Lawmakers in New Hampshire recently passed a law that allows pregnant women to commit murder without facing any type of repercussions.
The Republican-led legislature passed a new bill this month aimed at so-called “fetal homicide” that would define a fetus as a person after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Under the law, anyone who caused the death of a fetus over 20 weeks old would be held liable for manslaughter. 38 states currently feature a similar law.
However, the language in Senate Bill 66 included notable exceptions for pregnant women who might want an abortion and their doctors. Shortly before both houses passed the bill, it was noticed that some of the language used could protect women who committed murder for any reason.
Red-faced lawmakers were forced to use a legislative maneuver meant to fix minor spelling and grammatical errors to close the loophole on Thursday. Following those changes, the Republican-led House and Senate passed the law along party lines.
It took an entire week for Republican lawmakers to realize the bill they passed had some serious wording issues. Part of the bill read, “any act committed by the pregnant woman” or their doctors would possibly be legal, even “in cases of second-degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or causing or aiding suicide.”
Legal experts note that there are other laws in place that would likely supercede the bill. The state currently has rules in place that state laws can’t be interpreted literally if they’d provoke an “absurd result.”
“The bill as drafted allows for physician-assisted suicide and allows a pregnant woman to commit homicide without consequences,” Rep. J.R. Hoell (R-Dunbarton) told the Concord Monitor on June 12. “Although that was never the intent, that is the clear reading of the language.”
New Hampshire Democrats strongly opposed the law since the very start, describing it as a “vehicle to undermine protections established by Roe v. Wade.”
The state’s House Majority Leader, Dick Hinch (R) was forced to release the following statement: “No one in this chamber voted to allow anyone to be able to murder anyone. That was not the intent.”
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