NH Legislature Overrides Veto of Anti-Abortion Bill

The New Hampshire State House and Senate voted yesterday to overturn Governor John Lynch’s veto of a bill that would prohibit late abortions. Governor Lynch vetoed the bill earlier this month, saying it went too far. Federal law already bans late abortions, with an exception if the woman’s life is at risk. The New Hampshire bill would have additionally required two physicians from different hospitals to determine that the woman’s life is in danger in order to be exempt from the late ban.

In his veto statement, Lynch said the requirements of the bill were too stringent for a state as rural as New Hampshire. He wrote, “A physician in a rural hospital that admitted a pregnant woman with a life-threatening condition would be prohibited from proceeding with a procedure permitted by federal law, unless the physician identified another physician who was unaffiliated and who could determine and document her life-threatening condition. The lapse of time in finding that second physician and obtaining the needed referral could be significant and could result in the death of the pregnant woman.”

Both the Senate and the House voted with an over two-thirds majority to overturn the veto. Originally, the Senate voted 18 to 5 to pass the bill and 224 to 110 in the House. Lynch’s veto of three other bills, one that would have classified the death of a fetus as homicide, and two restricting voting rights, were not overturned.

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