• Advertisement

Emily’s List Puts Gov. Sununu And NH Legislature ‘On Notice’ For Attacks On Women’s Rights

Since Governor Chris Sununu took office the New Hampshire State Legislature has been pushing their ideological right wing agenda.  With the help of Governor Sununu, some of their crazy bills have actually become law.

The legislature attempted to ram through a number of bills attacking women’s reproductive rights.  Most notably was SB66, the “fetal personhood” bill, that passed along party lines. Before Sununu signed the bill it was determined that the bill was fundamentally flawed giving pregnant women “impunity to commit murder.”

“SB 66 would include the term ‘fetus’ in the definition of ‘another’ for the purpose of first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding suicide.  This would not apply to women seeking medical procedures or abortions.” (Rewire, 3/21/17)

Anti-women Republicans in the Legislature also pushed a repeal of the state’s “buffer zone law,” a bill to publicly report women who sought an abortion, and an outright ban on abortions after 21 weeks with no exceptions.

These actions have prompted EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, put Republicans in New Hampshire’s General Court “On Notice” for the upcoming 2018 election. “On Notice” is a list of incumbent Republicans and legislative chambers at all levels of government being called out by EMILY’s List for their anti-woman and anti-family records. EMILY’s List is targeting these seats and chambers in its 2018 electoral efforts.

“Republicans in the New Hampshire Legislature have amassed a shameful record of voting to turn back the clock on women’s rights,” said EMILY’s List Executive Director Emily Cain. “These legislators have recklessly passed legislation that limits the reproductive rights of women, have attempted to repeal the existing law that provides buffer zones to protect women, and have attempted to put in place an abortion ban after just over 21 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest. That is why EMILY’s List is recruiting an historic number of strong, pro-choice Democratic women leaders  in 2018 to hold these Republican legislators accountable for their out-of-touch agenda.”

Aside from the “fetal personhood” legislation that Governor Sununu signed, he also campaigned on his support of anti-abortion legislation and a “pro-life” agenda.

Sununu also failed to condemn, then candidate Donald Trump, after the Access Hollywood tapes became public.

“Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu is not revoking his endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and says party members need to stand behind the nominee, despite the release of a videotape in which Trump is heard bragging about groping and otherwise sexually assaulting women.” [Union Leader, 10/10/16]

For these reasons Emily’s List has also put Governor Chis Sununu “On Notice.”

“Governor Chris Sununu has amassed a shameful record of turning his back on women’s rights and shortchanging New Hampshire  families,” said EMILY’s List Executive Director Emily Cain. “Sununu approved a reckless bill that could put New Hampshire on the path to recognizing ‘personhood,’ refused to disavow Donald Trump time after time, and stood up for anti-choice legislation. That is why EMILY’s List is putting Sununu ‘On Notice’ and targeting this seat, because New Hampshire women deserve far better than failed leadership from this governor.”

With nearly 18,000 women reaching out to EMILY’s List interested in running for office, the organization has tripled the size of its state and local campaign staff in order to provide candidates with the resources they need to run and win.

The 2018 launch of this state-level “On Notice” program includes three governors, legislative bodies in ten states, three secretaries of state and a state attorney general, and is the largest ever in the organization’s 32-year history. It follows the announcement of EMILY’s List’s top congressional and Senate targets in July. A full list of state-level Republican targets can be found here.

“Handmaid’s” Watch In Disgust As House Passes SB66, A Fetal Personhood Bill

Image by David Meuse

In an unprecedented assault on women’s reproductive rights, the NH House passed SB66, a ‘fetal personhood’ bill. The fetal personhood measure recognizes a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time under New Hampshire law.

Looking over the House floor was a group of “Handmaids” dressed in full red robes and wings, made popular by the breakout hit “A Handmaid’s Tale.”  In the show, women have become subservient to men in every way.  Handmaids, being the only women left who can possibly bear children, the Handmaids are given to high power families and forced into conceiving a child for their captors. If they do conceive a child with their “Commanders”, the high powered man of their house, the child becomes his and the handmaid is relegated to the position of wet nurse and nanny.

The handmaids have no rights to their own bodies which makes them the perfect symbol for the assault on women’s reproductive rights currently being pushed through our state legislature.

