Governor Lynch Vetoed HB 217 which would have allowed prosecutors to apply the state’s homicide statutes, from murder to negligent homicide, to people who cause the death of a fetus eight weeks or older. Under current New Hampshire criminal law, a person may be prosecuted for intentionally, negligently or recklessly causing the death of a fetus only if the fetus was first born alive.
In his veto message, the Governor said “Medical experts believe that approximately one out of four pregnancies ends in miscarriage by the end of 8 weeks. I am concerned that HB 217 would allow for a murder prosecution relative to an 8-week old fetus when there is a one in four possibility that the pregnancy would not go to term. That is why I believe that any criminal liability for the death of the fetus should be based upon ‘viability’ which is not rigidly tied to a certain number of weeks following conception”.