Stateside New Hampshire: The GOP War on Women Continues

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

In the past year at the Turley Blawg, we’ve cast a spotlight on the GOP’s “war on women”—as well as on the low esteem in which some members of the Republican Party seem to hold women. (Note: At the end of this article, you’ll find links to a number of the previous Turley Blawg posts on the subject.)

In order to keep you updated on this gender war that appears to have no end in sight, I have a story out of New Hampshire that should make women who live there shudder. Members of the Republican Party have proposed legislation that would change the state’s domestic violence laws—which are said to be some of the toughest in this country.

According to the Concord Monitor, “New Hampshire has been a leader in the effort to make domestic violence a cultural taboo.” The Monitor reported that “House Bill 1581 would turn back the clock forty years to an age when a police officer could not make an arrest in a domestic violence case without first getting a warrant unless he or she actually witnessed the crime.” As the NH law now stands, the police can arrest an abuser based on probable cause.

The Concord Monitor provided a possible scenario to consider—one that was outlined for lawmakers by Tim Russell, a retired police chief from Henniker:

An officer is called to a home where she sees clear evidence that an assault has occurred. The furniture is overturned, the children are sobbing, and the face of the woman of the house is bruised and bleeding. It’s obvious who the assailant was, but the officer arrived after the assault occurred. It’s a small department, and no one else on the force is available to keep the peace until the officer finds a judge or justice of the peace to issue a warrant. The officer leaves, and the abuser renews his attack with even more ferocity, punishing his victim for having called for help.

An arrest is not mandatory when someone alleges domestic assault. Under New Hampshire law an officer must first have probable cause and corroborating evidence. Under existing law, officers have the discretion to decide when an arrest is warranted, with or without corroborating evidence, but most police departments have a policy that presumes an arrest will be made when evidence is observed.

It’s impossible to say how many lives the policy, in place since the 1970s, has saved or how many injuries it’s prevented. If they adopt House Bill 1581, lawmakers might find out, but the price paid could be extraordinarily high.

House Bill 1608 would also almost certainly cost lives. It removes judicial discretion by severely restricting when someone who has violated a domestic violence protective order can be arrested to three offenses: committing an act of abuse or an offense against the person named in the protective order, or engaging in prohibited contact.

The bill would also, law enforcement believes, remove a judge’s ability to order a defendant in a domestic violence case to relinquish weapons or prevent him or her from purchasing a gun. It would also eliminate law enforcement’s ability to arrest a defendant who threatens to use physical force against a victim or her children. All are changes that could have deadly consequences and make life more frightening for abuse victims and their families.

The Huffington Post has reported that the law enforcement community in New Hampshire—including the Department of Safety, Attorney General’s office, Chiefs of Police Association—and domestic violence workers are all “vehemently opposed” to House Bill 1608.

A number of law enforcement leaders claim that the legislation would set them back. Franklin Police Chief David Goldstein said, “It’s taken twelve years to at least get on the books what we have, which is a model for the rest of the nation. And this proposed legislation would in fact send us back to the 1970’s which in domestic violence terms would be the Stone Age.” Amanda Grady of the New Hampshire Coalition against Domestic Violence said that she had “never seen a bill so directly aimed at dismantling the domestic violence statute.” Grady added, “The passage of [these laws] will likely result in further injuries and could possibly have lethal consequences for victims and their children.”

According to New Hampshire state statistics, 38 percent of the homicides committed in 2011 were domestic violence-related—and the vast majority of the “domestic violence cases were perpetrated by men again women.”

Maggie Hassan, the Democratic candidate for governor in New Hampshire, was quoted as saying: “New Hampshire women are like citizens everywhere — they just want to be able to participate in economic and civic life. When you deny them basic health care or basic public safety protections, you really turn your back on them as citizens.”

One has to wonder why such legislation is being proposed in the Granite State.

Afterward: I do have some good news to report. It seems good judgment prevailed in New Hampshire recently when the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted 13-0 to recommend killing House Bill 1608.



Leave domestic violence laws alone (Concord Monitor)

New Hampshire Republicans Propose Bills That Prevent Police From Protecting Domestic Abuse Victims (Think Progress)

NH Republicans Back Pro-Wife Beater Laws. UPDATE: Died in Committee (Daily Kos)

New Hampshire Considers Defunding Planned Parenthood, Weakening Domestic Violence Laws (Huffington Post)

Committee Rejects Domestic Violence Bill: Bill Would Have Limited Police Enforcement Of Protective Orders (WMUR)

NH panel rejects domestic violence bill (Boston Globe/AP)

Domestic violence protections at risk (Nashua Telegraph)

House committee says kill bill limiting arrests for violations of protective orders (Union Leader)

Passing of domestic violence bills could set NH back 40 years (My Fox Boston)

From The Turley Blawg

Rape Redefined and Brought to You by Members of the US House of Representatives

The Right’s War on Women

The Right’s War on Women Continues…at the State Level

GOP Indiana Rep Warns That Women Will Fake Rapes In Order To Get Free Abortions

Roadside Rape Kit? Kansas Legislator Compares Rape To Flat Tire

Redefining When Life Begins: A Post about Personhood USA and Legislative Bills That Could Make the Use of Some Contraceptives Illegal

The GOP Continues to Wage War on Women with H. R. 358

45 thoughts on “Stateside New Hampshire: The GOP War on Women Continues”

  1. anon nurse,

    Thanks! This sounds similar to what happened with the cover-up of the sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church.

