Letter: A slippery slope

Sunday, May 07, 2017
A slippery slope

Last month, we attended the hearing on Senate Bill 66, and listened to powerful testimony on both sides of establishing fetal rights here in New Hampshire. We came away from the hearing worried about the direction our state will go if this bill passes the House, as it already passed the Senate, and is signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu.

SB 66 possesses dangerous consequences for women’s rights. It is part of a nationwide effort to establish a framework to overturn Roe v. Wade and bar access to safe, legal abortion by pitting fetal rights against women’s rights. Supporters of this bill claim it brings justice for women and their families who suffer the loss of a much-wanted pregnancy.

Such an awful loss should justly be addressed by our laws, which is why New Hampshire adopted laws in the 1990s to provide enhanced felony punishments for assaults resulting in the loss of a wanted pregnancy. Thanks to current state law, a person who “purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth” faces up to 15 years in prison.

While SB 66 includes an exception to abortion, it states that purposely or negligently harming a fetus is punishable. Since abortion is the purposeful termination of a fetus, the implications of SB 66 would weaken access to abortion and leave a woman and her physician vulnerable to felony prosecution.

SB 66 isn’t about seeking justice for women, it’s about regulating their behavior.

When legislators meet on Tuesday on SB 66, they should legislate on facts and sound policy, not emotion.

Bruce Freeman and David Rosso