Sens. Shaheen & Hassan Blast Pro-life Bills

New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators have issued a joint statement condemning pending pro-life federal and state legislation. They used the term “extreme anti-choice bills” to refer to bills including born-alive infant protection acts.

Statement from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan

A few thoughts on some of the state-level legislation that has the Senators in a lather:

Shaheen calls infanticide “already illegal,” ignoring the fact that existing New Hampshire born-alive law has no enforcement mechanism. The New Hampshire Senate recently tabled SB 741-FN which would have provided meaningful protection for children who are born alive following attempted abortion. A House committee will vote on a similar bill, HB 1675-FN, on March 4.

Hassan says, “Women in New Hampshire and across the country deserve respect and dignity. They deserve the chance to thrive, and they deserve equality in every way, including by making their own health care choices.”  She does not explain how failing to protect born-alive females is consistent with respecting the dignity of women. Let her ask abortion survivors about “the chance to thrive.”

Both senators use the term “gag rule” to criticize efforts to prevent taxpayer dollars designated for family planning programs from being used to promote or provide abortions.

I conclude that in the eyes of both of New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators, it is extremely “anti-choice” to protect children who survive attempted abortion by imposing penalties on medical professionals who fail to do so.

In the eyes of our Senators, it is “anti-choice” for taxpayers to refuse to fund abortion and subsidize abortion providers.

In the eyes of our Senators, it is “anti-choice” to recognize that abortion is not health care.

In the eyes of our Senators, it is “anti-choice” to tell Planned Parenthood to get its hands out of taxpayer pockets if it wants to continue doing abortions.

In the eyes of our Senators, it is “anti-choice” to advance protective legislation that reflects concern for mother and child.

At least three people have announced their candidacy for the Senate seat currently occupied by Shaheen, up for re-election next November. Let’s see if any of them – and perhaps other potential challengers – know how to push back effectively and persuasively on abortion extremism.

Contact form for Sen. Shaheen

Contact form for Sen. Hassan

And once again, the statement from Sens. Shaheen and Hassan

NH committee gives thumbs-down to Born-Alive Infant Protection bill

A New Hampshire legislative committee will send a born-alive infants’ protection bill to the House floor next week with an “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) recommendation, on a 9-7 vote. In other words, a bill to ensure that care is afforded to children who survive attempted abortion got a thumbs-down.

On such a close vote, a floor fight on HB 1627 is assured when the bill reaches the House floor next week.

Reps. Takesian, Wall, and Rowe on Judiciary
Reps. Takesian, Wall, and Rowe on Judiciary

Pro…

Committee member Rep. Kurt Wuelper (R-Strafford) noted that there is a federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, applicable to federally-funded agencies. This kind of state-level protective legislation is not a new concept. “This only protects babies that happen to survive an abortion procedure.” He urged his colleagues to support the bill.

So did Rep. Barry Palmer (R-Nashua). He mentioned to his colleagues his experience as an EMT.  “You want to do everything you can to save a person. What is the harm in trying?” His colleague Rep. Joseph Hagan (R-Chester), a physician, commended Palmer “Having done a thousand or more resuscitations, I agree with what you say.”

…and Con

Rep. Paul Berch (D-Westmoreland) had an answer for Rep. Palmer. “The harm is potential criminalization of doctors who make a decision.”

A decision. Think about that. There’s only one decision at issue in HB 1627: a decision to refuse care to a child born alive after attempted abortion.

Berch went on to say that the bill “interferes with the decision-making process at a very sensitive time.” There’s that word decision again. He mentioned problems with the bill: “vague concepts…poorly drafted…’evidence of life’ is subject to disagreement. I don’t want to use the word ‘extreme,’ but I guess I will.”

A very sensitive time. Yes, I suppose you could say it’s a sensitive matter when a child escapes an abortion attempt. For years, it’s been unclear in New Hampshire law whether a woman seeking abortion is entitled to a terminated pregnancy or a dead baby. The “dead baby” caucus with its minority of votes prevailed today, because those votes were augmented by several votes from reps with pro-life voting records who had strictly technical objections to the bill.

Objections from pro-life reps…

Rep. Robert Rowe (R-Amherst), Judiciary Committee chairman, said, “I agree with the goals and philosophy of this bill, but second session [i.e. the latter half of a two-year legislative term] is not the time” to consider a bill he called “complex and flawed.” Hagan likewise supported the bill’s intent, but said it was “not ready for prime time.”

No one on the committee who had issues with the language or other technical aspects of the bill proposed any amendment today. No one proposed interim study. No one proposed anything other than the ITL motion.

…and objections from others

One legislator asked a question I found astoundingly disingenuous, and I was pleased that she was called on it almost immediately by one of her colleagues. Rep. Linda Kenison (D-Concord) said that she knew of no statistics indicating that the born-alive phenomenon was even happening. “I don’t think it is a good idea to base a law on assumptions.” Rep. Gary Hopper (R-Weare) didn’t let that pass, reminding the committee that repeated efforts to get an abortion-statistics reporting law in New Hampshire have been “thwarted.”

Rep. Kenison voted ITL anyway. No stats, no problem.

Republican Charlene Takesian of Pelham – she of pamphlet-could-be-an-act-of-violence fame – advised her fellow committee members, “We should not be legislating these medical procedures from here.”

It’s actually the failure to provide medical procedures that’s at issue, but let’s move on.

Hopper had a few words for colleagues who were fretting about telling doctors what to do. “Physicians aren’t God. They can be accountable for what they do.”

On to the House floor

The discussion ended with that 9-7 ITL vote. Majority and minority reports will be printed in an upcoming House calendar. House members will be relying on those reports as they decide how to treat the bill. Perhaps some will rely on messages from constituents as well.

Interim study, anyone?


 

The Judiciary Committee vote on HB 1627, on the motion “inexpedient to legislate”:

  • For the ITL motion, to recommend killing the Born Alive Infant Protection Act: Reps. Rowe (R-Amherst), Hagan (R-Chester), Janet Wall (D-Durham), Takesian (R-Pelham), Claire Rouillard (R-Goffstown), Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham), Berch (D-Westmoreland), David Woodbury (D-New Boston), Kenison (D-Concord).
  • Against the ITL motion and against killing the bill: Reps. Hopper (R-Weare), Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont), Palmer (R-Nashua), Robert Hull (R-Grafton), Mark McLean (R-Manchester), Wuelper (R-Strafford), Robert Graham (R-Milton).