New Hampshire Abortion: Lawmakers Adopt 24-Hour Waiting Period

The Republican-controlled New Hampshire House of Representatives Tuesday adopted a measure placing a 24-hour waiting period on abortions as part of a business tax credit bill.

The House passed the measure, attaching the "Women's Right to Know Act," toward the end of Tuesday's session in an effort to push the abortion bill out of the Legislature during the 2012 session. The bill, which extends the state's research and development tax credit program, passed the Senate in March, then the abortion measure was tacked on in a House committee. Lawmakers feel that the abortion measure -- which failed in the Senate earlier this year -- will ultimately kill the complete bill.

"What we have done is take a good piece of fiscal legislation and condemn the legislation to death on the other side of the wall," a Democratic lawmaker said of the bill. "We've hijacked the bill."

The abortion provision specifies a series of steps a doctor must take 24 hours before an abortion is scheduled. They include informing the woman which doctor will perform the abortion and informing her of medical complications that could result following the abortion. The complications mentioned in the bill include risk of infection, hemorrhages, tearing of uterine lining and risk to future pregnancies.

The steps do not have to be outlined in the event of an abortion to save a woman's life. In the case of an emergency abortion, the doctor will have to submit paperwork to the state attesting to the fact that there was no time for the waiting period and information to be conveyed.

The tax credit sections of the bill would change the state's program by increasing the amount of total credits to a company from $1 million to $2 million a year. The section unanimously passed the Senate, but the Senate and Gov. John Lynch (D) are not expected to support the abortion measure. The New Hampshire House is largely dominated by Tea Party-affiliated legislators.

The bill passed hours after the House passed a bill that combined religious objections to contraception insurance along with constitutional convention delegates. The measure also came after House Speaker William O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon) ejected Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R-Manchester) from the chamber after Vaillancourt made a Nazi salute on the floor in protest of O'Brien. Vaillancourt later apologized to the chamber.

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