Abortion

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: May 24, 2019

May 23, 2019

With more states passing restrictive abortion laws, we look at local reaction and examine where New Hampshire stands on this issue. Also, the New Hampshire votes to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of a death penalty repeal, while the Senate signs off on a series of gun control measures. Also this week, Gov. Sununu signed a bipartisan mental health bill into law. 

 

GUESTS:

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Supporters of abortion rights rallied outside the New Hampshire State House Tuesday as part of a nationwide movement called "Stop the Bans."

 

Todd Bookman/NHPR

During a campaign stop in Nashua, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris criticized a measure passed Tuesday by the Alabama legislature that would ban nearly all abortions in that state.

“Let us all agree that women’s health care is under attack, and we will not stand for it,” Harris told a standing room only crowd inside of Girls, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to empowering young women.  

The Alabama statute, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey, would make performing an abortion a felony except in very limited circumstances.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Dan St. Hilaire was a county attorney, worked in private practice, has a passion for amateur astronomy, and currently works for the New Hampshire Liquor Commission. But it was his vote against a contract for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in 2011 while serving on the Executive Council that generated the most discussion during his confirmation hearing Monday to serve as a Superior Court judge.

NHPR Staff

House lawmakers will debate a bill Thursday that would define a fetus as a person in cases of homicide.

The Republican-backed bill has already cleared the state Senate, and if it passes the House, it goes to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he will sign it into law.

Update: 12:55 PM:

This bill has passed the New Hampshire House by a vote of 186-170. We will continue to update this story.

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The New Hampshire House votes Thursday on a bill that would allow fetuses older than twenty weeks to be considered people in cases involving murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. The debate over what are often called fetal homicide laws isn’t a new one in Concord, but with Republicans controlling the legislature and the governor's office, this year the bill is expected to become law.

Peter Roome via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/ckY7tj

Millennials are less religious than their predecessors—so what does that mean for the future of the abortion issue? On today’s show, the growing number of young pro-life activists who are—or call themselves—secular feminists: the new generation of pro-life activists who are separating themselves from the GOP, and the religious right.

Plus, a new 10-Minute Writer's Workshop with Jodi Picoult. Her newest book carries on her tradition of tackling tough subjects with an ensemble of narrators, and this time, it's race. 

Pierre Gautreau / Flickr/CC

First, we'll talk about a bill that aims to repeal a state law that allows abortion clinics to establish twenty-five foot buffer zones, keeping protesters that distance away. 

NHPR Staff

 

The New Hampshire Supreme Court says a guidance counselor who helped a 15-year-old girl get judicial approval for an abortion without telling her parents shouldn't have lost her job.

Under state law, girls under 18 must notify their parents before getting abortions or get a judge's OK. The guidance counselor in question told the girl about the second option and got a restraining order to stop the principal from telling the girl's mother about the pregnancy.

Jacob Carozza/NHPR

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson was in the Granite State Thursday.

The retired neurosurgeon defended his role in a 1992 study that used tissue from aborted fetuses. 

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The US Supreme Court last year struck down a 35-foot buffer zone law in Massachusetts, and NH’s 25-foot buffer law remains under challenge in US District Court.

This issue is also contentious at the state house.  For opponents of the buffer zones. Like Republican Senator Sharon Carson of Londonderry, it is about free speech and individual liberty.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill allowing doctors to prescribe the overdose reversal drug Narcan may soon become law after the Senate passed the measure on Thursday.

If Governor Maggie Hassan signs off on the legislation– doctors across the state will be able to put Narcan in the hands of family, friends and users. Currently first responders and law enforcement are allowed to administer it.

The Governor would not say if she would back the bill but said she will closely review it.

Republican Andy Sanborn of Bedford says this bill is about saving lives.

Sara Plourde

  On Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill repealing a law that would create a 25 foot buffer zone around facilities where abortions are performed.

The bill follows a Supreme Court decision striking down similar law in Massachusetts.

The New Hampshire law never went into effect after it was challenged in Federal court.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Kathleen Souza, is an anti-abortion demonstrator. She says she would have introduced the bill even absent a Supreme Court decision.

Allegra Boverman

The house voted Thursday to repeal a law that created buffer zones for protestors around health clinics that provide abortions.

In recent years, both New Hampshire and Massachusetts passed such laws. But last year, the Supreme Court overturned the Massachusetts law, and New Hampshire’s law is yet to be enforced.

Before the new bill passed be a 170-159 margin, Republican Representative Joseph Hagan of Chester said the existing bill steps on free-speech rights.

Penalties for indecent exposure and the legality of abortions are on tap for the New Hampshire House.

Lawmakers are scheduled to debate these and several other issues during Wednesday's legislative session, beginning at 10 a.m.

Sara Plourde

Planned Parenthood is suggesting New Hampshire lawmakers replace the state law creating "buffer zones" around facilities that provide abortions rather than repeal it.