The proponents of the bill say the legislation will create stiffer penalties to those who attack a pregnant woman, causing harm to the fetus.   However, this legislation creates many problems. SB 66, as amended by the majority of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, is inconsistent with existing New Hampshire law and risks serious unintended consequences. The bill, which also includes a definition of a fetus, has no medical or legal grounding.

“By recognizing a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time under New Hampshire law, SB 66 threatens to pit the rights of a fetus against the rights of a pregnant woman,” said Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire.

As the NH ACLU explained: “Existing New Hampshire law currently provides for severe enhanced penalties for violent crimes that result in the loss of pregnancy, without putting women’s rights at risk. Under existing New Hampshire law, a person may be prosecuted for First Degree Assault if that person purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth—a class A Felony carrying a sentence of up to 15 years.”

This is a heavy-handed attempt to eventually make abortion a crime.  “In states that have adopted fetal personhood measures like SB 66 as amended by the Committee, women have been targeted with arrest, prosecution and other deprivations of their liberty for their behavior during pregnancy,” added the NH ACLU.

Governor Sununu told the Union Leader of his intention to sign the bill.

“The fetal homicide bill is about justice for women,” Sununu stated.  He went on to say, that SB 66 “Has nothing to do with being pro-choice or pro-life,” despite actions by Republicans in the House who tried to repeal the 20 week provision in the law to say that “life begins at conception.”

Provisions like SB 66 add to a growing nationwide effort intended to create tension in the law between fetal rights and women’s rights. While SB 66 includes an exemption for abortion, opponents of abortion rights support such provisions as a legal foundation for overturning Roe v. Wade and its critical protections.

Action Together New Hampshire who organized the Handmaids for the session releases the following:

Action Together New Hampshire is disappointed but not surprised by the outcome of the House of Representatives votes on SB 3 and SB 66. We were surprised by several members of the House of Representatives and their behavior towards members exercising their right to protest peacefully. Voters in New Hampshire deserve leaders, not adults who behave like high school bullies.

If women are no longer able to control their own reproductive rights, what will the Republicans do next? Will they say that women cannot own property or control their own money or force them into slavery based “religious teachings” and scripture as the do in “The Handmaid’s Tale”?

This bill is a step in the wrong direction taking us one step closer to making a “Handmaid’s Tale” reality.

Image by Paul Brochu

NH House Committee Pushes ‘Fetal Personhood’ Bill To The House Floor

In an unprecedented move,
House Criminal Justice Committee reopens a retained bill

CONCORD – In an unprecedented move, the NH House Criminal Justice Committee passed SB 66  out of committee by a vote of 12-8. The House Committee previously retained the bill by a margin of 21-1. SB 66, if passed, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time in New Hampshire law.

SB 66 is a bill that poses serious unintended consequences and threatens women’s rights and health. The bill, as reported out by the House Criminal Justice Committee, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime. In doing so, SB 66 pits the rights of women against the rights of a fetus – threatening to erode the reproductive rights of Granite State women and to advance a larger national agenda to undermine the Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion access.

”In other states that have adopted personhood measures like SB 66, pregnant women have been subjected to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and unwanted medical treatment,” says Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU-NH. “SB 66 is inconsistent with existing New Hampshire statutes, and pits women’s rights against fetal rights in a manner that threatens to undermine pregnant women’s status as full persons under the law.”

As amended by the Senate, SB 66 uses medically inaccurate terminology. The Senate amendment to SB 66 removed the term “viability” from the bill and included a definition of “fetus” that is inconsistent with how that term is understood by the medical community.  Additionally, the Senate amendment’s use of a twenty-week marker has no grounding in medicine or law.

Current New Hampshire law recognizes the severe harm resulting from the death of a fetus and provides for an enhanced felony conviction in such cases. A person may be prosecuted for First Degree Assault if that person purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth—a class A Felony carrying a sentence of up to 15 years. People who commit violent crimes against pregnant women, especially crimes which result in miscarriage or stillbirth, should be punished and that punishment should recognize the severity of the harm and loss to women and their families. Representative Laura Pantelakos has submitted an amendment to SB 66 that would replace the bill with language that adds enhanced penalties to New Hampshire’s homicide statute. As such, Representative Pantelakos’ amendment would appropriately focus the law on the additional, often devastating injury suffered when a crime against a woman results in the loss of her pregnancy.

