Fetal Homicide Law in NH?

Feb 15, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

There is a good chance the 2017 Legislature will pass an NH fetal homicide law.  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.

Governor-elect Chris Sununu, on the other hand, expressed his support for a fetal homicide law in a recent letter

Rep. Jeanine Notter has accordingly sponsored a 2017 bill to include fetuses eight weeks and older as potential victims, HB 156.  A similar bill in the Senate, SB 66, would apply to "viable fetuses." SB 66 bill recently received an ‘ought to pass’ recommendation from the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Although fetal homicide laws are written to exclude legal abortions, opponents argue that the laws are a backdoor way to give fetuses the same rights as people.  Broadly written fetal homicide laws may even be used to prosecute mothers for behavior that leads to miscarriage. 

Supporters of fetal homicide laws argue that unborn children can absolutely be the victims of murder.  They point to cases such as the brutal attack on Michelle Wilkins in Colorado, whose baby was cut from her stomach and left for dead in a bathtub. 

Current law does allow harsher penalties if a fetus dies during a crime, although separate murder charges are not possible.

Do you support a fetal homicide law in New Hampshire?  Let us know in the comments.

UPDATE: Read our Citizen Voices℠ report and find out where New Hampshire stands on this issue.

 

Comments

Jo Kula
- Manchester

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 2:42pm

Fetuses should absolutely have the same rights as born people ..like it or not they are living just as any other ,anyone who disputes such to be reality is just in denial, welcoming ignorance, finding comfort to being numb, and truly goes through this life with a heartless soul .

Patricia Howe
- Northfield

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 5:33am

Yes, I support a fetal homicide law.

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