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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lynch vetoes partial-birth abortion bill

CONCORD – Gov. John Lynch vetoed the bill banning late-term or so-called partial birth abortions on Friday.

In his veto message, Lynch wrote that the bill was too onerous and potentially life-threatening.

It would require that a second, independent physician verify the abortion should take place and be exempt from the ban because the mother’s life is at risk.

Since 2003, federal law has banned late-term abortions except to protect the health of the mother.

“I believe the federal law is appropriately more protective of the life of the pregnant woman,” Lynch wrote. “For all of these reasons, I have vetoed HB 1679.”

Finding a second physician to verify the woman’s medical condition could have disastrous consequences, Lynch said.

“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,” Lynch wrote.

House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, condemned Lynch’s decision.

“It is unfathomable that Governor Lynch would veto this responsible bill,” O’Brien said in a statement.

“Overriding this veto will be a priority, and I would hope that all the gubernatorial candidates of both parties will join in our efforts.”

The Legislature is expected to take up this veto and others when it returns for a one-day session on June 27.

The House of Representatives and the Senate adopted the legislation by better than the two-thirds majority vote needed to override a governor’s veto.

House Majority Leader Peter Silva, R-Nashua, said Lynch vetoed the bill because of political support from the abortion rights community.

“Once again, the governor has sided with liberal interest groups over the best interests of New Hampshire citizens,” Silva said.

During the 2012 session, O’Brien got behind more than a half dozen anti-abortion bills that cleared the House.

Among other things, they would have made women wait at least 24 hours before they could have an abortion and would ban all abortions after a 20-week pregnancy.

But the Senate killed or put off most of the measures, except for the ban on late-term abortions.

The Senate and House have also approved and sent to Lynch two minor bills, one of which would create a study committee that would explore how to compel health care providers to report annually on the number of abortions performed in the state.

The other, which has already become law, gives judicial administrators more time to decide whether a minor would have to tell a parent before having an abortion.

In 2011, the Republican-led Legislature passed over Lynch’s veto a parental notification law.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@KLandrigan).