Critics: Bill would have let abortion-seekers kill anyone
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 24, 2017,
Jun 24, 2017, 2:26
Sloppy writing and vague language recently landed some state legislators in New England in hot water.
That bill allows a person who caused the death of a fetus of up to 20 weeks to be charged with homicide or manslaughter under New Hampshire law.
Lawmakers in New Hampshire voted this week to close a loophole in a Republican "fetal homicide" bill after they realized its wording accidentally allowed pregnant women in the state to commit murder with impunity.
Both the House and Senate had to pass the bill again on Thursday in order to correct a problem that was discovered while it was being prepared for the governor's signature.
Nonetheless, in the drafting of the bill, the authors had allowed for a carve-out or exemption from charges for "any act committed by the pregnant woman in cases of second-degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or causing or aiding suicide".
"As with any legislation, there may be unintended consequences found later, or maybe adjudicated through the courts", he said. "That was not the intent", New Hampshire Public Radio reported state House Majority Leader Dick Hinch said in remarks delivered on the House floor. Slate reports more than half of states - 38 in total - now have a feticide law of some kind. As BuzzFeed notes, the provision protecting women was included to appease those fears and protect abortion rights. Legal experts explained that it is highly unlikely that this law could successfully be used in court to protect a pregnant woman who chose to murder someone.
To address those concerns, lawmakers included an exemption to the bill that would have protected doctors or women who lose the pregnancy as a result of incidences such as an assault or a vehicle accident.