New Hampshire recently passed a law that defined a fetus as a person at 20 weeks of pregnancy. As I’ve written about and testified before, this 20 week mark is based on bad science. Despite that, anyone who killed the 20 week old fetus could be charged with manslaughter.
Importantly, this bill had two crucial exceptions: doctors and pregnant women who opted for an abortion would not have to worry about any murder charges. This bill passed through the House and Senate and effectively made harming a 20 week fetus a potentially serious crime.
However, shortly after this bill was passed into a law, politicians realized that the poor and vague wording could suggest that pregnant women would be able to get away with murder.The bill originally stated that “any act committed by the pregnant woman” could be legal even “in cases of second-degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or causing or aiding suicide.”
New Hampshire lawmakers quickly assembled to fix the wording.
Republican Dick Hinch, House Majority Leader said:
“No one in this chamber voted to allow anyone to be able to murder anyone. That was not the intent.”
Republican Represenative J.R. Hoell stated:
“The bill as drafted allows for physician-assisted suicide and allows a pregnant woman to commit homicide without consequences. Although that was never the intent, that is the clear reading of the language.”
So the bill has been changed to make it clear that pregnant women do not actually have a license to kill. However, it was amusing to see Republicans rush through an anti-abortion bill so quickly that they had such a crucial oversight.