Republicans Flex Majority Muscle In Votes On Abortion, Gun Rights, Religious Liberty

Republicans Flex Majority Muscle In Votes On Abortion, Gun Rights, Religious Liberty

In a series of party-line votes Tuesday, Republican lawmakers on a key Senate committee pushed through a range of conservative policy priorities, from limiting abortion rights, to expanding religious liberties, to broadening gun rights. While the bills approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee have a ways to go before becoming law, Tuesday’s votes were a stark illustration of the willingness of the Legislature’s new Republican majority to advance conservative proposals that had failed in previous years, even under earlier eras of GOP control in the State House. Democrats on the committee, while lacking the votes to stall the bills’ progress, largely decried the measures as extreme and out of keeping with public sentiment. The partisan divide was perhaps strongest on a bill that would outlaw abortions after 24 weeks into a pregnancy, except in cases where the mother’s life was at risk. Doctors who perform abortions after that point could be charged with a felony and subject to prison time. Sen. Becky Whitley of Hopkinton argued the bill was extreme, and more in keeping with the national debate over abortion than with New Hampshire’s longstanding tolerance of abortion rights. “I think it’s particularly extreme and troubling because of its very limited exceptions, including for the health of the fetus, and none for instances of rape of incest,” Whitley said. “That takes my breath away.” Republican Sen. Sharon Carson of Londonderry, who chairs the committee, noted that gestational limits on abortion rights have been debated before, and that the desire […]

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