HB 1181: allowing the biological father of an unborn child to petition the court for an injunction prohibiting the biological mother from having an abortion.
Committee: House Judiciary
Date: February 9, 2022
HB1181 is one of the most extreme attacks on abortion and bodily autonomy in the country. This bill would allow any man, without needing to prove paternity prior, to file a petition to the court, immediately prohibiting a pregnant woman from having an abortion. The legal process could take up to a month to conclude, prohibiting the woman from accessing abortion during that entire time, forcing her to remain pregnant against her will for weeks.
Pregnant people both in and outside of New Hampshire would be subject to this law, as it permits male residents to file suit against any pregnant woman outside state boundaries and permits any man outside New Hampshire to file suit against a pregnant Granite Stater. The woman must attend the hearing in person – even if she lives out of state. Even though she may have only days to organize and arrange for travel to the proper venue, if she is not able to attend the hearing, under this legislation, she would be prohibited from having an abortion. The unconstitutionality and illegality of this bill is plain. It not only infringes on fundamental tenets of bodily autonomy, it also allows individuals to use our state judiciary as a tool of abuse and persecution.
Additionally, this is a blatantly sexist attack on women. Again, any man would be able to claim paternity in order to delay a woman from accessing abortion – as there is no requirement for DNA evidence prior to filing a petition with the court. Once the petition is filed, the woman is prohibited from having an abortion, even if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. Additionally -- and absolutely outrageously -- if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, this bill would subject the pregnant survivor to further trauma and even financial burdens in order to defend her right to make personal decisions about her pregnancy. Survivors of rape would be forced to report their rape prior to her rapist taking her to court to prevent her abortion. We know there are numerous reasons rape survivors choose not to report the violence against them—among these are fear of being re-traumatized and fear of retribution from their abuser. This bill could subject survivors of rape to a greater threat of harm by forcing her to report her rape or risk being forced to continue her pregnancy. For people who are pregnant as a result of incest, this bill would put the financial burden of obtaining DNA from both parties onto the pregnant woman. Especially for survivors of domestic and inter-family violence, these costs could be too extreme for the person to carry and could result in her being denied an abortion.
The decision about whether and when to become a parent is one of the most important life decisions we make. When people can make decisions that are best for their lives, families thrive, and we build communities where each of us can participate with dignity and equality. Pregnant people deserve to make these decisions for themselves, with influence from their loved ones and health care providers. Our state should not allow judges, rapists, sexual partners, or anyone—including politicians—to make these decisions for women.
WE URGE A VOTE OF “INEXPEDIENT TO LEGISLATE” ON HB 1181.
For more information contact: Liz Canada, Advocacy Manager, [email protected]
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. Last year we saw more than 10,000 patients at these sites. PPNNE was named a 2021 Guardian of Excellence Award® winner by Press Ganey, the national leader in health care consumer and workforce engagement. Press Ganey recognizes PPNNE as a top-performing health care organization, achieving the 95th percentile or above for performance in patient experience, out of more than 20,000 medical practices.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.