Pregnant Women in New Hampshire Almost Got to Murder Freely ... Due to Grammatical Error

pregnant belly
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Every hormonal mom-to-be's dream almost came true in New Hampshire recently when a bill was nearly passed that would have allowed pregnant women to legally commit murder ... with no consequences. But don't start planning your homicidal spree just yet: As appealing an idea as this might be (particularly if you've just lost a seat on the subway to a manspreader or been asked whether you're carrying twins when you're definitely not), the barbaric proposal turned out to be nothing more than a clerical error on the part of state legislators -- an error which caused some confusion, nonetheless.

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The bill in question, Senate Bill 66, was cleared by Republican lawmakers in both the House and the Senate, and would define a fetus as a person after 20 weeks in the case of a homicide. These so-called "fetal homicide laws" exist in 38 states and ostensibly function to protect pregnant women and their unborn children (because a fetus could be considered a victim of manslaughter), but opponents argue that they threaten women's reproductive rights by giving a fetus legal protection. In addition, New Hampshire Democrats felt this bill was pointless because there's already a statute in place enhancing felony penalties when a crime against a pregnant woman results in miscarriage or stillbirth.

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In an effort to appease detractors of the bill, Republicans added some amendments making sure that abortion doctors and women seeking abortions wouldn't be prosecuted. So far so good -- except, here's the wording they used:

"Any act committed by the pregnant woman: Any act committed at the request or direction of the pregnant woman or for the benefit of the pregnant woman," and any act committed by a doctor wouldn't apply "in cases of second-degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, or causing or aiding suicide."

Granted, that paragraph is a little confusing, but basically it translates to this: Any pregnant woman can commit pretty much any kind of murder and it would be totally cool. Or, as Republican Rep. JR Hoell explained it to the Concord Monitor:

"The bill as drafted allows for physician-assisted suicide and allows a pregnant woman to commit homicide without consequences."

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Kinda sounds like the plot of a twisted post-apocalyptic horror movie ... a twisted post-apocalyptic horror movie we really wanna see, that is. But it was not to be: Rational minds prevailed, and the passage's pro-murder subtext was fixed. The bill has since been sent to Republican governor Chris Sununu, who will likely sign it into law.

So strangers who reach out to touch pregnant women's bellies are safe once again in New Hampshire ... at least until the next careless copyediting mistake.

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