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House backtracks on 20 week abortion ban

New Hampshire House lawmakers try and fail to revive a bill to ban late-term abortions.

The house first passed a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy in March. But that bill was quickly pushed aside by the senate. House lawmakers revived the proposal Thursday, tacking it on to bill related to health screening tests for newborns. Yet the narrowness  of the margin – it was adopted by just 4 votes -- prompted a quick change of heart. Lawmakers like Jennifer Coffey, a republican from Andover, told colleagues the abortion language put the newborn testing proposal at risk.

"The underlying issue is too important you don’t want to let that go."

The house ultimately removed the abortion provision from the bill. The 20 week ban is one of several hot button issues house republican have sought to add to senate bills. Earlier this week, the house revived a plan to require a 24 hour waiting period for abortion. The house also passed a measure to allow religious employers to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans. Both provisions had earlier been voted down in the senate


Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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