After the Union Leader tricked me yesterday (corrected here), I felt compelled to share the actual remarks from Republican House Rep Marilinda Garcia, in her support to overturn the Veto on HB 1679, the ban on Partial Birth Abortion in New Hampshire.
As I should have known all along, she and I are in complete agreement about the need for this bill. Her remarks clearly outline and define why we need to pass State level protections of this nature.
She was kind enough to share those remarks with me. Now I shall share them with you.
I rise in support of the veto-override of it HB 1679 which would ban the procedure known as “partial birth” abortion from occurring in the State of NH.
The term “partial-birth” though not the medical term, which is “dilation and extraction” is perfectly accurate. Firstly because under both federal law and most state laws, a “live birth” occurs when a baby is entirely expelled from the mother and shows any signs of life, however briefly — regardless of whether the baby is “viable,” developed enough to be sustained outside the womb with neo-natal medical assistance. And secondly because it is appropriately descriptive, though gently descriptive of a procedure so barbaric and inhumane that most people are rightfully uncomfortable talking or hearing about it.
One very valid question about the necessity of this legislation, which I also asked, is if this procedure was banned federally in 2003, why is it necessary to do the same at the state level. The answer is simply that the federal ban has been declared “unconstitutional” by a number of judges: a federal district judge in CA, a NY district judge, 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, but for very varied reasons, such as, because it places an “undue burden” on women, contains “vague language”, or lacks a health exception. So it is advisable for states to craft their own laws about it, according to what is acceptable to individual states.
Another reason people cite for why this bill isn’t necessary, is because they say it isn’t done, or is extremely rare. What we do know is that partial-birth abortions are performed thousands of times annually on healthy babies of healthy mothers. Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers in 1997, was quoted in the NYTimes estimating that the method was used 3,000 to 5,000 times annually. And “In the vast majority of cases, the procedure is performed on a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along.” This number was echoed by the Alan Guttmacher Institute which compiles voluntarily reported statistics.
In NH however, it’s impossible to say conclusively because our state is one of the few that does not require compilation of statistics relative to abortions.
This bill was vetoed by the Gov because it requires that two physicians separately determine that the life of the mother is endangered by carrying the baby to term. That provision was included to ensure that a diagnosis such as “severe depression” is appropriately seconded, because the classification of “endangerment” is quite flexible. During federal testimony many such diagnoses were cited as occurring during federal testimony. The point is, federal ban was endorsed by the American Medical Association because they don’t believe the procedure is necessary, and I doubt anyone here wants this procedure to occur in this state, so let’s take this step to make sure it does not.