Tag Archives: fetal homicide

Fetal homicide: nudge the committee

If you want to see fetal homicide legislation pass in New Hampshire this year, you might want to send a friendly emailed nudge to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Brief, polite, nothing cut-and-pasted: recommend Ought to Pass on SB 66, without weakening the bill’s language. You’ll certainly want to send an email if one of your own reps is on the committee (see the table below).

The committee earlier this year voted to retain HB 156, one of two 2017 versions of the legislation. “Retain” means the committee will have to make a recommendation one way or another to the House next January. In short, “retain” is a delay. (Here’s a reminder of what happens without fetal homicide legislation.)

Now the same committee has to decide what to recommend with the other fetal homicide bill, SB 66. The hearing is past. The committee vote has yet to be taken. Today, in a comment on someone’s Facebook post, a member of the Criminal Justice committee made an alarming observation.

“You ca[n]’t believe the number of emails I get from people that are opposed to the pre-born (fetal) homicide bill.”

I am willing to bet that most opposition isn’t coming from people concerned about the point in pregnancy when such a law could be used: 20 weeks in SB 66, 8 weeks in HB 156. Opposition is coming from people who hate the very idea of fetal homicide laws.

Opponents are pushing for an Inexpedient to Legislate vote from the committee. Sounds like they’re generating a serious number of emails.

Perhaps the members of the Criminal Justice committee need some more emails, this time from people saying “YES” to SB 66. This will be good practice for when the bill gets to the House floor, as it will unless the committee goes for another “retain” vote.

Here are the names of committee members. I’ve included party identification and the towns in each district, along with email addresses as listed on the House web site. The committee as a whole can be reached at HouseCriminalJusticeandPublicSafety@leg.state.nh.us. If you see your own rep’s name below, though, send a customized email and identify yourself as a constituent.  Be sure you view the entire table; there are 21 names.

nametowns representedemail address
Beth Rodd (D)Bradford, HennikerBeth.Rodd@leg.state.nh.us
Bonnie Ham (R)Lincoln, Livermore, Waterville Valley, Woodstockbdham@roadrunner.com
Carolyn Gargasz (R)Holliscarolyn.gargasz@leg.state.nh.us
Dave Testerman (R)Franklin wards 1& 2, and Hilldave@sanbornhall.net
David Welch (R)Hampstead, Kingstonv-chcj@outlook.com
Delmar Burridge (D)Keene wards 1-5dburridge@ne.rr.com
Dennis Fields (R)Sanbornton, Tiltondennis.fields@leg.state.nh.us
Dennis Green (R)Hampstead, KingstonDennis.Green@leg.state.nh.us
Frank Sapareto (R)Derrysapareto@comcast.net
Jody McNally (R)Rochester ward 3mcnally_jody_usmc@yahoo.com
John Burt (R)Deering, Goffstown, Wearejohn.burt@leg.state.nh.us
Kate Murray (D)New Castle, RyeKate.Murray@leg.state.nh.us
Larry Gagne (R)Manchester ward 6lgagne25@comcast.net
Laura Pantelakos (D)Portsmouth ward 1lcpantelakos@comcast.net
Linn Opderbecke (D)Dover ward 3no email listed; phone 742-4119
Richard O'Leary (D)Manchester ward 6no email listed; phone 668-0069
Robert "Renny" Cushing (D)Hamptonrenny.cushing@leg.state.nh.us
Robert Fesh (R)Derryrmfesh@comcast.net
Roger Berube (D)Somersworth wards 1, 3, 4, 5, and Rollinsfordrogerrberube@hotmail.com
Scott Wallace (R)Brentwood, Danville, FremontScott.Wallace@leg.state.nh.us
Shannon Chandley (D)AmherstShannon.Chandley.NH@aol.com

 


 

Where’s the roll call on SB 66? (Update: Found!)

Update: a few hours after this post went up, so did the Senate roll calls for SB 66. View them at this link. The first roll call listed is the 8-week amendment that failed on a 12-12 vote. Sens. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and Dan Innis (R-New Castle) joined the Senate’s ten Democrats in rejecting that language. They did support the 20-week amendment, which passed 14-10. 

The thing about legislative roll calls is that they’re public. They tie elected officials to particular votes. They’re an accountability measure.

During the debate on Senate Bill 66, the fetal homicide measure passed yesterday by the New Hampshire Senate, three roll call votes were taken, according to the official docket for the bill, accessed via the General Court’s web site.

Docket of SB 66 as posted 11:30 a.m., 2/17/2017.

The first roll call (“RC”) was on an amendment; the vote was 12-12; the amendment failed (“AF”). This was the attempt to change the bill’s language to 8 weeks, instead of keeping the original “viability.”

The second roll call was on the amendment to replace “viability” with 20 weeks. This one passed (“AA” or “amendment adopted”) 14-10. The third roll call was to accept the bill as amended, and on another 14-10 vote, the bill passed.

Those RC notations are all hyperlinked to the page that ought to give us the roll calls: each Senator’s name, each Senator’s vote. Instead, we have this.

Record indicating no roll calls on SB 66, as viewed 11:30 a.m. 2/17/2017.

Each day’s roll calls are usually posted online by the end of the day. The recent House right-to-work roll call was online within ten minutes of when the vote occurred.

Personally, I’d like to know the breakdown on that 12-12 vote. I feel safe in saying all ten Democratic senators opposed the bill in all its proposed versions. So who are the two Republicans who couldn’t support the 8-week amendment?

I could just call the Senate clerk or call a Senator. But there’s that thing about roll calls being public. There’s that roll call page on the web site.

I’ll update this when and if the roll calls are posted.

