Honorable Chairman and members of the House Judiciary Committee,
I’m Dr Amy Paris, a NH native and OBGYN taking care of the women of NH for four years. I strongly support both HB1673 and HB1674, but I can’t be in person at the hearing because I will be in surgery. Please include the following as a part of the public record.
As an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, born in Manchester, raised in Hooksett, and now practicing in Lebanon, NH, I understand that every Granite Stater should have access to the health care they need - including abortion - without government interference.
Let me tell you about a couple, patients of mine. Newly married in their late 30s, their prayers were answered when they were able to get pregnant right away. Everything seemed to be going perfectly with the pregnancy until the ultrasound at 20 weeks. This is the big one every couple looks forward to, when they get to see 3D images of their baby and learn the gender. Only for this couple, the news was not good. The bag of water was nearly empty and the baby was smaller than she should have been. After visits with a team of specialists and undergoing an amniocentesis, the couple learned of their baby’s poor prognosis: she would either die before being born, or shortly after birth. This couple found themselves faced with a terrible decision, which they were able to get through with the support of their loved ones and the care of their doctors.
Although abortions later in pregnancy are rare (just 1.2% of abortions are performed at or after 21 weeks), these frequently occur after a couple learns information about their pregnancy that was not able to be learned earlier in pregnancy. In these complex and often devastating situations, it is more important than ever for patients to get the care from their trusted medical team close to home. We shouldn’t have to send Granite Staters to Boston or New York to get the care they need when we are perfectly equipped to provide patients health care they need right here. But without New Hampshire solutions, people in need of abortion care - at any stage of pregnancy - might be forced to leave New Hampshire, if they can afford it.
We are in a crisis moment in our country - nearly half a century of legal precedent is about to be upended at the US Supreme Court. We need New Hampshire solutions to protect and expand access to abortion care.
We’ve seen what happens when politicians stand in the way of women’s health and interfere in these deeply personal medical decisions. In states that have passed laws like this, some women and their families have been put into unimaginable situations — needing to end a pregnancy, but unable to do so.
I and my physician colleagues support access to safe abortion as an integral component of reproductive health care. New Hampshire has a strong tradition of supporting the doctor-patient relationship without interference, and these bills give us an opportunity to further this tradition.
I strongly urge you to support HB1673 and HB1674.
Amy E. Paris, MD, MS