But Wait, There’s More

[Update, 2 p.m.: According to a source present at the hearing, the committee voted “inexpedient to legislate” on this bill immediately after the hearing. The bill is likely to go to the full House on February 7.]

[Edited 1/24/18 to clarify the distinction between parental consent and notification.]

Just when you think you’re on top of all the life-issue bills in Concord, something else turns up. Comes now a measure that would nullify the parental notification law for abortion – and would eliminate the need for parental consent for cosmetic surgery, setting a broken bone, or anything else that health care professionals consider “treatment” – for minors 16 years of age and older. HB 1503 will be heard Wednesday, January 24, at 10 a.m. at the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs (HHS) Committee, room 205 of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Concord.

The hearing is open to the public, and comments may be emailed to the committee at HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us.

HB 1503 is sponsored by Rep. Caleb Dyer (L-Pelham).

“A health care provider shall obtain the independent consent of any minor 16 years of age or older who undergoes any elective or non-elective medical procedure. For the purposes of this subdivision, “health care provider” means any person, corporation, facility, or institution either licensed by this state or otherwise lawfully providing health care services….This act shall take effect 60 days after its passage.”

New Hampshire’s parental notification law for abortion would be effectively nullified by HB 1503. The judicial-bypass provision of that law would be moot with the passage of a law giving 16- and 17-year-olds the authority to provide consent on their own.

The law doesn’t single out abortion. Nor does it explain just where parents would fit in at all: would a parent be financially responsible for procedures to which a minor child consents?

Whatever the sponsor’s intent, he has added another item to my watch list.

 


A few other hearings of note, all on January 31, 2018 (Wednesday):

  • HB 1787, relative to conscience rights for medical professionals, House HHS, 1:15 p.m., room 205 LOB
  • HB 1680, relative to abortions after viability, House Judiciary Committee, 10:00 a.m., room 208 LOB.
  • HB 1721, relative to coerced abortions.

Not yet scheduled: SB 490, establishing a committee to “study” end-of-life issues.

Abortion Statistics: “Inexpedient to Legislate,” Says N.H. House

The New Hampshire House today rejected HB 471, on abortion statistics. The bill would have put New Hampshire in line with the Centers for Disease Control, which has collected statistics for abortion surveillance for many years.

The vote on an “inexpedient to legislate” motion was 200-154.

Two hundred legislators voted like people who are afraid of evidence-based public health policy and afraid of political retribution from abortion providers.

How many children are terminated annually? It doesn’t matter, was the unspoken message in Representatives Hall. How many adolescents are aborting their pregnancies? We don’t care. How many late-term abortions? How many repeat abortions? Where are most abortions being done? We don’t want to know. 

The bill had stringent provisions to protect the anonymity of patients. Data would have been provided to the CDC in aggregated form. That wasn’t enough for the fearful reps.

Already, in the name of compromise and cooperation, the bill had protected provider anonymity. It thus would have prevented the state from identifying abortion providers with a pattern of leaving patients injured or worse.  Even that was not enough to win over abortion apologists.

Somewhere, Kermit Gosnell is nodding his approval.

Time to update the graphic I made a few years ago. I’m running out of room.

List of N.H. abortion statistics bills since 2002.
New Hampshire abortion statistics bills: a short history.

The roll call is available at this link from the N.H. General Court web site.

Of the 154 representatives who voted against killing the bill, two are Democrats: Barbara Shaw of Manchester and James MacKay of Concord.

Of the 200 who voted kill the bill, 41 are Republicans. One of them, James McConnell of Swanzey, gave a speech before the vote encouraging his colleagues to kill the bill.

Still think the New Hampshire GOP is a pro-life party?

Credit where it’s due: Reps. Jess Edwards (R-Auburn) and Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester) spoke in support of the bill before the vote, stressing its importance to public health and women’s health. Rep. Larry Gagne (R-Manchester) made sure the ITL motion got a roll call vote.

The ITL motion was preceded by a motion of “ought to pass as amended,” which failed 165-189. Rep. Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack) gets the credit for asking for a roll call on that one.

Contact information for state representatives

Watch for an email newsletter with a breakdown of the vote by representatives’ names and counties.

 

Subcommittee Named to Review Abortion Statistics Bill

Five representatives from the New Hampshire House Health and Human Services committee have been named to a subcommittee studying HB 471, the abortion statistics bill that was retained in committee earlier this year.

New Hampshire is one of only three states that do not collect public health information regarding abortion.

HHS committee chairman Rep. Frank Kotowski named Rep. Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield) to chair the subcommittee. Other members are Reps. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole), Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom), John Fothergill (R-Colebrook), and Jess Edwards (R-Auburn). The subcommittee must report back to the full committee by November 1. The full House will take up the committee recommendation in January 2018.

Subcommittee work sessions have not yet been scheduled. The sessions will be open to the public.

Rep. Nelson chaired the study group whose work resulted in the last abortion statistics bill, HB 629, which passed the House in 2016 but was tabled in the Senate after an “ought to pass” motion failed on a 12-12 vote. (Story about 2016 bill here.)

Update: abortion stats bill retained

New Hampshire House Bill 471, abortion statistics, has been retained in committee and will not get a vote in the full House until 2018.  This is a step sideways, but it keeps the bill alive.


A subcommittee is likely to work on the bill between now and January. I’ll watch for those work session dates.

This is 2015 all over again, when the last statistics bill (HB 629) was retained. A subcommittee assigned to work on the bill had six work sessions between May and October 2015. They produced what I thought was an improved bill that enjoyed bipartisan support. The full House passed the resulting version of HB 629 on a voice vote in January 2016.

Then the state Department of Health and Human Services got a new commissioner, who yanked the Department’s participation in crafting the bill. Planned Parenthood, whose representative had attended the work sessions (I know because I attended them as well), refused to support the amended bill. That was enough to prompt a pair of Republican senators to join ten Democrats in voting against HB 629. That tied the vote at 12-12 in the Senate in May 2016, and the bill then died after being tabled. 

That was then; this is now. Under House rules for retained bills, HB 471 must come back for a House vote next year. Last time around, the House did its job: careful study with involvement from a variety of stakeholders, yielding a bipartisan bill so strong it passed without debate. I expect no less from them this time with HB 471. The Senate will then have a chance to redeem itself from 2016’s fiasco.

Oregon Public Health: a lot of unknowns in assisted suicide report

The Patients Rights Council newsletter provides a fine quarterly update on end-of-life legislation and its effects on people who are medically vulnerable. Their latest newsletter (viewable as a PDF) includes a summary of the most recent annual report from the Oregon Public Health Division about deaths prescribed and committed under the state’s so-called “death with dignity” act.

See page 3 of the PRC newsletter – and by the way, look at the data for “patients’ reasons for requesting assisted suicide” and see how far down the list you find “inadequate pain control” – and look at what the OPHD report doesn’t say. From the PRC update:

“…it’s the ‘unknown’ statistic that is most significant. In 98 cases – that’s 74% of all the reported 2015 prescribed-suicide deaths – the OPHD doesn’t know if anyone was present at the most critical time in the whole assisted suicide process, when the patient takes the lethal drugs. That means that the OPHD has no clue if the patient took the deadly dose voluntarily (as required by the assisted suicide law), or if it was disguised in food and unwittingly consumed by the patient, or if the patient was forced to take the drugs (the last two actions being clearly illegal).”

Public health, indeed.