Fetal Homicide

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A contentious debate Thursday at the Statehouse revolved around pregnant women being allowed to murder people. This strange line of debate had to do with a possible mistake in a proposal that was passed earlier this month.

NHPR Staff

Lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that defines a fetus as a person in cases of homicide.  Under the new legislation, a person who caused the death of a fetus that has reached 20 weeks could be charged with homicide or manslaughter.

NHPR Staff

House lawmakers will debate a bill Thursday that would define a fetus as a person in cases of homicide.

The Republican-backed bill has already cleared the state Senate, and if it passes the House, it goes to Governor Chris Sununu, who says he will sign it into law.

Update: 12:55 PM:

This bill has passed the New Hampshire House by a vote of 186-170. We will continue to update this story.

--

The New Hampshire House votes Thursday on a bill that would allow fetuses older than twenty weeks to be considered people in cases involving murder, manslaughter and negligent homicide. The debate over what are often called fetal homicide laws isn’t a new one in Concord, but with Republicans controlling the legislature and the governor's office, this year the bill is expected to become law.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire House has again voted to make fetal homicide a crime.

Lawmakers voted 193-159 on Wednesday to amend the Senate’s version, which applies the law to fetuses which have reached the stage of viability.  

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

Senators have joined the House in supporting efforts to create a crime of fetal homicide, which would allow charges to be brought for the death of a fetus in certain cases, excluding abortion or other medical procedures.  

Thirty eight states have some type of fetal homicide law. The version passed by senators Thursday applies the death of a fetus that has reached the stage of viability - when it can live outside the womb. A House version passed Wednesday applies the law to fetuses past eight weeks of development. 

NHPR

The New Hampshire House backed a measure to put fetal homicide on the state’s books.

The bill, which was approved 208 to 155, would allow prosecutors to charge anyone in the death of a fetus over eight weeks.

To the bill’s lead sponsor, Republican Leon Rideout of Lancaster, this issue is personal. Nearly two years ago his daughter was seven and a half months pregnant when a driver ran a stop sign and struck her car – ending her pregnancy.

N.H. Governor's Veto Of Fetal Homicide Bill Stands

Jun 27, 2012

New Hampshire's House has failed to override Gov. John Lynch's veto of a bill that expanded the state's homicide law to include causing the death of a fetus.

The majority of North Country representatives voted for a bill that would allow murder charges for causing the death of a fetus more than eight weeks old.

As the Associated Press reported:

“Both the House and Senate had voted in favor of charging someone with first-degree murder, second-degree-murder or negligent homicide for causing a pregnant woman to lose her fetus, but they disagreed over when the bill should apply. The House originally wanted to apply the bill to fetal deaths after 24 weeks of pregnancy while the Senate set the threshold at eight weeks.