Bills aimed at protecting born-alive aborted babies, barring dismemberment abortions rejected in New Hampshire

Anti-abortion supporters listen to speeches at the National March for Life rally in Washington D.C. on Jan. 22, 2016.Reuters

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee rejected on Feb. 2 two pro-life bills that would require abortionists to provide medical care to born-alive infant and prohibit dismemberment abortions in the state.

House Bill 1627, otherwise known as the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act," would mandate all doctors performing abortions to "take all medically appropriate and reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of a born-alive infant."

It said if an abortion performed in an hospital results in a live birth, the physician will give immediate medical care to the infant, tell the mother about the live birth and transfer the baby to an on-duty or emergency care physician.

"Any born-alive infant including one born in the course of an abortion procedure shall be treated as a legal person under the laws of New Hampshire, with the same rights to medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment, and birth and death. If death occurs, certificates shall be issued accordingly," the bill read.

The bill added that "any physician, nurse, or other health care provider who intentionally, knowingly, or negligently fails to provide medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment to a born-alive infant in the course of an abortion shall be guilty of a class B felon."

However, the committee voted 9-7 to reject the bill.

According to the bill's supporters, medical personnel should do everything to save the baby.

"There should be a reasonable way to have some amount of protection for those who survive the sentence of abortion," said Republican Rep. Kurt Wuelper, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

But Republican Rep. Charlene Takesian said, "We should not be legislating medical procedures from here."

Opponents said the bill would prosecute doctors under very vague concepts and interfere with patient-doctor relationship.

The committee also rejected House Bill 1560 that would ban dismemberment abortion, defined by the measure as "knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp a portion of the unborn child's body in order to cut or rip it off."

Those who support the ban said the procedure is not different from partial birth abortions prohibited in many states.

"We have the technology well within our means to do these executions in a humane way," Wuelper said.

Opponents said there are only two states that have existing bans on dismemberment abortions, and appeals courts have issued injunctions against these laws.