New Hampshire legislature has been in a tizzy due to a recent law passed by Senate Republicans regarding fetal homicide.
The bill, Senate Resolution 66, was created to protect fetuses 20 weeks and older from violence. For example, a fetus killed during a car accident would have the same rights as a person killed during a car accident.
Many people worry that the bill affects women’s reproductive rights by treating fetuses as people, but that was just one of the many problems with this bill. The main problem was the bill’s language.
The bill explicitly states that any act committed by a pregnant woman would not be considered manslaughter, second-degree murder, negligent homicide, or aiding suicide.
In layman’s terms, it means that pregnant women would not be charged for any act of murder. Republican lawmakers did not catch the error until the bill had already been passed.
The New Hampshire Majority House Leader spoke out and said the intent of the bill was not to allow pregnant women to kill anybody.
The House has acknowledged the oversight and has since voted to change the language in the bill and correct any mistakes.
Once the bill has been corrected, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu will sign the bill into law.
The language in the bill is fairly vague, and that would cause a host of problems for the courts in the future. Lawyers interpret laws as they are written, and vague language could be a potential loophole that can acquit a pregnant woman of a crime.
New Hampshire House Democrats were already railing against the bill claiming that it further undermined advancements made by Roe vs. Wade. The state already had laws in place that protected fetuses from death.
They wanted to schedule a hearing for the bill before its approval, but House Republicans moved swiftly and the bill was presented to the governor in late June.