 

Update: N.H. Senate Passes Amended Fetal Homicide Bill

The New Hampshire Senate today passed SB 66 on a 14-10 vote. The measure is a fetal homicide bill that would give prosecutors the option of filing homicide charges against anyone whose bad actions cause the death of a preborn child against the mother’s wishes. As introduced, SB 66 could have been used only for fetal deaths after viability, but the Senate amended the bill today to change “viability” to 20 weeks’ gestation.

The bill’s legislative docket indicates that there was a roll call, but the results had not been linked at the time of this posting.

A New Hampshire House committee last week retained another fetal homicide bill, HB 156, which bars further action on the House version for now. The House bill would have made fetal homicide charges possible for deaths of preborn children at 8 weeks’ gestation or later. It is likely that the Senate bill will now go to the same House committee that retained HB 156.


Bill status update

Update on bills I’ve been following:

Buffer zone repeal (HB 589) and a post-viability abortion ban (HB 578): The House Judiciary Committee will vote on these two bills Tuesday afternoon, February 14. The committee can recommend Ought to Pass (and I hope they do), or Inexpedient to Legislate. The committee recommendation will then go to the full House at a later date. You can send a brief Ought to Pass email – better yet, two emails, one for each bill – to the Judiciary Committee at HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.gov.

I plan to attend the committee meeting on the 14th. Keep an eye on the Leaven for the Loaf Facebook page, where I’ll report on the votes as soon as they’re cast.

Fetal homicide: The House bill (HB 156, Griffin’s Law) had its public hearing in the Criminal Justice committee on February 7, and the committee has taken no public action since then. The Senate bill (SB 66) will get a vote in the full Senate Thursday, February 16.

Abortion statistics (HB 471), which had a public hearing February 7, is still awaiting action in the House Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee.


A reminder of what happens without a fetal homicide law

As House Bill 156 gets its initial hearing this week before the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, bear in mind why this and other attempts at fetal homicide legislation keep coming back.

Don’t bother to tell me I’m repeating myself. I’m going to keep right on repeating myself until New Hampshire adopts a fetal homicide law.

Read the Lamy decision handed down by the New Hampshire Supreme Court in 2009, particularly pages 9 and 10. It’s about real people, real death, real loss, real injustice.

Joshua Lamy is in prison now, serving time for a number of convictions arising from smashing his car into a Manchester taxi at over 100 miles per hour in 2006. He appealed one conviction, for causing the death of a child in utero, successfully arguing that in the eyes of New Hampshire law, there could be no crime because there was no victim.

The taxi driver, Brianna Emmons, was seven months pregnant. Her injuries were severe enough to call for an emergency cesarean. She named her baby Dominick. Two weeks later, he succumbed to “perinatal asphyxia resulting from maternal abdominal trauma” (State of New Hampshire v. Joshua Lamy,  158 N.H. 511).  Those two weeks weren’t enough to make Dominick Emmons a victim under New Hampshire law. The Supreme Court Justices reluctantly recognized that fact.

The Court’s decision, written by Justice James Duggan,  was unanimous. Duggan frankly acknowledged that existing law left the Court with no other choice than to overturn the homicide conviction regarding the baby: “Should the legislature find the result in this case as unfortunate as we do, it should follow the lead of many other states and revisit the homicide statutes as they pertain to a fetus.”

That was eight years ago. House and Senate agreed on a bill in 2012, only to see Governor Lynch veto it. Override failed narrowly. More recent attempts have foundered over differences between House and Senate bills.

Ponder the fact that ACLU-NH has called for its supporters to show up in force to oppose HB 156. Abortion advocates in New Hampshire have never been able to stomach fetal homicide bills, even though the bills would not apply to any fetal death caused with the consent of the mother.

The ACLU has nothing to worry about if the pro-life supporters of HB 156 snipe at the pro-life supporters of the Senate’s version. Senate Bill 66 would go into effect at a much later gestational age (8 weeks in the House version, viability in the Senate). Yes, the House version is preferable.

But calling into question the good will of the supporters of the Senate bill serves only to give aid and comfort to people who want to make sure the next hundred-mile-an-hour driver who hits a pregnant woman and causes the death of her child gets a pass for the child’s death.


Attend the February 7 hearing on HB 156 if you’re so inclined: 2:30 p.m., House Criminal Justice committee, room 204 in the Legislative Office Building. You can register your support by signing the sheet on the committee table and indicating “For the bill.” If you wish to testify, fill out a pink card, available on the committee table.


House hearings coming on abortion stats, fetal homicide

On Tuesday, February 7,  2017, New Hampshire House committees will take public testimony on two important bills.

11 a.m.: HB 471, abortion statistics collection. The hearing will be at the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building on State Street behind the State House in Concord.

2:30 p.m.: HB 156, a fetal homicide bill. This differs from the Senate’s fetal homicide bill in that it could be used in cases of fetal death much earlier in pregnancy (8 weeks). This one will get a hearing in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, room 204 of the Legislative Office Building.


I refuse to cast aspersions on the Senators backing a different, viability-based fetal homicide bill. For now, suffice it to say that the House version is stronger.

This blog’s page on New Hampshire Fetal Homicide Bills collects pretty much everything I’ve posted on the subject since 2012. If you’re looking for background on such legislation in the Granite State, help yourself.

Incidentally, former Rep. Leon Rideout today forwarded to me a clip from an email he received from ACLU-NH, which is calling on its supporters to crowd the hearing room wearing buttons in opposition to HB 156.  I’ll be there, countering silently with my Griffin’s Law pin. Griffin was Rep. Rideout’s grandson.

 

As for abortion statistics, a post from last May will bring you up to date on the legislative environment that has kept stats from being collected in New Hampshire.