Fetal Homicide Bill Moves to New Hampshire Governor’s Desk

May 31, 2012

A bill that would expand New Hampshire's homicide law to include causing the death of a fetus is headed to the governor.

New Hampshire House bill 217 would amend the state homicide statutes to allow charges of first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide and causing or aiding suicide if someone causes a pregnant woman to lose her fetus. The House and Senate agreed to the compromise Senate version of the bill which sets the threshold for fetal homicides at eight weeks. This bill is a direct response to a New Hampshire Supreme Court directive, according to Cornerstone New Hampshire Vice President of Government Affairs Ellen Kolb.

RESOLVE New England has several concerns about the bill, including potential negative impacts on in vitro fertilization procedures. Executive Director Erin Lasker says the definition of fetus in the bill is unclear.

Supporters of the bill maintain it will have no impact nor influence on the state’s abortion laws nor fertility procedures.  New Hampshire Right to Life President Kurt Wuelper wanted a stricter bill, but says what is moving to the Governor’s desk is acceptable.

Calls to New Hampshire Governor John Lynch’s office were not returned in time for this broadcast.  In published reports, the Governor has not said whether he will sign or veto the bill, but has expressed concerns about the threshold set in the legislation.