Karrick
  • District 27 floterial (Concord wards 1-3, 4-7): Arthur Ellison, Rebecca McWilliams
  • District 28 floterial (Concord wards 8-10): Katherine Rogers

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY 

  • District 10 (Fremont): Dennis Acton (r)
  • District 11 (Brentwood): Liz McConnell
  • District 17 (Newfields, Newmarket): Michael Cahill, Charlotte DiLorenzo
  • District 18 (Exeter): Skip Berrien, Gaby Grossman 
  • District 19 (Stratham): Debra Altschiller
  • District 21 (Hampton): Patricia Bushway, Renny Cushing, Michael Edgar, Tom Loughman
  • District 22 (North Hampton): Jim Maggiore
  • District 23 (Greenland, Newington): Dennis Malloy
  • District 24 (New Castle, Rye): Jaci Grote, Kate Murray
  • District 27 (Portsmouth ward 3): Peter Somssich
  • District 28 (Portsmouth ward 4): Gerald Ward
  • District 29 (Portsmouth ward 5): David Meuse
  • District 31 floterial (Greenland, Newington, North Hampton, Portsmouth ward 3): Tamara Le
  • District 33 floterial (Brentwood, Danville, Fremont): Josh Yokela (r)
  • District 36 floterial (Exeter, Newfields, Newmarket, Stratham): Patricia Lovejoy

STRAFFORD COUNTY 

  • District 4 (Barrington): Cassandra Levesque, Matthew Towne
  • District 5 (Lee): Jeffrey Salloway
  • District 6 (Durham, Madbury): Timothy Horrigan, Cam Kenney, Marjorie Smith, Janet Wall 
  • District 7 (Rochester ward 1): Timothy Fontneau
  • District 8 (Rochester ward 6): Donna Ellis
  • District 11 (Rochester ward 4): Chuck Grassie
  • District 14 (Dover ward 2): Kristina Fargo
  • District 15 (Dover ward 3): Linn Opderbecke
  • District 17 (Dover wards 5-6, Somersworth ward 2): Peter Bixby
  • District 18 (Rollinsford, Somersworth wards 1, 3, 4, 5): Gerri Cannon, Wendy Chase, Cecilia Rich
  • District 19 floterial (Dover wards 1-2): Peter Schmidt
  • District 20 floterial (Dover wards 3-4): Thomas Southworth
  • District 23 floterial (Rochester wards 2-3): Sandra Keans

SULLIVAN COUNTY

  • District 1 (Cornish, Grantham, Plainfield, Springfield): Brian Sullivan
  • District 3 (Claremont ward 1): Andrew O’Hearne 
  • District 4 (Claremont ward 2): Gary Merchant 
  • District 9 floterial (Cornish, Croydon, Grantham, Newport, Plainfield, Springfield, Sunapee, Unity): Linda Tanner
  • District 10 floterial (Claremont wards 1-3): John Cloutier

Voting against the “inexpedient to legislate” motion, HB 1675 (131 votes)

All are Republican except where noted by (d). Towns are in parentheses.

BELKNAP COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Gilford, Meredith): Harry Bean, Deanna Jurius, Jonathan Mackie
  • District 3 (Laconia wards 1-6): Richard Beaudoin, Peter Spanos, Franklin Tilton
  • District 4 (Sanbornton, Tilton): Dennis Fields, Timothy Lang
  • District 6 (Belmont): Michael Sylvia
  • District 8 floterial (Alton, Barnstead, Gilmanton): Raymond Howard

CARROLL COUNTY 

  • District 5 (Brookfield, Effingham, Ossipee, Wakefield): Lino Avellani, Ed Comeau
  • District 6 (Wolfeboro): John MacDonald
  • District 8 floterial (Brookfield, Effingham, Moultonborough, Ossipee, Sandwich, Tuftonboro, Wakefield): William Marsh

CHESHIRE COUNTY

  • District 11 (Fitzwilliam, Rindge): John O’Day

COOS COUNTY 

  • District 1 (Clarksville, Colebrook, Columbia, Dixville, Errol, Millsfield, Pittsburg, Stewartstown, Stratford, + 7 other incorporated areas): Michael Furbush
  • District 4 (Dalton, Kilkenny, Lancaster): Kevin Craig
  • District 7 floterial (Carroll, Dalton, Dummer, Jefferson, Kilkenny, Lancaster, Milan, Northumberland including Groveton, Randolph, Stark, Whitefield): Troy Merner

