More life-issue votes from March 12 session

In addition to rejecting a born-alive bill, the New Hampshire House on March 12 also rejected HB 1678-FN, the prenatal nondiscrimination act. The bill would have imposed sanctions on an abortion provider performing an abortion solely for reasons of sex selection or fetal genetic anomaly such as Down syndrome. The roll call on HB 1678-FN was 193-101 on an “inexpedient to legislate” motion. Because the motion was ITL, a “yea” vote on the roll call was a vote to kill the bill.

The House voted to send the assisted suicide bill, HB 1659-FN, to interim study. The move effectively kills the bill for this year. A subcommittee of House Judiciary is likely to meet one or more times before the end of 2020 to develop an interim study report, advising future legislatures whether to consider such a law. Opponents of assisted suicide legislation will need to show up at those yet-to-be-scheduled subcommittee sessions.

Also on March 12, the New Hampshire Senate voted “ought to pass” along party lines (Democrats in the majority) on SB 486-FN, an abortion-insurance mandate bill. The bill now goes to the House.

Related: the March 12 votes were previewed here.

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.

N.H. “End of Life Study” Bill Advances Without Protective Language

The New Hampshire House voted 214-140 to pass HB 291, establishing a committee to study end-of-life care. Sponsors of the bill made clear when the bill was introduced that if passed, the study committee would consider assisted suicide as one type of “care.”

The House rejected an amendment from Rep. Barbara Griffin that would have prevented assisted suicide from being a topic in the study. The vote on that was 146-208.

The bill now goes to the Senate. No hearing date has been announced.

More background on HB 291 here.

House Vote Thursday: Don’t Let Assisted Suicide Be Part of End-of-Life Study

It’s back: here’s another bill to “study” end of life issues, introduced by New Hampshire legislators who are open about their determination to include assisted suicide in any such study. HB 291 is scheduled for a House vote on Thursday, March 14.

(Update, March 14: bill was passed without amendment.) 

The House Judiciary Committee majority voted ought to pass on the bill. A minority on the committee is recommending an amendment to the bill that preserves the intent of studying palliative and other end-of-life care, while excluding any possibility of the bill being used to advance assisted suicide.

I’m going to contact my representatives to support “ought to pass with amendment” on HB 291, using amendment #2019-0767h. The committee minority report written by Rep. Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown) says in part,

The minority believes that the bill also sends a message of suicide being acceptable in a time where concerns on rising rates of suicide and work for suicide prevention are the focus of other bills and an existing Council on Suicide Prevention. Similar legislation has been before this body before and has been vetoed twice by [former] Governor Hassan. The minority believes this bill should be amended to focus the committee work on palliative and hospice care for the populations dealing with not only end of life, but also complex health and disability issues.

I’ve lost count of the pro-assisted suicide bills that have gone down to defeat or veto in our state. I say add HB 291 to that list, unless it’s amended to exclude assisted suicide as an item on the “health care” menu.

You can find your representatives’ names and contact information at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/house/members/default.aspx.

SB 490: “A Thinly Veiled Effort to Study Assisted Suicide”

Nancy Elliott wasted no time sending a message to the New Hampshire Senate committee considering SB 490, the “end of life” study bill. The bill’s sponsor made her assisted suicide advocacy clear in her own testimony, if not in her bill. Elliott, a former New Hampshire legislator who is now heads up Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – USA, responded with written testimony. It was published in full on EPC’s blog. Here’s an excerpt.

Nancy Elliott (photo by Ellen Kolb)

I am opposed to SB490 because it is a thinly veiled effort to study Assisted Suicide, also known as death with dignity, medical aid in dying, euthanasia and mercy killing, with the intent to legalize it in New Hampshire. Our state has a long standing bipartisan opposition to Assisted Suicide. This practice is discriminatory to the disabled and elderly, sending them the message that they are not as valuable as able bodied people. While young and healthy individuals receive suicide counseling, the elderly, sick and disabled are steered to take their lives.

I know this bill is for a STUDY, but studying things that would be harmful if passed is a waste of taxpayer money and runs the risk of giving legitimacy and momentum to this practice….I believe that this commission is dangerous to our citizens because the report that will come out, will indicate an imaginary mandate for Assisted Suicide.

Read the full post here.