Video from House committee saying “no” to born-alive bill

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee voted on March 4 to recommend that the full House reject HB 1675, a born-alive infant protection bill. The full House will vote on March 11 or 12.

Embedded in this post is video I took with my phone, from my seat in the front row of the public area. Speaking: Rep. Marjorie Smith (D-Durham), committee chair, reading from a paper that I assume she herself wrote. Rep. Smith ain’t buying this born-alive stuff. Sorry, abortion survivors.

Rep. Smith: “There is no such thing as an abortion up until birth.” Fact check: there is such a thing as an attempted abortion resulting in a live birth. Ask Claire Culwell. Ask Melissa Ohden. Ask Gianna Jessen.

Rep. Smith: “The idea that there is a state law to somehow allow a woman to have an abortion as she gives birth is flat out untrue.” Fact check: There is no statutory limit on abortion in New Hampshire in terms of gestational age, and as Rep. Smith knows, every attempt to change that since 1997 has failed. Viability, 20 weeks, whatever: every single New Hampshire bill to limit abortion at any point in pregnancy has failed. By the way, no law is needed “to somehow allow a woman to have an abortion as she gives birth…” That’s thanks to Roe v. Wade, which gave states the option but not the mandate of asserting an interest in preborn children in the later stages of pregnancy. New Hampshire has thus far declined the option.

Rep. Smith: “In February, the United States Senate [took] a similar bill – the United States Senate, the current United States Senate, under the leadership of the Senate Majority Leader, defeated a similar bill.” Fact check: S.311, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), has not yet gotten a direct vote in the Senate. The February vote to which Rep. Smith referred was a vote to end debate so that a direct vote could be taken. A majority of Senators, on a 56-41 vote, voted to end debate – but ending debate requires 60 votes. The bill has not been defeated. Abortion advocates in the Senate refuse to let it come up for a direct up-or-down vote. Those 41 votes came from 1 Independent (Angus King of Maine) and 40 Democrats.

HB 1675-FN is about children who have made it out of the mother’s body alive, one way or another, after attempted abortion. It’s about a duty to care for those children. It’s about imposing sanctions on abortion providers who fail to provide medically appropriate care for such a child, such as would be given to a wanted premie of the same gestational age.

But…”no such thing.”

There will be a floor fight in the House. The House Calendar says the committee vote was 12-7; my own notes from the hearing say 12-8. It was party-line either way.

Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, pro-life activist, hiker.