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PPNHAF Testimony in Support of HB 1674, the Access to Abortion-care Act

HB 1674: relative to reproductive rights

Committee: House Judiciary 

Date: February 10, 2022 

Position: Support 

On December 1, 2021, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a pivotal abortion case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is a petition to uphold Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, which could hollow out the Roe decision and upend nearly 50 years of precedent. The state of Mississippi has asked the court to overturn both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This decision, which will dramatically change the landscape of abortion rights in this country, will be released by June of 2022, within the next 6 months. 

All across America, more than 36 million people are at risk of losing access to abortion, with 26 states poised to ban or severely restrict abortion after Jackson Women’s Health is decided. This represents nearly half of U.S. women of reproductive age, and it could happen this year.

We urge you to support HB 1674, the Access to Abortion-care Act, to ensure that every Granite Stater has the right to make personal, private health care decisions without government interference.

The landmark Roe v. Wade decision was announced almost fifty years ago, making abortion legal in all 50 states. Generations of Americans have never known life without legal avenues to securing safe abortions. However, that is beginning to change already. We have already seen in Texas what a post-Roe country will look like, where a near-total ban on abortion has been in effect since September 1, 2021. Surrounding states have been inundated, seeing double the number of abortion patients as usual. People are traveling as far as northern New England to get care - in fact, New Hampshire health centers have already seen patients from Texas.

Abortion is an essential and safe health service. Nearly one in four women in America will have an abortion by age 45. There is no one specific type of abortion story or abortion patient. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 60 percent of abortion patients in America are in their twenties. Seventy-five percent of abortion patients have lower incomes. Fifty-nine percent of abortion patients already have a child.

Additionally, abortion patients have a diverse range of religious and faith backgrounds: 24 percent of abortion patients identify as Catholic; 17 percent identify as mainline Protestant; 13 percent as evangelical Protestant; 8 percent as another affiliation; and 38 percent have no religious affiliation. Every individual's personal decision about their pregnancy should be respected and valued.

The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision could imperil abortion access for half the country. Therefore, we need a New Hampshire solution – one that embodies Granite State values of privacy and personal freedom.

We know that New Hampshire has a long, bipartisan history of supporting privacy, particularly when it comes to personal medical decisions, including abortion. For decades, abortion bans and restrictions have been defeated in the New Hampshire State House with the support of both political parties. In 1997, specifically, the New Hampshire House and Senate repealed the pre-Roe abortion restrictions with Republican majorities.

HB 1674 enshrines in state statute the core tenets of the Roe v. Wade decision, providing critical protections to Granite Staters in a time when abortion rights are on the line across the nation. This bill would restrict the government’s further interference with an individual’s access to safe, legal abortion. To be clear: this law would not amend any current restrictions in New Hampshire. While we support the full repeal of the 24-week abortion ban, HB 1674 does not seek to change that statute. HB 1674 does, however, provide critical protections to ensure that Granite State women and families can work with their doctors to get the health care they need in the majority of situations.

This Granite State solution is not only a reflection of our long held, bipartisan values, it’s also reflective of best health care practices. When people have the ability to plan, prevent, and space their pregnancies, it leads to healthier families, healthier babies, and healthier communities. That’s why a broad coalition of health care advocacy groups like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - NH Chapter, NH American College of Physicians, New Futures, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, and others have signed on to support this bill. 

The time to act is now. We urge the House Judiciary Committee to vote Ought to Pass (“OTP”) on HB 1674, the Access to Abortion-care Act, to protect access to safe, legal abortion care in New Hampshire.  

For more information contact: Liz Canada, [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.