New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, has won a third term. The same election flipped the House and Senate from Democrat to Republican majorities, subject to a few Senate recounts.
Will this yield any pro-life legislation?
You may recall that when Sununu ran for Governor the first time, he ran an ad touting his “pro-choice” position, but later said that he supported certain common-sense measures: fetal homicide legislation, Women’s Health Protection Act (standards for operation of abortion facilities), healthcare freedom of conscience, a late-term abortion ban, and buffer zone repeal.
After two terms, he has signed a fetal homicide law. None of the other measures he mentioned has even made it to his desk. It’s possible that a Republican majority in House and Senate will make a difference. After all, the Republican majority during Sununu’s first term did manage to pass that fetal homicide law, with the help of four Democrats and one Libertarian.
“Pro-life” isn’t spelled G-O-P. Neither is “First Amendment,” for that matter, as I recall repeated failures to repeal the buffer zone law. Even so, maybe some of those common-sense measures mentioned by the Governor might have a chance in 2021.
Update on HB 1659, introduced earlier this year in the New Hampshire House: this assisted suicide bill was sent to interim study. That’s the good news: it won’t become law in 2020.
Now for the other news: its originating committee can still recommend whether such legislation should be considered in the future. The House Judiciary Committee will have a public work session online on Tuesday, September 1, at 10:00 a.m. to consider that question.
While this is not a public hearing, it is a public meeting. Anyone is free to listen. Anyone wishing to send the committee comments, or re-send them, can email them to HouseJudiciaryCommittee@leg.state.nh.us.
How to access the work session
This information is from the House Calendar. The note at the end about an executive session simply means that the committee can vote on its recommendation at any time. Remember that this cannot be a vote to pass HB 1659, but rather to give future legislators a non-binding recommendation on whether a similar bill should be considered in the future.
Full committee work session on HB 1659-FN, relative to patient directed care and patient’s rights with regard to end-of-life decisions. Committee members will receive secure Zoom invitations via email. Members of the public may attend using the following links:
1. To join the webinar: https://www.zoom.us/j/94261411599 2. Or Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): 1-312-626-6799, or 1-929-205-6099, or 1-253-215-8782, or 1-301-715-8592, or 1-346-248-7799, or 1-669-900-6833 3. Or iPhone one-tap: US: +13126266799, 95408968840# or +19292056099, 95408968840# 4. Webinar ID: 942 6141 1599 5. To view on YouTube, click here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxqjz56akoWRL_5vyaQDtvQ
The following email will be monitored throughout the meeting by someone who can assist with and alert the committee to any technical issues: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (603-271-3600). Pursuant to House Rule 43 (b), executive session may take place throughout the committee deliberations.
Previous coverage of HB 1659
Leaven for the Loaf has covered the assisted suicide bill since its introduction in early 2020.
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.
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.
New Hampshire House and Senate conferees trying to agree on a state budget have agreed on one thing: everyone who pays taxes in New Hampshire will be funding unrestricted abortion if this budget passes.
The conference committee has OK’d the removal of budget language which in past budgets has limited the use of state funds for abortion.
House and Senate will vote on a state budget proposal June 27. The Governor will then decide whether to sign or veto the budget. A veto would likely lead to a legislative continuing resolution, basically a state-spending holding pattern, until agreement is reached on a new budget.
Governor Sununu has expressed in every way available to him that he will veto the budget as it currently stands, due to new taxes and excessive spending. He has not mentioned abortion funding as a reason for a possible veto.
Abortion funding is not a bargaining chip. It’s a dealbreaker. Perhaps no one has told him so yet. His office number is (603) 271-2121. The budget isn’t on his desk yet, but it’s coming.
House and Senate members need to get the same message before June 27.
Hyde amendment language
The language at risk of repeal in New Hampshire is based on the federal Hyde Amendment, which has been added to every federal Department of Health and Human Services budget since 1976. This funding limitation has prevented the use of federal DHHS funds for abortion, with exceptions for pregnancies from rape and incest.
Essentially, that has been the New Hampshire policy. Children conceived in violence can be aborted at public expense, but New Hampshire taxpayers have not yet been ordered to pay for abortions in other circumstances.
Abortion advocates have worked diligently for years at state and federal levels to undermine Hyde Amendment language, saying that it restricts health care access for poor women.
Anyone opposing restrictions on public funding for abortion is therefore adopting the fiction that abortion is health care. That goes for anyone who votes for a budget containing abortion funding, even if it’s a “compromise” budget.
sununu’s past funding decisions
As Executive Councilor, Chris Sununu voted in 2011 and 2016 to give family planning contracts to abortion providers including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the Equality Center in Concord, and the Lovering Center in Greenland. Calling himself pro-choice, he drew a distinction: no to compelling taxpayers to fund abortion directly; yes to funding abortion providers for non-abortion work.
In August 2015, Sununu voted against a state contract with PPNNE, expressing concerns over revelations of some PP affiliates’ commerce in body parts from aborted fetuses. Ten months later, in an unprecented do-over on the same contracts, he flipped, saying that PP was no longer under investigation.
Elections have consequences?
There is no elected New Hampshire Democrat on the state level who supports restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion.
Then again, there is no elected New Hampshire Republican on the state level who has announced that she or he will vote against the proposed budget for the reason that public funding for abortion is inconsistent with respect for human life, authentic health care, and conscience rights.
Hyde saves lives
Looking at the federal Hyde Amendment, Secular Pro-Life celebrated the amendment’s 40th anniversary in 2012. Its #HelloHyde campaign highlighted the people who were born, not aborted, when their mothers were covered by Medicaid.
The Hyde Amendment’s life-saving impact is hard to overstate. Both supporters and opponents agree that the Hyde Amendment has prevented over a million abortions. The disagreement, sad to say, is over whether that’s a good thing.
In April of this year, Michael J. New, Ph.D. of the Charlotte Lozier Institute wrote about Maine’s move to fund abortion with state dollars. He observed something that holds true anywhere public money is used for abortion.
There is a considerable amount of debate among scholars about various aspects of abortion policy. However, when it comes to the issue of taxpayer subsidies, there is a very broad consensus among both pro-life and pro-choice researchers that funding abortion through Medicaid significantly increases abortion rates. In 2009, the Guttmacher Institute–which was Planned Parenthood’s research arm until 2007–published a literature review on the research about public funding of abortion. They found that 19 of 22 studies found taxpayer funding of abortion increases the incidence of abortion.
In September, legislators and the Governor agreed to a compromise budget that includes Hyde Amendment-style limitations on the use of state funds for abortion.
Unfortunately, the compromise does not protect taxpayers from funding abortion providers. Cornerstone Action, a New Hampshire advocacy group for which I’m a consultant, spelled out the details clearly. Their conclusion is apt: “Yes, the budget’s blocking of direct funding of abortion was a victory for New Hampshire, but there’s still much to be done.”