Jun 18, 2015 2:45 PM

Landrigan: Fetal homicide bill bid collapses with NH House-Senate impasse


The campaign for New Hampshire to join 38 other states that define an unborn fetus as a person under criminal law collapsed today after House and Senate negotiators could not agree on a compromise.

The bill’s prime author, Lancaster Republican State Rep. Leon Rideout, said he was willing to meet the State Senate "more than halfway’’ but rejected its final offer.

The House had endorsed Rideout’s bill defining a fetus as being at least eight weeks old.

The Senate countered with protecting fetuses once they have reached viability, the standard in the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortions up until that point.

Rideout presented a proposal today which added viability was defined as a child that could live or outside the womb "with or without medical assistance.’’

Rideout said the original Senate language was far too vague and could subject the parents of that unborn child to have to have an autopsy performed and then fight in court over whether that fetus could have survived.

"I’m really disappointed that we can’t get this done with a Republican House and a Republican Senate,’’ Rideout told NH1 News.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said the final offer the Senate made today was the only way to hold the 13-11 majority the Senate had in passing its own measure.

The issue will surely return next year as a House committee has to act late this fall on another fetal homicide measure that then comes back to the House early in 2016.


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