By Dave Andrusko
Two years ago an unborn victims of violence bill easily passed both the New Hampshire House and Senate only to be vetoed by then-Gov. John Lynch. Freshman state Rep. Leon Rideout, whose daughter lost her unborn baby in a traffic accident last June, said he will introduce a similar measure next year.
“In New Hampshire, drivers can be charged with vehicular homicide when they kill pregnant mothers, but not the babies,” the Union Leader’s Mark Hayward reported. “Rideout intends to change that. He has filed a bill that would make fetal homicide a crime — with an exception for abortions.”
Rideout’s daughter, Ashlyn Rideout, was in an accident June 4 when she was 7 ½ months pregnant. A 17-year-old boy collided with her car.
Earlier this month, the teenager was charged only with misdemeanor vehicular assault. New Hampshire State Trooper Adam Labonte told Hayward the charge stems from injuries to the 22-year-old Rideout, but not her unborn child.
A similar tragedy occurred December 7 when a crash killed a young couple and their unborn baby. The mother was eight months pregnant.
“Most people would recognize that there are two victims in crimes such as the one which cause Rep. Rideout to re-visit this issue– the mother and the unborn child,” Mary Spaulding Balch, JD, director of NRLC’s Department of State Legislation, told NRL News Today. “It is a grave injustice that because of then-Governor Lynch’s veto two years ago, in New Hampshire, there are no legal consequences for causing the death of his grandson.”
There are currently 37 states that recognize the unlawful killing of an unborn child as homicide in at least some circumstances. Twenty eight of those states recognize Unborn Children as Victims throughout the entire period of pre-natal development. (See www.nrlc.org/archive/Unborn_Victims/Statehomicidelaws092302.html.)