New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee Further Delays Action on Legislation that Would Dictate How Families Grieve Infant Loss
For Immediate Release: Dec. 14, 2021
CONCORD - On Tuesday, December 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 “Ought to Pass as Amended” on HB 233, which would now establish a study committee on a cruel provision to dictate and restrict care in unfortunate situations where families are faced with complicated and tragic decisions related to pregnancy complications, early labor, or a fatal fetal diagnosis. HB 233 had been retained for further study and the Committee recommendation will go before the full state Senate in January.
Statement from Liz Canada, Advocacy Manager for Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“The majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee should have put an end to this cruel bill. HB 233 has already been thoroughly studied by doctors, faith leaders, and families who overwhelmingly issued their opposition during the hearing because this legislation will harm grieving families who want to spend their last moments with their newborns and interfere with a doctor's ability to provide the most appropriate - and compassionate - care for the family.
We should all agree families deserve the choice to introduce their newborn to older siblings, to have their child baptized, and to hold their child in their arms as they pass away. And we should all be focused on supporting families in these difficult times - not demonizing them.
The Legislature has already spent more time on this cruel legislation than it deserves; a study committee won’t change the fact that this legislation is deeply flawed and will harm real families experiencing the worst moment of their lives. The full Senate must immediately reject the Committee recommendation and vote Inexpedient to Legislate on HB 233 and the Governor must condemn this legislation.”
Excerpts from Testimony Opposing HB 233:
Nancy from NH: “Those minutes with him are the only memory I have of him and I cannot begin to describe to you what those moments have done for my emotional and mental healing. I am forever grateful that the medical providers listened to me and my husband and ensured we had the time to spend with Sawyer and make that sweet memory that helps me get through every single day. A wise pastor once told me that the greatest pain one could ever experience is the loss of a child.”
Laura from NH: “When she was born, we saw her eyes were still fused shut. We knew that meant we only had a small amount of time with her. The staff cleaned, weighed, and measured her. They swaddled her in a blanket and gave her to my husband and me to hold. The staff also took pictures of her and we took some as well. Her heart stopped beating approximately 40 minutes after her birth. We were so grateful to be able to hold, hug, and protect our precious little daughter for the time she had.”
Medical professionals oppose HB 233:
The medical community -- including the New Hampshire Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association -- opposes HB 233. Click here to read their testimony opposing this bill.
Dr. Oge Young, a retired New Hampshire obstetrician-gynecologist, recently penned an op-ed, titled “Born Alive” bill does not protect anyone”: “If it becomes law, doctors would be forced to take these nonviable babies from their parents and make futile efforts to save a baby they cannot save. The statute would deny families in these tragic situations the small amount of time they have to hold their babies. Physicians might be charged with a serious crime, while providing love and empathy, and appropriate hospice care.”
HB 233’s harmful impact on providers and patients:
While the intent of this inflammatory bill is to drive a false narrative about reproductive health care, HB 233 could cause real harm to providers and patients. HB 233 interferes with doctors’ ability to provide the care, such as neonatal hospice, that is most appropriate for families with a newborn that has a fatal diagnosis by threatening them with a minimum of 7 ½ years imprisonment.
As expressed in Rev. Heath’s oped, HB 233 could deny families who are grieving the loss of their child the ability to choose the compassionate care that’s best for them, such as religious rites and sacraments. Instead, the bill could force parents to have their infant undergo invasive and futile medical procedures. Families deserve to be able to decide what is best for them in these situations.
In addition to creating a chilling effect on the patient-provider relationship, this bill pits health care providers against one another. HB 233 requires that providers take all actions to extend the newborn’s life, regardless of any fatal diagnosis. Any disagreement among providers in what is deemed “medically appropriate” could result in a colleague filing a report with law enforcement, with a threat of a minimum of 7 ½ years imprisonment.
HB 233’s false claims:
HB 233 would impact tragic situations where the newborn will not survive, including early labor or a fatal fetal diagnosis. HB 233 is not an abortion bill.
HB 233, a so-called “born alive” bill based on model legislation from out-of-state interests, pushes a false narrative about reproductive health care for political purposes. Doctors do not commit infanticide. It does not happen. Harm to anyone, including a newborn, is already illegal. Suggesting otherwise is inflammatory and insulting to medical providers.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and young people across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. In 2019, we saw more than 13,000 patients at these sites.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. The Action Fund makes independent expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to targeted candidates for public office. PPNHAF maintains a separate, segregated political committee and fund to make direct campaign contributions to endorsed candidates (the PAC).