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New Hampshire Poised to Join States With Fetal Homicide Laws

NHPR Staff

Lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that defines a fetus as a person in cases of homicide.  Under the new legislation, a person who caused the death of a fetus that has reached 20 weeks could be charged with homicide or manslaughter.

A similar measure has already passed the Senate, and the Governor has signaled he will sign it.

The vote was close, 186 to 170. There was more than an hour of debate and several failed attempts to try to kill the bill.

Republican Rep John Burt of Goffstown, a supporter, addressed the House Speaker: "SB 66 is a simple, easy bill it protects the wanted baby that is not born yet.”

Those opposed to the measure argue the legislation could have unintended consequences and they fear it will jeopardize the rights of pregnant women. 

If the governor signs it, New Hampshire  will join nearly 40 states with similar laws already on the books. 

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