GRAFTON COUNTY 

  • District 1 (Bethlehem, Littleton): Erin Hennessey
  • District 4 (Haverhill): Rick Ladd
  • District 9 ( Alexandria, Ashland, Bridgewater, Bristol, Grafton): Edward Gordon, Vincent Paul Migliore

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Deering, Weare): Keith Erf, Gary Hopper, JP Marzullo
  • District 6 (Goffstown): Joe Alexander, Barbara Griffin, Michael Gunski, Fred Plett
  • District 7 (Bedford): Linda Camarota, David Danielson
  • District 13 (Manchester ward 6): Larry Gagne
  • District 19 (Manchester ward 2): Kendall Snow 
  • District 20 (Litchfield): Ralph Boehm, Richard Lascelles
  • District 21 (Merrimack): Richard Barry, Richard Hinch, Robert L’Heureux, Nancy Murphy (d), Jeanine Notter
  • District 22 (Amherst): Reed Panasiti
  • District 25 (New Ipswich, Sharon, Temple): Paul Somero
  • District 26 (Brookline, Mason): Jack Flanagan
  • District 37 (Hudson, Pelham): Bob Greene, Tony Lekas, Hershel Nunez, Lynne Ober, Andrew Prout, Andrew Renzullo, Kimberly Rice, Jordan Ulery
  • District 39 floterial (Deering, Goffstown, Weare): John Burt
  • District 44 floterial (Litchfield, Manchester wards 8-9): Mark McLean, Mark Proulx

MERRIMACK COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Franklin wards 1-2, Hill): Werner Horn, Dave Testerman
  • District 3 (Franklin ward 3, Northfield): Greg Hill 
  • District 20 (Chichester, Pembroke): Brian Seaworth
  • District 21 (Epsom, Pittsfield): James Allard, John Klose
  • District 22 (Allenstown): Alan Turcotte (d)
  • District 24 (Hooksett): Frank Kotowski, Thomas Walsh, Michael Yakubovich
  • District 26 floterial (Boscawen, Canterbury, Franklin ward 3, Loudon, Northfield): Howard Pearl
  • District 29 floterial (Allenstown, Epsom, Pittsfield): Carol McGuire

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Candia, Deerfield, Nottingham): Alan Bershtein, James Spillane, Kevin Verville 
  • District 3 (Raymond): Michael Costable , Kathleen Hoelzel, Kevin Pratt 
  • District 4 (Auburn, Chester, Sandown): Jess Edwards, Jason Osborne, Tony Piemonte, Chris True 
  • District 5 (Londonderry): Al Baldasaro, Tom Dolan, Betsy McKinney, Sherman Packard, Douglas Thomas 
  • District 6 (Derry): Brian Chirichiello, David Love, David Milz, John O’Connor, Stephen Pearson, John Potucek, Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien 
  • District 7 (Windham): Joel Desilets, Mary Griffin, Walter Kołodziej, Charles McMahon 
  • District 8 (Salem): Daryl Abbas, Arthur Barnes, Fred Doucette, Robert Elliott, Betty Gay, John Janigian, John Sytek 
  • District 9 (Epping): Mark Vallone (d), Michael Vose 
  • District 12 (Danville): Scott Wallace
  • District 13 (Hampstead, Kingston): Dennis Green, Joseph Guthrie, David Welch, Kenneth Weyler 
  • District 14 (Atkinson, Plaistow): Debra DeSimone, Robert Harb, Norman Major, Peter Torosian 
  • District 15 (Newton): Charles Melvin
  • District 16 (East Kingston, Kensington, South Hampton): Dan Davis
  • District 19 (Stratham): Patrick Abrami
  • District 20 (Hampton Falls, Seabrook): Aboul Khan 
  • District 32 floterial (Candia, Deerfield, Northwood, Nottingham): Terry Roy 
  • District 34 floterial (Atkinson, Hampstead, Kingston, Plaistow): Mark Pearson
  • District 35 floterial (East Kingston, Kensington, Newton, South Hampton): Deborah Hobson

