Crime & Public Safety

CITIZEN VOICES®

Should NH pass a fetal homicide law?

Feb 15, 2017

There is a good chance the Legislature will pass an NH fetal homicide law this year.  Such a law allows prosecutors to file murder charges if a pregnant woman is the victim of a crime and her fetus does not survive. The Legislature came very close to passing a fetal homicide law in 2015 and 2016, but the House and Senate could not agree on whether the law should apply to “viable fetuses” – fetuses capable of surviving outside the womb – or fetuses eight weeks and older.  Part of the challenge was the threat of a veto from Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who was unlikely to support a broad fetal homicide bill. Read more about this issue. 

"Should NH pass a fetal homicide law?"

Discussion held on Citizens Count NH website and Facebook page Feburary 15, 2017

319 citizens responded139 citizens were in favor of passing a fetal homicide law138 citizens were opposed to passing a fetal homicide law42 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

Yes: 139 citizens were in favor of passing a fetal homicide law in New Hampshire.

  • “How could anyone possibly be opposed to punishing someone who murders another person's baby?”
  • “If a woman is pregnant and a drunk driver hits her and the unborn child dies, he or she should be charged with vehicular homicide, not just driving under the influence.”
  • “If my child were murdered, there should be punishment for it regardless of if it was before or after birth.”

No: 138 citizens were opposed to passing a fetal homicide law in New Hampshire.

  • “On its face it seems reasonable, but I can see how it's a slippery slope towards other things that could get out of control.”
  • “This only leads to women being put on trial for miscarrying.”
  • “No, unfortunately, because as long as abortion is legal if this law is passed, it would imply that the ‘fetus’ is now a baby only because the mother wants it to be. You can't have it both ways.”

Other: 42 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.

  • Uncertainty: “I am on the fence. I believe that if someone harms a woman while pregnant [they] should be held responsible but I see too many loopholes that don't necessarily protect women.”
  • Philosophical questions: “Isn't it ironic that one must jump through hoops… to adopt a cat, dog, or other animal, but any idiot can have a baby.”
  • Abortion debate: “I only believe in abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk due to the pregnancy or in cases of pregnancy caused by rape.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes. 

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Related Bill

SB 66 (2017)
Bill Status: Signed by Governor
Hearing date: Mar 22, 2017

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