Senate Judiciary Republicans Keep Harmful Anti-Family Legislation In Play
Contact Name: Marina Altschiller
Phone: (603) 271-3207
CONCORD – Today, the Republican majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to re-refer HB 233, a bill to criminalize healthcare providers and limit the rights of grieving parents by legislating personal medical decisions. The re-referral recommendation will keep the bill in the Committee’s hands and keep it open for future amendment.
After the vote, Senate Judiciary members Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton) and Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) and Deputy Senate Democratic Leader Senator Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) issued the following statement:
“I am disappointed in my Republican colleagues’ action to keep HB 233 in play today. This bill was brought forward on the false premise that infants are being left to die by medical professionals in New Hampshire, which is of course already illegal and as we heard repeatedly, is not the case,” stated Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton). “The real purpose of this bill is to insert politics into the most private and painful moments of a person’s life—the precious few moments they have with their infant who will not survive. This bill would force healthcare providers to perform futile lifesaving measures on an infant, including invasive procedures, despite there being no chance at survival. This bill is not about fixing a problem here in New Hampshire. This is about legislators presuming to know better than doctors what is best for women, infants, and their families. Decisions made in the face of unthinkably tragic circumstances when an infant is not going to survive should be private, and should recognize that no two pregnancies are ever the same. These decisions are not for us to legislate and there are no changes that can be made to this legislation to make it right for New Hampshire.”
Senator Jay Kahn (D-Keene) added, “This bill inserts unnecessary pain and strife into situations that are already devastating for parents with infants who are born pre-viability, or with a fatal fetal diagnosis. We heard heartbreaking stories at the hearing for this bill—stories from grieving mothers who wanted nothing more than to bring a healthy child into this world, stories from medical providers who have made decisions with families in the hardest moments of their lives. Requiring healthcare providers to perform procedures like inserting breathing tubes and IVs into a baby who cannot survive is not only traumatic and needlessly cruel, it prevents parents from spending whatever time they can with their infant before they die. Decisions made in these moments are the most private we will ever have to make, and the legislature should have no say in those conversations. We need to trust women to make their own healthcare choices, and we need to trust medical professionals to treat their patients. This bill should have been killed today, and I am disappointed it remains a vehicle for advancing this dangerous agenda.”
Deputy Senate Democratic Leader Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) added, “The hearing on HB 233 was one of the most difficult the legislature has heard. I once again want to thank the women, families, and healthcare providers who shared incredibly personal, painful stories with us to help us understand just how harmful this legislation is. We need to roll back the harmful presumption that we as legislators know better than medical providers how to treat their patients. There is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter pregnancy, and to legislate in this way is not only irresponsible, it is dangerous. I hope that when this bill comes before the full Senate, empathy and common sense will prevail and we will vote to overturn the motion of Re-refer in order to ITL this legislation.”