STRAFFORD COUNTY

  • District 1 (Middleton, Milton): Peter Hayward, Abigail Rooney 
  • District 2 (Farmington): James Horgan, Joseph Pitre 
  • District 3 (New Durham, Strafford): Michael Harrington, Kurt Wuelper
  • District 6 (Durham, Madbury): Judith Spang 
  • District 9 (Rochester ward 2): Steven Beaudoin
  • District 24 floterial (Rochester wards 4-5): Mona Perreault 

SULLIVAN COUNTY 

  • District 2 (Croydon, Sunapee): Gates Lucas 
  • District 5 (Claremont ward 3): Walter Stapleton 
  • District 6 (Newport, Unity): John Callum, Skip Rollins 
  • District 7 (Acworth, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Washington): Judy Aron 
  • District 8 (Charlestown): Tom Laware 
  • District 11 floterial (Acworth, Charlestown, Goshen, Langdon, Lempster, Washington): Steven Smith

Absent/not voting

Speaker of the House Stephen Shurtleff was presiding and did not vote.

BELKNAP COUNTY

  • District 1 (Center Harbor, New Hampton): Harry Viens
  • District 2 (Gilford, Meredith): Glen Aldrich
  • District 5 (Alton, Gilmanton): George Feeney, Peter Varney 
  • District 6 (Belmont): John Plumer 
  • District 7 (Barnstead): Barbara Comtois
  • District 9 (Belmont, Laconia wards 1-6): Charlie St. Clair

CARROLL COUNTY

  • District 2 (Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Hale’s Location): Thomas Buco
  • District 4 (Moultonborough, Sandwich, Tuftonboro): Glenn Cordelli, Karel Crawford
  • District 5 (Brookfield, Effingham, Ossipee, Wakefield): Bill Nelson

CHESHIRE COUNTY

  • District 2 (Alstead, Marlow, Surry): John Mann
  • District 3 (Gilsum, Nelson, Stoddard, Sullivan): Daniel Eaton
  • District 4 (Keene ward 1): David Morrill
  • District 11 (Fitzwilliam, Rindge): John Hunt
  • District 14 floterial (Dublin, Fitzwilliam, Harrisville, Jaffrey, Rindge, Roxbury): Craig Thompson 
  • District 15 floterial (Marlborough, Richmond, Swanzey, Troy, Winchester): Bruce Tatro 
  • District 16 floterial (Keene wards 1-5): Joe Schapiro

COOS COUNTY

  • District 1: John Fothergill
  • District 6: William Hatch

GRAFTON COUNTY

  • District 1 (Bethlehem, Littleton): Linda Massimilla 
  • District 12 (Hanover, Lyme): Garrett Muscatel 
  • District 14 floterial (Bethlehem, Franconia, Lisbon, Littleton, Lyman, Monroe, Sugar Hill): Elaine French
  • District 16 floterial (Canaan, Dorchester, Ellsworth, Groton, Orange, Rumney, Thornton, Wentworth): Francesca Diggs

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY

  • District 1 (Antrim, Hillsborough, Windsor): Jim Fedolfi
  • District 5 (Mont Vernon, New Boston): Donna Mombourquette 
  • District 7 (Bedford): Linda Gould, John Graham
  • District 9 (Manchester ward 2): Linda DiSilvestro
  • District 10 (Manchester ward 3): Jean Jeudy
  • District 15 (Manchester ward 8): Mark Warden 
  • District 16 (Manchester ward 9): Joshua Query 
  • District 21: Rosemarie Rung, Wendy Thomas 
  • District 22 (Amherst): Julie Radhakrishnan 
  • District 23 (Milford): Charles Burns
  • District 24 (Peterborough): Peter Leishman, Ivy Vann 
  • District 25 (New Ipswich, Sharon, Temple): Timothy Merlino
  • District 30 (Nashua ward 3): Sherry Dutzy
  • District 31 (Nashua ward 4): David Cote
  • District 32 (Nashua ward 5): Dan Toomey 
  • District 33 (Nashua ward 6): Kenneth Gidge
  • District 34 (Nashua ward 7): Greg Indruk 
  • District 36 (Nashua ward 9): Linda Harriott-Gathright 
  • District 37 (Hudson, Pelham): Alicia Lekas, Russell Ober, James Whittemore 
  • District 40 floterial (Hollis, Milford, Mont Vernon, New Boston): Kat McGhee
  • District 41 floterial (Amherst, Bedford): Laurie Sanborn 
  • District 42 floterial (Manchester wards 1-3): Jacqueline Chretien
  • District 43 floterial (Manchester wards 4-7): Benjamin Baroody, Richard Komi
  • District 45 floterial (Manchester wards 10-12): Jane Beaulieu