  2. Sundance Award-winning Filmmakers of “The Invisible War” Reflect on Sundance Premiere | PBS

    “Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering premiered their documentary “The Invisible War” at the Sundance Film Festival (and later won Sundance’s Audience Award: U.S. Documentary.). The film examines the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the U.S. military, the institutions that cover up its existence, and the profound personal and social consequences that arise from it.”

  3. Elaine M.
    I have no idea who/what inspired the NH GOP legislators to propose this legislation. As I wrote in my post, one has to wonder why they are doing it.
    One has to resist the urge to over-think certain things in the search for motives. It is what it is to the point of rejecting probable cause for an immediate arrest. That tells you everything you need to know about the sponsors/backers of the bill.

  4. Hey Homie,

    Sometimes there just ain’t no Justice is Justice….It’s Just US…..

  5. I guess women should be thankful the legislature isn’t proposing a medal for male perpetrators of domestic violence and jail for the victims. As the power of the “Christian” right grows and the Catholic church spends millions to lobby Congress and the courts to deny women the right to health care we will see more and more of this. Women need to stop accepting any one who supports the anti-women anti human policies no matter what they claim is the basis of their anti women stance.

  6. 38% of homicides in 2011 are domestic violence related? How many law makers in NH have experienced or knew someone that lived through (or died because of) this type of cruelty? I would NEVER EVER wish this on ANY woman-or man for that matter-but maybe it would help if they thought about their wife, sister or most of all their mother, when contemplating bills that may come under the parameters of the “war on Women!”

  7. DEL,

    You could be right….They (ALEC) looks at the cost of such laws…and believe this or not each and every bill that is introduced is supposed to have an economic portion factored into it….That is how some congressperson can say “Well the House Version will save you save you so many dollars over the”….

    Then again, sometimes entire state budgets for the lower courts are bridged on the backs of three crimes….Domestic Assault, Drunk Driving and Simple Possession of a controlled substance….They are supposed to be self funding….I can see where sometimes each and everyone of these laws are abused by someone in order to exhort control…. Unfortunately, some folks use the Domestic Assault Laws to get an upper hand in a Divorce….


    Thanks for such a great article…

  8. Blouise,

    “Bad news … good news and news that should be noted by every woman. We have to find out who authored the original bill. The name(s) need public exposure.”

    Here is some information that I didn’t include in this post:

    Committee Rejects Domestic Violence Bill
    Bill Would Have Limited Police Enforcement Of Protective Orders

    CONCORD, N.H. — Domestic violence advocates said they were relieved Wednesday when a House committee decided to kill a bill many said would weaken protections for victims.

    Dozens of people showed up to testify against HB 1608, a bill they said would weaken the role of law enforcement in arresting and detaining violators of protective orders. But lawmakers apologized to those who planned to testify when the sponsor of the bill didn’t show up for the hearing.

    Bill sponsor Rep. Skip Reilly, R-Grafton, didn’t show up last week when the bill came before the committee, telling the chairman that he would be out of town. The hearing was rescheduled to Wednesday, but Reilly again didn’t appear. He told News 9 that he wasn’t prepared to testify about the bill.

    “To have people travel great distances on two separate occasions to come here to testify and then have the prime sponsor not show up or send a surrogate, I thought that was beyond the pale,” said Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Merrimack.

  9. Susan Bruce of Blue Hampshire

    Moving to Gilead

    By my (inexact) count, there are at least 5 bills aimed at gerrymandering districts, 15 anti-education bills, 10 involving elections, 6 anti-voting, 10 anti-union, 10 anti-local control, 10 telling Congress what to do, 11 gun bills, 2 whiny men bills, and at least 10 anti-women bills. There are also plenty of nonsensical bills. More on those next time

    key quote

    The NH House is comprised of Free Staters, Teabaggers, and John Birchers, all simmering together in the least appetizing stew one could be served. Throw in a couple of outraged, old fashioned Main St. Republicans, and you’ve captured the essence of the O’Brien lead House.

    the right wingers have done a remarkable job of selling everything anti-democrat since the 2008 election. Tea-hadists spent a lot of money here and they won top to bottom.

    One of my state reps only action thus far is to support a birther bill and now that it’s been made public she won’t answer questions about it. I think sensibilty will return this election.


  10. Bad news … good news and news that should be noted by every woman. We have to find out who authored the original bill. The name(s) need public exposure.

    Is this it?

    HOUSE BILL 1581

    AN ACT relative to procedures for arrest.

    SPONSORS: Rep. Itse, Rock 9; Rep. Lambert, Hills 27

    COMMITTEE: Criminal Justice and Public Safety

    If so, Itse advocates the revival of state sovereignty in an era of otherwise expanded government through the revival of the 1798 Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, authored by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively, to permit the empowerment of individual states within the federal Union.

    And Lambert endorsed Ron Paul for the 2012 GOP nomination for president.

  11. Elaine

    Don’t know for sure but I’d guess it was some fundie nut who believe women should submit to men. I hate the bastards that abuse women. There is never any excuse.

  12. rafflaw,

    I have no idea who/what inspired the NH GOP legislators to propose this legislation. As I wrote in my post, one has to wonder why they are doing it.

  13. Elaine,
    Thanks for sharing this story. It is sad to realize that in the year 2012. women in New Hampshire must still take a back seat to men when it comes to domestic violence, at least if this proposed legislation is signed into law. The blood of any victims that may occur if this bill is accepted will be on those legislators hands who propose and vote on this bill that is not supported by the law enforcement community. Is ALEC behind this bill and if so what corporate need is furthered by wives being beaten and possibly killed?

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