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New Hampshire Lawmaker Calls for Abortion Oversight

By Sandy Fitzgerald   |   Monday, 20 May 2013 01:32 PM

A Republican state legislator in New Hampshire is moving to impose licensing requirements and regulations on abortion clinics in the wake of the Philadelphia abortion-doctor murder trial.

State Rep. Kathleen Souza, a longtime right-to-life advocate, says legislation is needed, and some abortion-rights activists say they will not oppose state oversight for clinics and providers as long as it doesn't make it harder for women to obtain safe, legal abortions, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.

New Hapshire abortion clinics currently are unregulated, according to the newspaper, and people are concerned that they could be compared unfairly with Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic in Pennsylvania. Gosnell was convicted May 13 and sentenced to life for murdering three babies who survived illegal late-term abortions. He also was found guilty in the drug-overdose death of an abortion patient.

"Nobody [in New Hampshire] has oversight," Souza told the Union Leader, adding: "Right-to-life people have been trying to put in legislation for 20 years to require abortion clinic licensing and clinic inspections."

Abortion clinics in the state have been exempt because they are viewed as physician offices, which, Souza believes, is deliberately misleading.

Jane Munson, former medical director of the Concord Feminist Health Center, which provides abortions, said she would not oppose state oversight.

"This really highlights the need for legitimate abortion providers that adhere to standards and have a safe environment, which we do," Munson said of the Gosnell case. "There is no way anything even remotely like [Gosnell] could happen here."

But Munson made it clear she would oppose regulations aimed at restricting abortions.

"That's the latest tactic of anti-abortion groups," Munson said. "This man (Gosnell) is an outlier. He is a criminal. He is not representative of abortion providers in New Hampshire and legitimate abortion providers nationwide."


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