MERRIMACK COUNTY

  • District 3 (Franklin ward 3, Northfield): Joyce Fulweiler
  • District 6 (Bradford, Henniker): Beth Rodd 
  • District 8 (Boscawen): Robert Forsythe
  • District 17 (Concord ward 8): Safiya Wazir 

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY

  • District 1 (Northwood): David Coursin
  • District 4 (Auburn, Chester, Sandown): Becky Owens
  • District 5 (Londonderry): David Lundgren, Anne Warner 
  • District 6 (Derry): Mary Eisner, Phyllis Katsakiores, James Webb 
  • District 8 (Salem): Edward DeClercq, Everett McBride
  • District 17 (Newfields, Newmarket): Ellen Read
  • District 18 (Exeter): Lisa Bunker, Julie Gilman 
  • District 20 (Hampton Falls, Seabrook): Max Abramson, William Fowler
  • District 25 (Portsmouth ward 1): Laura Pantelakos 
  • District 26 (Portsmouth ward 2): Rebecca McBeath
  • District 30 floterial (Portsmouth wards 1-2, 4-5): Jacqueline Cali-Pitts
  • District 37 floterial (Hampton, Hampton Falls, Seabrook): Jason Janvrin

STRAFFORD COUNTY

  • District 12 (Rochester ward 5): Mac Kittredge
  • District 13 (Dover ward 1): Casey Conley
  • District 16 (Dover ward 4): Sherry Frost
  • District 17 (Dover wards 5-6, Somersworth ward 2): Susan Treleaven, Kenneth Vincent
  • District 21 floterial (Dover wards 5-6, Rollinsford, Somersworth wards 1-5): Catt Sandler 
  • District 22 floterial (Rochester wards 1 and 6): Peg Higgins
  • District 25 floterial (Barrington, Lee): Amanda Gourgue

SULLIVAN COUNTY

  • District 1 (Cornish, Grantham, Plainfield, Springfield): Lee Oxenham

House, Senate Votes coming March 11 and 12

The New Hampshire House will vote on more than 300 bills in a two-day session March 11 and 12. The Senate will meet the same days, with a somewhat less formidable agenda.

Don’t let them say they never heard from you.

If you have time Please MAKE the time to let your reps and senator know how you’d like them to vote on the bills I mention below. Don’t assume someone else or some organization will get the message across for you.

Look up your House member here. From there, you can link to a rep’s contact page. If you’re telephone shy (I am), send an email, but do it before Tuesday the 10th. They’re going to be slammed with messages.

Look up your Senator here. From there, you can link to a contact page. There’s an office number where you can leave your message.

Senate: SB 486, abortion insurance mandate

SB 486 will force some health insurance plans that cover maternity benefits to cover abortion as well. Committee recommendation is “ought to pass,” party-line vote. Thumbs down on that: SB 486 deserves an “inexpedient to legislate” vote.

Testimony at the hearing affirmed that most health insurance policies written in New Hampshire already cover abortion. That’s not enough for abortion advocates. They say “parity” demands that abortion coverage be mandated, since abortion is health care, too.

Only it isn’t.

For another view, you can read Planned Parenthood’s glowing endorsement of the bill.

House: HB 1659-FN, assisted suicide

A committee has recommended Interim Study (IS) on the assisted suicide bill. Ordinarily, I might be content with IS on a dangerous bill. Not this time. Now is the time for an emphatic NO to anything that implies assisted suicide is state-approved medical care. I’m going to ask my reps to vote “inexpedient to legislate” on HB 1659-FN.

By the way, you can skip the FNs when you communicate with your reps. It’s a designation for “fiscal note.” The bill number alone will be enough to confirm what bill you’re talking about.

I have heard both in committee and in casual conversations that some supporters of the bill are irritated that it’s being called an assisted suicide bill. They prefer the official title, “relative to patient directed care and patient’s rights with regard to end-of-life decisions.” I’ll continue to call the bill what it is: assisted suicide legislation.

