Politics is rarely fun. Sometimes, though, the shenanigans of politicians can be amusing. If you need proof, just look to the good Republicans of New Hampshire. They accidentally passed a bill that would allow pregnant women, and their doctors, to kill people. They claim it was an accident, but it still has shaken up state politics.
This whole debacle began when Republicans passed a bill that would make killing a fetus “fetal homicide.” After 20 weeks of pregnancy, the unborn child would be legally be defined as a person. Similar laws are already on the books in some 38 states.
Senate Bill 66 did attempt to make some exceptions. Women who wanted abortions and their doctors could still take drastic measures. If a legal abortion were to take place, it wouldn’t violate the new law.
In that effort, though, the language got a bit muddled. It read “any act committed by the pregnant woman” would be legal, even “in cases of second-degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or causing or aiding suicide.”
It is difficult for some to see this as a simple accident. The wording seems quite specific, and based on some legal interpretations of the law, a pregnant woman could kill anyone over 20 weeks old with impunity and without consequence. Even so, many of the lawmakers who voted for Senate Bill 66 had not noticed the language. When it was brought to their attention, they scrambled to find a fix.
“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) said. “Although that was never the intent, that is the clear reading of the language.”
State Democrats were united in their opposition to the bill. They described it as a “vehicle to undermine protections established by Roe v. Wade.”
“No one in this chamber voted to allow anyone to be able to murder anyone. That was not the intent,” House Majority Leader, Dick Hinch (R), remarked from the House floor.
The situation has, allegedly, been rectified. The Senate was able to invoke a clause that allows for the correction of typographical errors to remove the offending language. The Democrats are crying foul and have asked for the bill to be debated anew. As of now, though, the matter rests with the Governor. If signed, it will go into effect in January of 2018.