CONCORD – Dana Pierce from Yarmouth, Maine, said she paid $ 25,000 and traveled across the country for an abortion after finding out, 32 weeks into her pregnancy, that her son Cameron had a rare disease that would prevent it from surviving outside the womb.
That’s because Maine has a law similar to two bills that the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee took on Tuesday (HB 1622 and HB 1625) which would impose criminal penalties on physicians who perform late abortions unless they are necessary to protect the health of the mother.
“In short, Cameron was actively in pain and facing death from suffocation if he managed to survive to term and childbirth,” said Pierce, who was also diagnosed with lethal cell dysplasia, a disorder severe bone growth. “I thought I wouldn’t let my son suffer any longer than he already had.
The two bills taken on Tuesday would expose doctors to Class B felony charges if they performed an elective abortion after the fetus was 24 weeks old, unless it was to protect the mother’s health.
Sponsors chose this period because some experts consider 24 weeks to be synonymous with viability, the standard the U.S. Supreme Court set in its landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade decision, which allowed women to have abortions before they were born. the fetus does not reach this stage.
Dr Sarah Bascle of the Women’s Wellness and Fertility Center at Catholic Medical Center said many mothers who develop complications are quickly moved to childbirth.
“A 24 week abortion ban is not a restriction based on current practice,” Bascle said.
But Lebanon’s obstetrician / gynecologist Dr Shilpa Darivemula said the legislation would turn criminals into healthcare providers working with families facing tragic and terrible news about an unborn child.
“When people have late abortions, it’s often not their choice; these are fetal complications that affect their life as mothers. They created cradles, homes and dreams, ”Darivemula said. “These are people who already see themselves as parents.”
Bills seek to comply with Casey
State Representative Walt Stapleton, R-Claremont, said both bills were in line with the 1992 court ruling in Planned Parenthood vs Casey which stated that states could restrict abortions after viability as long as there was an exception regarding maternal health.
“For too long, New Hampshire has been one of the few states in the country to allow abortion at any time for any reason,” said Althea Ansah, 21, of Hooksett, president of the Students for chapter. Life of the University. from New Hampshire.
Jeanne Hruska, political director of the American Civil Liberties Union in New Hampshire, said the bills did not make an exception for victims of rape and incest.
“I urge this committee to identify the problem that this legislation is trying to solve,” Hruska said.
Since Roe vs. Wade, New Hampshire House has frequently rejected anti-abortion bills even when under Republican control.
In one of the few exceptions to this trend, the legislature passed a parental notification law in 2003.
After the United States Supreme Court declared the women’s health exception in this law flawed, the Democratic-led legislature repealed it in 2007. The GOP-led legislature put it back in the books in modified form four years later.
That same House panel on Tuesday afternoon passed a bill to remove the ban on anyone demonstrating on the sidewalk outside an abortion clinic (HB 430).