I posted statements of some opponents of the bill here and here.

House: HB 1675-FN, born-alive infant protection

How can a committee recommend that a born-alive bill be killed? We’ve already seen the Senate kill such legislation this year, but couldn’t the House get it right?

Not if House members heed the Judiciary Committee’s “inexpedient to legislate” recommendation. Brace yourself for the anti-HB-1675 speech from committee chair Rep. Marjorie Smith (D-Durham).

So here we are: I am going to ask my state representatives to toss out the committee recommendation and instead vote “ought to pass” on HB 1675-FN.

House: HB 1678-FN, eugenic abortion

A few minutes after voting ITL along party lines on the born-alive bill, the Judiciary Committee also gave thumbs down to HB 1678-FN, which would penalize abortion providers who provide an abortion strictly for reasons of sex selection or genetic anomaly. One Republican, Ned Gordon of Bristol, joined the committee Democrats in voting ITL, so now this recommendation can be touted as “bipartisan.”

And so what? Again, I’m going to ask my reps to flip the committee report and instead vote “ought to pass” on HB 1678-FN.

Keep At It

In a spirit of peace and persistence, in spite of the likely math, make the calls or send the emails. The legislators are burdened with a huge agenda (a self-imposed burden, to be sure), and debate fatigue is sure to go along with it. They’re getting paid a hundred bucks a year to process all that information. Help them out with your short & sweet message. Thank them for their service.

Remember – don’t let them say they never heard from you.

Video from House committee saying “no” to born-alive bill

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee voted on March 4 to recommend that the full House reject HB 1675, a born-alive infant protection bill. The full House will vote on March 11 or 12.

Embedded in this post is video I took with my phone, from my seat in the front row of the public area. Speaking: Rep. Marjorie Smith (D-Durham), committee chair, reading from a paper that I assume she herself wrote. Rep. Smith ain’t buying this born-alive stuff. Sorry, abortion survivors.

Rep. Smith: “There is no such thing as an abortion up until birth.” Fact check: there is such a thing as an attempted abortion resulting in a live birth. Ask Claire Culwell. Ask Melissa Ohden. Ask Gianna Jessen.

Rep. Smith: “The idea that there is a state law to somehow allow a woman to have an abortion as she gives birth is flat out untrue.” Fact check: There is no statutory limit on abortion in New Hampshire in terms of gestational age, and as Rep. Smith knows, every attempt to change that since 1997 has failed. Viability, 20 weeks, whatever: every single New Hampshire bill to limit abortion at any point in pregnancy has failed. By the way, no law is needed “to somehow allow a woman to have an abortion as she gives birth…” That’s thanks to Roe v. Wade, which gave states the option but not the mandate of asserting an interest in preborn children in the later stages of pregnancy. New Hampshire has thus far declined the option.

Rep. Smith: “In February, the United States Senate [took] a similar bill – the United States Senate, the current United States Senate, under the leadership of the Senate Majority Leader, defeated a similar bill.” Fact check: S.311, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), has not yet gotten a direct vote in the Senate. The February vote to which Rep. Smith referred was a vote to end debate so that a direct vote could be taken. A majority of Senators, on a 56-41 vote, voted to end debate – but ending debate requires 60 votes. The bill has not been defeated. Abortion advocates in the Senate refuse to let it come up for a direct up-or-down vote. Those 41 votes came from 1 Independent (Angus King of Maine) and 40 Democrats.

HB 1675-FN is about children who have made it out of the mother’s body alive, one way or another, after attempted abortion. It’s about a duty to care for those children. It’s about imposing sanctions on abortion providers who fail to provide medically appropriate care for such a child, such as would be given to a wanted premie of the same gestational age.

But…”no such thing.”

There will be a floor fight in the House. The House Calendar says the committee vote was 12-7; my own notes from the hearing say 12-8. It was party-line either way.

Pushing back: testimonies against assisted suicide, part 2

Here are some excerpts from press conference and testimony against New Hampshire’s assisted suicide bill, HB 1659. Find part 1 at this link.

Gary Cahoon, owner of assisted living facility

…The current state of palliative care is such that people need not die in pain. None of our residents have ever expressed a regret that they had not had the opportunity to kill themselves at an earlier time.

