Kevin Landrigan: Abortion rights advocate win another one
CONCORD - For abortion rights advocates, life with the Republicans in charge hasn't been so bad after all.
For the second time in two weeks, the GOP-led House rejected a move to restrict abortion rights, the latest to place a ban on using any taxpayer dollars to support groups that perform the procedure.
Federal law prevents taxpayer dollars paying for abortions.
But supporters of this bill clearly want to turn off the government money spigot for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and other groups.
Rep. Warren Groen, R-Rochester, charged Planned Parenthood was using accounting gimmicks to disguise how much of their services are to abort fetuses.
"It's slippery accounting, no doubt in my mind,'' Groen charged.
But Rep. Charlene Takesian, R-Pelham, said only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood money was spent on abortions two years ago and 6 percent last year.
"There is no public money that's allowed to go to abortion. This is about putting Planned Parenthood out of business,'' she said.
The House voted to reject the ban, 216-142.
This follows another win for pro-choice forces when the House by an even more lopsided margin killed a bill to define life at the point of conception.
Two years ago when Republicans were last in charge of the New Hampshire House, they passed state laws requiring minor girls notify a parent before an abortion and one that outlawed late-term abortions.
At that time, the GOP had a 3-1 majority in both branches of the Legislature, embolding its leaders to pass such bills knowing that then-Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, could not block them with a veto.
Gov. Maggie Hassan, an Exeter Democrat and abortion rights advocate, is playing defense but the GOP lacks the numbers for the next two years to sustain any veto on abortion.