In today’s edition of “Our Government Sure Is Wild,” New Hampshire lawmakers almost made it legal for pregnant women to kill people without consequences. They were trying to pass the Republican led Senate Bill 66, which would legally classify a fetus as a person at 20 weeks, meaning that any attempts on the life of that fetus could legally result in homicide or manslaughter charger.
The bill included language intended to protect women who want abortions and the doctors who perform them from being charged with murder, but it was written so vaguely that some argued the wording would allow pregnant women to kill anyone—not just the fetus in their uterus—without impunity.
As reported in the Concord Monitor, the bill initially stated that “any act committed by the pregnant woman wouldn’t apply in instances of second-degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or causing or aiding suicide.” Legal experts explained that it is highly unlikely that this law could successfully be used in court to protect a pregnant woman who decided to murder someone.
Nevertheless, critics of the bill pounced on this mistake in an attempt to highlight other problems they had with the bill. Democrats argued that the bill would be “a vehicle to undermine protections established by Roe v. Wade,” especially since the state already has laws that allow a mother to press charges in the event that she loses her child as a result of a criminal event.
This was the same controversial bill that prompted protesters to show up in The Handmaid’s Tale costumes and stage a funeral for reproductive rights in front of the State House in Concord. Republican House Majority Leader Dick Hinch said that “no one advocated for anyone to murder anyone, that was not the intent.”
The bill passed after the state Senators quickly changed the wording of the bill to fix the bizarre mistake. New Hampshire joins 38 other states with similar legislation on their books.