Kevin Landrigan: Abortion rights advocates win first fight in NH House
CONCORD - Abortion rights supporters won the first policy battle in the New Hampshire House of Representatives today.
The 246-104 sent to the trash heap a controversial bill to define life as beginning at conception.
The conservative House Republican Alliance had urged colleagues in the majority party to overturn the finding of the House Judiciary Committee and pass the bill.
State Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, said the bill is a simple statement that signifies the medical reality that studies show signs of life almost instantly after the fertilization of the sperm and the egg.
"It's really a simple bill but a powerful statement,'' Hoell said.
But Rep. Robert Rowe, R-Amherst, an anti-abortion legislator, urged the House kill the bill because it would be unconstitutional.
"As a person, it saddens me to accept the committee's recommendation but as chairman of this committee I have to urge you to agree,'' Rowe said.
"Like it or not, Roe vs. Wade is the law of the land.''
After the vote, Rep. Kathleen Souza, R-Manchester, charged that abortion rights advocates deliberately misled about the impact of the bill maintaining it would make illegal some forms of contraception and in vitro fertilization.
This is only the first of many bills on abortion the House will deal with.
Earlier this week, a different House panel took testimony on legislation to outlaw public financing of abortion and another to repeal the state's one-year-old buffer zone around abortion clinics.