Aside from death, another unpleasant aspect of life that we have had to deal with is family members who exploit, abuse or neglect a vulnerable person. We have taken in frail elderly people from truly horrific households.  Financial exploitation, however, is much more common than outright abuse. I think for example of the nephew who got his aunt to grant him a financial power of attorney in exchange for a candy bar. I have no doubt that some of the abusers I have dealt with would have readily attempted to persuade or coerce their family member into suicide if they benefited as a result. We should not give the potential abuser one more tool to exploit the vulnerable.

As healthcare providers, my wife and I feel that it is our duty and our mission to help our residents achieve the best possible quality of life and not to help them end their lives. The door to assisted suicide is one which, we believe, should never be opened.

(Mr. Cahoon and his wife own Friendship Manor, an assisted living home in New Ipswich.)

Gary Cahoon of Friendship Manor in New Ipswich, speaking in opposition to HB 1659.

Nancy Elliott, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA

In her testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Nancy Elliott – former state representative from Merrimack, who once served on the committee herself – took on the references within HB 1659-FN to “mental anguish” and “embarrassing indignities.”

This sounds like a disability. Before I lost my husband, that was the description of him. It is cruel for the state to say that someone like my husband should not want to live and be pushed toward suicide.

Steven Wade, Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire

As you may be aware, suicide has reached epidemic proportions in our state, [with] the number of suicides nearly doubling in NH in the last 10 years. NH DHHS [Department of Health and Human Services] and suicide prevention organizations are working hard to implement a new program of “Zero Suicides” in New Hampshire, along with renewed focus on “Help Seeking”.

HB 1659 is an affront and a contradiction to these suicide prevention efforts and to all the hard work by so many suicide prevention advocates and volunteers in NH.

We will argue that instead of legalizing assisted suicide as medical care, we should be working to greatly expand funding and access to palliative and mental care for those most-at risk for suicide in our state – persons living with life-long disability, veterans living with TBI and PTSD,
at-risk teens, first responders, and elders vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. This also includes many of NH’s low income citizens and persons on Medicaid and under managed care, who do not have access to needed palliative and mental health care.

Steven Wade is executive director of the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, and facilitator for the Coalition Against State-Approved Suicide.

Pushing back: testimonies against assisted suicide, part 1

New Hampshire’s assisted suicide bill for the 2020 legislative session will get its first test on March 4 when the House Judiciary Committee votes on HB 1659-FN. In New Hampshire, no bill can be killed in committee, but the committee’s recommendation will be highly influential when the full House votes later in March.

What follows in this post, to be continued in a second post later, are excerpts from a press conference and testimony in opposition to HB 1659-FN. As part of the Coalition Against State-Approved Suicide (CAS-AS NH), I worked with several of the people who are quoted here. Learned from them, too. Perhaps you will as well.

The Safford Family

Lori Safford and her sons Samuel and Ben, all New Hampshire residents, each testified to the committee.

LORI

I’m here to oppose HB 1659. Eight years ago my children and I arrived home to find my husband dead in his office. He was only 53. My teenage daughter fell into a deep depression….

Despite 6 months of counseling, I received a call at 2am from her closest friend telling me to go check on her. I found her with a bottle of pills and a knife. She was on the phone with a suicide hotline. Losing her dad and having 2 brothers with a terminal illness was just too much for her. 

Fortunately, we found a new counselor and she worked through the pain and sadness. I couldn’t imagine losing her to suicide. Suicide is final, there are no do-overs.

[Now she is] a Junior at Biola University in California and is on the Dean’s list. She is a strong, bright, talented young lady who loves her life and is doing great things…

Life is a gift from God and yet pain and suffering are a normal part of human existence. Suffering is a gift that helps us connect with others and to grow in love and compassion for our fellow man. Please vote no on HB 1659.

BEN

Assisted Suicide is not medical care. Medical care is defined as the maintenance or improvement of health. Medical professionals should do their utmost to preserve life, not end it.

I have a terminal illness called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and I suffer with physical weakness, discomfort and the loss of my independence every day. Despite these circumstances, I have enjoyed life to the fullest and have achieved success beyond my wildest expectations.

I have not lost a shred of dignity because of my circumstances. And I believe I would lose dignity if I gave up. How would killing myself give me dignity?…

The legislature of NH should reject HB 1659 as an offense against human dignity. I certainly do!

