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Three abortion-related bills fail in NH House

By DAVE SOLOMON
State House Bureau

March 21. 2018 8:45PM




CONCORD — Three abortion-related bills failed to pass the House of Representatives on Tuesday, leaving anti-abortion groups with little to show for what had been an ambitious legislative agenda in front of a Republican-controlled House.

A bill requiring third-party consultation and a 24-hour waiting period for women contemplating abortion (HB 1707) was sent to interim study on a voice vote based on the recommendation of the Health and Human Services Committee.

The committee voted 11-9 to recommend interim study, which in the second year of the session will most likely lead to the bill’s demise.

“The majority recognizes that this bill might create access issues for women seeking abortion, especially those from rural areas,” Rep. William Marsh, R-Wolfeboro, said.

Writing for the minority, Rep. Lucy Weber, D-Walpole, urged the House to kill the bill outright: “This particular issue has been hotly debated for at least the past 50 years. The minority believes it is overly optimistic to think that sending this bill to interim study is going to achieve a resolution.”

A bill to prohibit abortions after fetal viability (HB 1680) was tabled in a close 170-163 vote.

“This is about the values that define us,” said Rep. Kurt Wuelper, R-Strafford, for the majority of the Judiciary Committee, which had voted 10-8 in support of the measure. “We are proud to support legislation that reflects our values and protects the sanctity of life.”

Twenty-one states have passed similar legislation.

Rep. Charlotte DiLorenzo, D-Newmarket, said the bill is unnecessary.

“Abortions after viability are not routinely performed in New Hampshire,” she said. “Instead, this bill would serve only to create a hostile environment for physicians and compromise their ability to provide individualized care for their patients.”

A bill relative to “coercive abortions” (HB 1721) was defeated 237-100. The bill got a negative 15-3 vote in committee.

“This bill claims to protect women from coercive abortion by dictating a specific screening process, ignoring the fact that health care providers are already legally and ethically required to obtain a patient’s independent informed consent,” DiLorenzo said.

A bill that would allow medical professionals to exercise their “rights of conscience” failed in a 218-109 vote in the House last week.

The bill, HB 1787, would have allowed medical professionals to refuse any procedure that goes against their personal beliefs, including abortion, providing contraceptives or contraceptive counseling.

“We applaud the bipartisan majority of the New Hampshire House for protecting women’s health and safety today by rejecting four dangerous bills that would have put roadblocks between women and the health care they need,” said Kayla Montgomery, director of advocacy and organizing for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

dsolomon@unionleader.com


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