On NY’s Abortion Law: the View from NH

Originally posted at Leaven for the Loaf.

Yes, New York just passed an outrageous abortion law. But remember, New Hampshire got there first: no limitations on abortion, and no protection for children born alive after attempted abortion. We even out-do New York in one way: New Hampshire doesn’t collect any abortion statistics. And therein lies the best way for a Granite Stater to react to the news from New York.

Demand an abortion statistics law. There’s a hearing for one on Thursday, January 24, 2019 – mere hours away, as I publish this – at 11 a.m. in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The bill is HB 158-FN.

My social media feeds are full of upset New Hampshire neighbors, all of them sick at heart over the New York news. Here’s our challenge: get just as upset about New Hampshire’s situation, and then do something about it, starting with the abortion statistics hearing.

If every single one of my distressed friends were to contact the committee members who will consider the statistics bill, they’d make an impression. You can send a message to all twenty-two members of the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee by sending one email to one address: HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us. Simple message: Please vote ought to pass on HB 158-FN, the abortion statistics bill.

If even half of my upset friends took a day off work to attend the hearing and sign the “blue sheet” supporting the bill, they’d make an impression. They’d pack the whole committee room, in fact, and overflow into the hallway all the way down to the elevators. I know it’s hard to take a day off work. I also know it hurts to go to a hearing and see how many abortion advocates make that kind of sacrifice without batting an eyelash.

It’s easy for me to rail about New York politicians. It’s easy to go online and warn that Governor Cuomo’s soul is in peril (not a message from me, but I’ve seen it more than once in my media feed). It’s easy to share photos of New York buildings lit up in pink to “celebrate” the passage of the new abortion law.

How about we take that energy and anger and indignation and grief and put it where it will do some good?

The abortion statistics bill would authorize New Hampshire public health authorities to do what 47 other states already do: collect abortion information in a way that protects patient privacy, and report the numbers to the federal Centers for Disease Control. How many abortions, maternal age, gestational age, incidence of post-abortion complications: New Hampshire public health authorities only know what abortion providers tell them. There’s no reporting law. HB 158-FN would change that.

I am aware that passage is unlikely, given the current makeup of the New Hampshire legislature. This is a modest little test case, though: will we bring the same intensity to this bill that we’re bringing to the online fuss over New York’s lamentable law? Will we write those emails, call those reps, come to the hearing, and eventually show up for the House vote? Will we use social media as intensively to promote HB 158-FN as we use it to criticize New York?

We can try.

More of my posts inspired by the New York legislation are on GraniteGrok and DaTechGuy Blog.

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.