Two Families Persist & Succeed at N.H. State House

Edited from an original post at Leaven for the Loaf.

Sarah and Griffin’s Law has been signed. I was determined to see this happen, in person. I wouldn’t believe it otherwise.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed SB 66 on June 30, and now the fetal homicide measure will be known as Sarah and Griffin’s Law. It will go into effect January 1, 2018.

At that time, prosecutors will have the option of bringing a homicide charge against a person whose violent actions cause the death of a preborn child at or after 20 weeks’ gestation, against the will of the mother.

The state Supreme Court’s 2009 plea in the Lamy case was a factor in passage of this new law. Overturning a drunk driver’s homicide conviction for killing a child who died from injuries sustained in utero by the drunk driver’s actions, the Court told the legislature it would have to update state law in order for such a charge to stick.

Finally, the legislature and a governor have answered the Supreme Court with something other than “meh.”

Moms Deana Crucitti & Ashlyn Rideout (front); dads Nathan Crucitti & Daniel Kenison (rear middle & right) after SB 66 was signed into law.

The families of Griffin Kenison and Sarah Crucitti were at the Governor’s side as he signed the law. Their extended families, children included, filled the Executive Council chamber. Some held photos of Griffin and Sarah.

Three generations of Griffin’s family were there, including “Grammy Shirley,” who told me with deep emotion three years ago “we’re on a crusade.” 

A year ago, Governor Sununu was an Executive Councilor. In that capacity, to the dismay of many voters, Councilor Sununu in voted “Yea” on a state contract with abortion providers – a contract that the Council had rejected a few months earlier, with Sununu voting “Nay.” He flip-flopped.

Shortly before the 2016 gubernatorial election, with Sununu in a tight race, a concerned pro-life Republican asked Republican candidate Sununu what pro-life initiatives he (Sununu) could support. The candidate responded with a short list, made public with his consent.

Fetal homicide was #1 on the list.

I give him credit for keeping his word.

I give credit to the legislators who persevered to pass a fetal homicide bill. At least one New Hampshire legislator has been an advocate for such legislation for more than twenty years.

I give credit to the concerned voter who last year elicited Chris Sununu’s written support for fetal homicide legislation.

I give credit to the New Hampshire Supreme Court justices, who in signing the Lamy decision placed the matter squarely in the legislature’s arena eight years ago.

I give most of the credit to the families who lost their children and who came to Concord again and again to tell their stories.

I spoke to baby Griffin’s great-aunt at the bill-signing ceremony. “I didn’t think I’d live to see this day,” I told her.

She gave me a no-nonsense look. “Shame on you.”

Lesson learned: never give up.