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N.H. House Advances Bill To Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy, Rejects Refusal Measure

N.H. House Advances Bill To Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy, Rejects Refusal Measure

April 2, 2012 — The New Hampshire House last week voted 190-109 to approve a bill (HB 1660) that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the AP/Boston Globe reports. The bill is one of a series of abortion restrictions sent to the Senate in the past few weeks.

The bill would subject doctors to felony charges, with penalties of up to 15 years in prison, for violations of its provisions. Exceptions to the 20-week ban would be allowed to save the life of the woman or prevent significant, irreversible harm to a major bodily function. According to the AP/Globe, the bill also states that abortion would be allowed after 20 weeks to save the life of the fetus.

State Rep. Lucy Weber (D), who urged lawmakers to reject the bill, said the measure does not make sense in allowing exemptions to save the life of the fetus.

State Rep. Kathleen Souza (R), a supporter of the bill, claimed that fetuses could feel pain at 20 weeks. Weber disagreed, adding that the medical community also disputes the theory.

Refusal Measure Rejected

The House also voted 238-59 to reject a bill (HB 1653) that would have allowed health care providers to refuse to provide services involving abortion; assisted reproduction, including artificial insemination; contraception; sterilization; and embryonic stem cell research, the AP/Globe reports. The vote effectively ends the measure's chances of passage (Love, AP/Boston Globe, 3/29).