SAMUEL

I have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. I don’t believe this bill should be passed because assisted suicide is no better than regular suicide. In fact, it’s far worse because a person who is obligated to help you is actually causing you harm. 

…I don’t say this lightly, because at one point I wanted to end my life. Before I could, I realized that I would be making a big mistake. People who want to end their lives often just need help and encouragement. They may think they have become burdens to their families, but I say that no human life is a burden because we are all created with unique abilities.

…The right to die can often become the duty to die. Family members can learn much by taking care of a person with a terminal illness. They can learn compassion, love and gratitude which would be lost if their family member decided to go through with physician-assisted suicide. 

The will to live is where dignity is truly shown, not in the right to die. I believe this bill should not be passed because every life has value despite our pain and suffering.

Lisa Beaudoin, ABLE-NH

…The ongoing devaluation of the lives of people with disabilities is at the heart of HB 1659 no matter how uncomfortable it is to hear me say it. Embedded in the assisted suicide debate is a grimly veiled, ableist narrative which implies that disability is a fate worse than death. The “medical model of disability” which says that disability is a defect, a loss of dignity,  a burden to fixed or eliminated, leaving people with disabilities feeling that they are not quite worthy.   

Lisa Beaudoin of ABLE-NH at press conference with opponents of NH assisted suicide bill
Lisa Beaudoin, ABLE-NH, at press conference with opponents of assisted suicide bill HB 1659.

The statement of purpose in HB 1659 slaps the faces of people with disabilities who depend on others for care, the language itself devalues the experience of people with disabilities. It reduces dependence to indignity.  Elected officials, what sort of message are you sending to people who use wheelchairs? Need help with bathing or feeding? Or who are incontinent?  What sort of message are you sending to people who live their everyday lives with support?  

…Abuse of people with disabilities is a growing problem, making coercion virtually impossible to identify or prevent.  The option of assisted suicide is a scary mix with our broken, for-profit health care system and a cultural narrative which says that disability is bad.    The option of assisted suicide means some people will get suicide prevention while others get suicide assistance, and the difference between the two groups is the health status of the individual and their access to appropriate healthcare, leading to a two-tiered system that results in death to the socially devalued group.  Isn’t that discrimination?

…The state of NH cannot legitimize the devaluation of people with disabilities through the ugly, false ableist rhetoric of “death with dignity” legislation.  In its language, HB 1659 is in opposition to advancing justice for people with disabilities.

(Ms. Beaudoin is the executive director of ABLE-NH [Advocates Building Lasting Equality], advocating for the civil and human rights of children and adults with disabilities.)

Marc Guillemette, Catholic Medical Center

…New Hampshire is in the midst of a suicide crisis.  In 2018 the Center for Disease Control reported that from 1999 to 2016, suicide rates in New Hampshire increased by 48.3%, which was the third highest increase in the country.  If that is not alarming enough, the data regarding youth suicide in New Hampshire is even more troubling.  Like the rest of the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals under 24 years old.  But New Hampshire rates are 50% higher than the national average, and they continue to rise.  In 2017 and 2018 suicide deaths were the highest in two decades among New Hampshire young people.  New Hampshire officials have called it a public health crisis!

The staff of Catholic Medical Center has witnessed firsthand the devastation of suicide.  Our physicians have had to tell parents that their child had died as a result of suicide thus shattering their lives forever.  As a chaplain at CMC and in my professional career, I have had to comfort parents in the midst of their tears they asked why their child had committed suicide.  Those encounters will haunt me forever.

We at CMC have grave concerns that the State of New Hampshire with this proposed physician assisted law will be saying that in “some” cases suicide is “okay” or “permitted.”  It is no coincidence that the suicide rates in the United States began to rise in 1999 when Oregon was the first state to legalize Physician Assisted Suicide….

House bill 1659-N will have a negative impact on New Hampshire’s efforts to address the suicide crisis, for how can we attempt to prevent youth suicide, while declaring with this proposed law that suicide is a valid way to solve the problems of those who have a terminal illness.  Those problems — all of them, including terminal illness — have better and more life-affirming solutions.  

(Mr. Guillemette is the Director of the Office of Catholic Identity at CMC in Manchester.)

Part 2 is here. The NH House Judiciary Committee will accept messages on HB 1659 up until its March 4 vote: HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.