Leaders across New Hampshire are speaking out against SB 66 as passed by the Senate and as reported out of the House Criminal Justice Committee. Dalia Vidunas, Executive Director of the Equality Health, wrote in the Concord monitor: “SB 66 would become the first New Hampshire law to recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime. Such measures have been passed in other states to create a tension between women’s rights and fetal rights and provide a framework to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose.” Read the rest of Vidunas’ letter here.

Reverend Mary Westfall, Community Church of Durham, United Church of Christ wrote in the Portsmouth Herald: “We all agree that those who commit violent acts against pregnant women should be severely punished under the law. SB 66 is not the answer. Instead of providing recourse for tragic fetal loss, this bill is a slippery slope to eroding rights under Roe v. Wade. If the New Hampshire legislature wants to increase penalties for crimes against pregnant women it should do so without threatening women’s rights and in a manner consistent with existing law.” Read the rest of Westfall’s letter here.

Susan Arnold, Chair for the NH Reproductive Rights Advisory Council, wrote in Foster’s Daily Democrat: “SB 66, if passed, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time in New Hampshire law…In other states that have adopted personhood measures like SB 66, pregnant women have been subjected to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and other deprivations of liberty for otherwise legal behavior that may or may not have harmed their fetuses. Justice for women? I think not. Read the rest of Arnold’s letter here.

Fetal Personhood: An Injustice for Granite State Women

Concerned Leaders Across New Hampshire Speak Out in Opposition to SB 66

CONCORD – The New Hampshire House is currently considering SB 66, a bill that threatens women’s rights and health. SB 66, if passed, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time under New Hampshire law. In doing so, SB 66 pits the rights of women against the rights of a fetus.

SB 66 threatens to erode the reproductive rights of women in New Hampshire and advance a larger national agenda to ban abortion.

”In other states that have adopted personhood measures like SB 66, pregnant women have been subjected to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and other deprivations of liberty for otherwise legal behavior that may or may not have harmed their fetuses,” says Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU-NH. “SB 66 includes medically inaccurate terminology and a very limited “exception” that puts women and doctors at risk for prosecution—women for their behavior during pregnancy, and doctors for providing responsible, consensual medical care.”

Current New Hampshire law recognizes the severe harm resulting from the death of a fetus and provides for an enhanced felony conviction in such cases. A person may be prosecuted for First Degree Assault if that person purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth—a class A Felony carrying a sentence of up to 15 years. People who commit violent crimes against pregnant women, especially crimes which result in miscarriage or stillbirth, should be punished and that punishment should recognize the severity of the harm and loss to women and their families. SB 66 goes far beyond ensuring the punishment meets the crime.

Leaders across New Hampshire are speaking out against this dangerous measure. Dalia Vidunas, Executive Director of the Equality Health, wrote in the Concord monitor: “SB 66 would become the first New Hampshire law to recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime. Such measures have been passed in other states to create a tension between women’s rights and fetal rights and provide a framework to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose.” Read the rest of Vidunas’ letter here.

Reverend Mary Westfall, Community Church of Durham, United Church of Christ wrote in the Portsmouth Herald: “We all agree that those who commit violent acts against pregnant women should be severely punished under the law. SB 66 is not the answer. Instead of providing recourse for tragic fetal loss, this bill is a slippery slope to eroding rights under Roe v. Wade. If the New Hampshire legislature wants to increase penalties for crimes against pregnant women it should do so without threatening women’s rights and in a manner consistent with existing law.” Read the rest of Westfall’s letter here.

Susan Arnold, Chair for the NH Reproductive Rights Advisory Council, wrote in Foster’s Daily Democrat: “SB 66, if passed, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time in New Hampshire law…In other states that have adopted personhood measures like SB 66, pregnant women have been subjected to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and other deprivations of liberty for otherwise legal behavior that may or may not have harmed their fetuses. Justice for women? I think not. Read the rest of Arnold’s letter here.

  • Subscribe to the NH Labor News via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 12,445 other subscribers

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement