Excerpted from Leaven for the Loaf: The New Hampshire House voted today to concur with the Senate’s abortion insurance mandate. Following an administrative procedure known as enrollment, HB 685 will go to Governor Chris Sununu. He has not indicated whether he will sign or veto the measure.
The Governor’s office can be reached at (603) 271-2121. I’ll be asking for a veto.
HB 685 was amended by the Senate to remove its original language on a different topic, replacing it with an abortion insurance mandate. The House violated its own rules (#45-b, if anyone asks) by taking up the amended bill at all, never mind concurring with the Senate’s changes.
If HB 685 becomes law, you will be helping to subsidize abortion if you are an insurance provider covered by the bill, if you are a business owner who offers health insurance as a benefit to employees under a policy covered by this bill, and if you are an individual paying premiums for a policy covered by this bill.
Conscience rights were dismissed by the House and Senate majorities when they voted on HB 685 as amended. Will the Governor take the same approach?
Where did HB 685 come from?
The New Hampshire Senate had its own abortion insurance mandate, SB 486, that passed the Senate but never made it to the House due to the COVID-19 recess. So abortion advocates on the Senate Commerce Committee did something creative: they took an existing House bill on another subject – HB 685, relative to insurance coverage for ambulance services – and amended it to remove the original subject matter entirely and replace it with the text of SB 486.
This is what’s known as a non-germane amendment, and here’s what House rules say about that: “No amendment shall be added to any bill, resolution, joint resolution or concurrent resolution which is not germane to the subject matter of the legislative document as referred to the Committee, unless the language of the amendment has already been passed by the House in the current session or the amendment has been the subject of a duly noticed public hearing advertised in the House Calendar.”
There was no committee hearing in the House on the amended HB 685. The only House action on the amended bill was a vote on June 30 to concur with the Senate amendment.
What’s going to the Governor?
HB 685 is going to the Governor’s desk with the misleading title “relative to insurance plans that cover maternity benefits.”
The name of the law to be created by HB 685, as adopted by House and Senate, will be “Reproductive Health Parity Act of 2020” – parity, meaning treating elective abortion as a “maternity benefit.”
One must move down to the formal analysis of the bill to get to the heart of the matter: “This bill requires insurance plans which cover maternity benefits to provide coverage for emergency or elective abortion services.”