New Hampshire's 25-foot buffer zone law has not been enforced since its passage last summer because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a similar Massachusetts law. The House Judiciary Committee took testimony Tuesday on a bill to repeal the buffer zone law outright. Its sponsors say the state will face a costly lawsuit if the law remains in place.

via YouTube

The US Senate campaigns of Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown continue to battle over Brown’s record on abortion.

A day after Jeanne Shaheen’s campaign aired an ad highlighting a Scott Brown’s sponsorship of  2005 bill in the Massachusetts legislature that sought to imposed a 24-waiting period for abortion and require women to be provided with images of fetus, the Brown campaign was up with an ad of his own.

It features Brown speaking right into the camera.

Police in Massachusetts will have new powers to disperse crowds around abortion clinics under a new law signed by Governor Deval Patrick Wednesday.

The governor signed the bill flanked by the Attorney General and the Senate President, the two most powerful women on Beacon Hill. He praised the lawmakers' speedy response to the recent supreme court decision which struck down Massachusetts' 35-foot buffer zone law around abortion clinics.

Sara Plourde

A Christian legal group has asked a federal judge to block a New Hampshire law that bars demonstrators from coming within 25 feet of facilities that offer or perform abortions.

New Hampshire’s so-called buffer zone rule is set to take effect Thursday. But in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a similar law in Massachusetts, Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to delay implementation of the new restrictions.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Gov. Maggie Hassan said her administration will “closely review” how Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a Massachusetts’ law that restricts protests outside abortion clinics will affect a similar law that will take effect in New Hampshire next month.

Hassan, who is in Turkey on a trade mission, signed a bill June 10 that authorizes reproductive health facilities that perform abortions to establish 25-foot buffer zones around the entrance. The law is set to take effect July 10.

In a decision that could have implications in New Hampshire, the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a Massachusetts law that permits a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics.

The justices were unanimous in ruling that extending a buffer zone 35 feet from clinic entrances violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan signed into law a bill enabling abortion clinics to create a buffer zone that would keep protesters clear of the entrance.

After a prolonged legislative debate in the house, the final language in the bill gives reproductive health clinics the flexibility to make clearly marked buffer zones “up to” 25 feet in radius.

Jennifer Frizzell with Planned Parenthood says the buffer zones will ensure the privacy, dignity and safety of patients while protecting first amendment rights.

abortion protest in San Francisco - 333
Steve Rhodes / Flickr Creative Common

 

A spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan says she will sign a bill that would allow New Hampshire's reproductive health facilities where abortions are offered to set buffer zones up to 25 feet around their entrances.

cmh2315fl / Flickr/CC

N.H.'s Death Penalty Faces a Last Repeal Attempt for the Year

Although the matter seemed settled for the year after the State Senate tabled a repeal bill, longtime opponents of capital punishment in the House are making one last attempt. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

  The New Hampshire House passed a bill (162, 100) to create a marked buffer zone around abortion clinic entrances to keep protesters 25 feet back.


Sara Plourde / NHPR

  The House Judiciary committee considered a bill Tuesday that would create a 25 foot buffer zone to keep anti-abortion activists clear of abortion clinic entrances. While it’s expected to become law, it may face legal challenges when the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a similar law in Massachusetts.


hmoloshok / Flickr Creative Commons

With two stubborn, diametrically opposed sides, the country’s abortion debate has moved very little in either direction since Roe v. Wade 40 years ago. While polls indicate most Americans do not support overturning the landmark supreme court decision to allow abortions, many do support some limitations on the procedure. And it’s in this direction that many state legislatures have swung recently, with a record number of restrictions passed since 2010.  While this trend is changing the landscape for abortion access in some parts of the country, New England continues to be an exception.

This year, several states have passed or are debating to pass more restrictions on abortion, The toughest being in North Dakota’s which has banned the procedure after six weeks.  But in New Hampshire some predict the long time abortion-rights stance of Governor Maggie Hassan should mean a status quo here..  We’ll examine what’s behind these trends, statewide and nationwide and what it could mean for the future of laws in the Granite State.

Guests:

Jennifer Frizzell – Senior policy advisor for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

It’s been forty years since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion.  Over the decades, abortion policy in the Granite State has fluctuated between lighter and tighter restrictions on abortion.  Thursday on the Exchange, we’ll look at where this issue stands in our state today…and where it may go.

Guests:

Susan Arnold - Chair of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire

Fran Wendleboe - Assistant Secretary of the NH Republican State Committee, Former Republican Representative from New Hampton

It’s been just about a year since New Hampshire’s parental notification law took effect – a good time to look at what supporters and opponents said might happen and what actually has happened.

Annmarie Timmins reports for the Concord Monitor. She looked at the law and its effects in a piece for this past Sunday’s paper, and she joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson with more.

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