A fetal homicide bill passed the New Hampshire Republican-controlled House last week by a vote of 213 to 125. The bill would enable a person who causes the death of a fetus of more than 24 weeks to be criminally charged.

Representative Kathleen Souza (R-NH), the sponsor of the bill, stated that the bill is not intended to ban abortions, and House Speaker William O’Brien (R-NH) stated that if the bill becomes law it “could serve as a deterrence for those wishing to do harm to a pregnant woman or her baby.”

Nevertheless, Representative Stephen Shurtleff expressed his concerns that the bill would alter the definition of personhood in the state of New Hampshire. He also noted that a law already exists in the state that addresses crimes against fetuses, indicating that “The New Hampshire Legislature has already done the right thing to protect the unborn who are the victims of crime.”

National Partnership for Women and Families 1/9/12; New Hampshire Union Leader 1/4/12

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