To The Daily Sun,
House Bill 194, which is currently under consideration in the New Hampshire House, provides that life begins at conception. The bill would give full protection of the law to all fertilized eggs. It would ban all abortions, with no exceptions, as well as indirectly impacting thousands of wide-ranging laws, from the provision of Social Security benefits and how wills are administered, to infertility treatment and contraceptive options, to name just a few. The bill states that it should "not be construed to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child," although lead sponsor of the bill, Representative J.R. Hoell (Merrimack, District 23) stated during the hearing of the bill on Jan. 23 that he would be pleased should this bill lead to criminalization of abortion in the future.
During the break I asked Rep. Hoell why he would sponsor a bill that would, for example, prevent women with ectopic pregnancy from receiving potentially life-saving care. His first response was that such cases would be exempted in this bill. I pointed out that this was not the case, to which he replied that he would support such an exemption in follow-on legislation.
I am not a lawyer. I am a recently retired reproductive health epidemiologist, but even I know that our country is founded on the principle of rule of law and that how a law is written matters. Commas matter. A bill as poorly written as HB-194 is so inadequate that it does not merit the time that the committee and representatives of concerned organizations have spent in deliberation. For this reason, in addition to my personal opposition to legislation that would limit a woman's decision-making power regarding her own health.
I strongly urge citizens to contact their own representatives and members of the House Judiciary Committee to oppose forwarding this bill to the state House floor.
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