Last updated on February 8th, 2024 at 05:12 am
The state of New Hampshire has rejected a proposal to enshrine the right to abortion in its constitution. Despite gaining narrow majority support (193-184), the proposed amendment fell short of the three-fifths House majority required to proceed. All Democrats voted for the proposal, while most Republicans voted against, though seven voted for it.
Rep. Amanda Toll, a Democrat who recently gave birth, led the push for the inclusion of guaranteed “fundamental right to abortion” up to 24 weeks of pregnancy in the constitution, and after 24 weeks if a doctor deems it “necessary.” Ironically, the bill she championed would legally sanction the termination of pregnancies corresponding to her newborn daughter’s age.
Opponents of the amendment argued that its language was overly broad. They said that the provision for “medically necessary” abortions might be defined loosely enough to permit unlimited access to abortions up to birth for almost any reason, meaning perfectly healthy babies capable of surviving outside of the womb could be aborted if, for instance, the mother says that the baby would be a “psychological burden” to her, which would constitute the “medical necessity” as grounds for abortion.
Opponents such as Republican Rep. Katelyn Kuttab pointed out the possible implications of such a vague phrase, while others like Jason Hennessey of New Hampshire Right To Life raised concerns about potential coercion in abortions.