New Hampshire legislators have always been known for wanting to keep government out of citizens’ everyday lives. Yet with the 2010 election, a new group of Republican lawmakers entered the legislature, calling themselves pro-economy. But a Democratic colleague has one word for them. Swindlers.
Abortion-rights activists credit Republican House Speaker William O’Brien with the turnaround in the House by helping elect enough conservative Republicans opposed to abortion. Usually a speaker only votes to change the outcome of a bill, but O’Brien has voted for abortion bills from the speaker’s podium. His efforts also led to passage of the bill to block funding to hospitals and other health providers offering elective abortions despite a House committee’s recommendation that it be killed.
O’Brien, who calls abortion repugnant, declined a request for an interview on the issue.
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“This group of Republicans ran on jobs and the economy and as we have seen on their focus on a social agenda, they really swindled the voters. I think there are some people out there happy with it but that is a small group,” said House Democratic Leader Terie Norelli, a former NARAL board member.
The House has voted through multiple anti-choice bills this session, and four have made it through the senate committee this week: a traditional “20-week” abortion ban (20 weeks fertilization, unlike the Arizona 20 week gestational ban), a “partial-birth” abortion ban, a 24-hour waiting period, and a bill to eliminate all state funds going to any entity that provides abortions.
However, not all are expected to make it through a full senate vote. And the governor, who supports reproductive rights, may veto those that do.