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N.H. Legislature Overrides Veto on Abortion Procedure Ban, Falls Short on 'Fetal Homicide' Measure

N.H. Legislature Overrides Veto on Abortion Procedure Ban, Falls Short on 'Fetal Homicide' Measure

June 29, 2012 — The New Hampshire Legislature on Wednesday voted to override Gov. John Lynch's (D) veto of legislation (HB 1679) that would prohibit so-called "partial-birth" abortion, but lawmakers failed to override a veto of a bill (HB 217) that would establish a crime of fetal homicide, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports (New Hampshire Union Leader, 6/27).

Under HB 1679, which takes effect Jan. 1, doctors could be charged with a felony and face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison for performing the procedure, which already is prohibited by a federal law (Landrigan, Nashua Telegraph, 6/28).

The bill allows exceptions only after a physician has confirmed that a woman's life would be threatened by continuing the pregnancy and a second doctor -- with no legal or financial ties to the first doctor -- has confirmed the diagnosis. In vetoing the bill, Lynch said he was satisfied with the federal law and concerned that the additional requirements in the New Hampshire bill could jeopardize a woman's life in an emergency (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/19).

'Fetal Homicide' Vote Falls Short

The House fell short of the two-thirds majority required to override Lynch's veto of HB 217, which would have expanded the state's homicide law to allow for charges ranging from murder to negligent homicide for causing the death of a fetus after eight weeks of gestation.

In his veto, Lynch said the bill should only apply to a "viable" fetus (New Hampshire Union Leader, 6/27).