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2024 New Hampshire Legislative Issues

The overturning of Roe v. Wade means the future of abortion access now depends upon the state legislature. In this crisis moment for abortion access, it is critical New Hampshire lawmakers take action to protect abortion rights in the Granite State.

In 2024, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund is leading efforts at the State House to protect and expand access to the full range of reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion care.

PPNHAF Supports the Following:

  • CACR 23: CACR 23 would add the explicit right to abortion to the NH Constitution - and trust patients and doctors, rather than politicians, in making personal decisions. CACR 23 received a majority vote of 193-184 on the House floor; unfortunately, this did not reach the 60% threshold needed to pass. Read PPNHAF's statement here. See below for more information on amending the NH Constitution. 
  • HCR 11: HCR 11 condemns the medically unnecessary restrictions being waged in federal court on mifepristone, the first pill of the two-pill regiment of medication abortion. HCR 11 passed the House, 196-151! Read PPNHAF's statement here. 
  • CACR 24CACR 24 would add personal reproductive autonomy to the NH Constitution. CACR 24 was defeated, 14-9, on party line votes in the NH Senate. Read PPNHAF's statement here.
  • SB 575: SB 575 would offer protections for patients seeking abortion care in New Hampshire, who have traveled from a state where abortion is banned. It would also offer protections to providers. SB 575 was defeated, 14-9, on party line votes in the NH Senate. Read PPNHAF's statement here.
  • SB 461: SB 461 was amended by the NH Senate, 14-9, to add a new, abortion-specific state mandated reporting requirement.  SB 461 would also remove the following line from NH state statute RSA 329:49: “Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as creating or recognizing a right to abortion.” SB 461 has a public hearing on Wednesday, May 1 in the House HHS committee.
  • SB 567: SB 567 would direct the NH Department of Health and Human Services to issue a report about medication abortion access and opportunities in New Hampshire, in preparation for the US Supreme Court decision regarding mifepristone. The NH Senate passed an amended version of the bill in a bipartisan voice vote. Unfortunately, the House HHS committee issued an "Inexpedient to Legislate" recommendation; the bill now heads to the NH House floor on Thursday, May 2.

PPNHAF Opposes the Following Bills:

  • HB 1248: HB 1248 bans abortion at 15 days - before most people know they are pregnant and before most pregnancy tests would even be accurate. The NH House voted 363-11 to indefinitely postpone this bill, which means it cannot be brought back this year. 
  • HB 1541: HB 1541 deeply restricts abortion at 15 weeks, effectively eliminating abortion at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England's New Hampshire health centers after 15 weeks. HB 1541 was defeated by the NH House by a voice vote, which means an individual representative's vote is unknown.
  • SB 573: SB 573, when first introduced, prohibits teenagers from accessing health care services, including contraception, without parental consent. The bill was amended in the NH Senate to become a study committee on parental consent laws. SB 573 now heads to the House floor on Thursday, May 2 with an Ought to Pass recommendation. 

What is a constitutional amendment? 

A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the Constitution. Regarding state constitutions, each state has its own set of rules, usually determined by the elected state legislators, for how its Constitution can be amended.  

Constitutional amendments provide stronger protection of rights and liberties than statewide laws because they are usually much more difficult to change than laws. Laws can be changed by state legislatures, and the makeup of those legislatures can change with every election. In contrast, the process for amending the state constitution in New Hampshire has two steps: approval by the state legislature followed by voter approval in an election. 

What is the process to amend the New Hampshire Constitution? 

Any state lawmaker can submit a resolution proposing to amend New Hampshire’s Constitution. Once a resolution is formally introduced, it is assigned to a legislative committee. The committee will hold a public hearing on the resolution, which is an opportunity for members of the public to testify before lawmakers to share their thoughts, experiences, and support/opposition. After the public hearing, the committee will take a vote, which is a recommendation to the full chamber of whether the full chamber should pass the resolution or not pass the resolution.

Then, the full chamber will take at least one vote on the resolution. If the resolution passes, it then goes to the other legislative chamber, and the process starts over again!

In New Hampshire, proposed constitutional amendments must be approved by a 60% majority in both legislative chambers in order for it to move forward. Specifically, with 400 state reps, 240 state reps must vote in support of  the resolution to pass it, which sends the resolution to the NH Senate. With 24 state senators, 15 state senators must vote in support to pass the resolution.

Constitutional amendments in New Hampshire do not need to be approved by the Governor. If 60% of lawmakers in both chambers vote for the proposal, the resolution is then put to voters in the next general election. At the ballot, voters must approve the proposed amendment with a 2/3 majority for it to take effect.

Why would adding abortion rights to the New Hampshire Constitution be a good thing for Granite Staters? 

Stronger protections 
New Hampshire has a long, bipartisan history of supporting sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. However, we continue to see increased attacks on our rights and freedoms, especially since the U.S. Supreme Court revoked federal protections for abortion in 2022.  

As of August 30, 2023, 22 states have enacted bans or near total bans on abortion, and 1 in 3 women have lost the right to abortion in their home state. In New Hampshire, state representatives passed the Access to Abortion-care Act in a bipartisan vote in 2023, which would have protected abortion in state law prior to 24 weeks; the NH Senate, however, defeated the bill.

A constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion would add critical protections explicitly into the New Hampshire Constitution – and make it more difficult for politicians to restrict our reproductive rights and freedoms.

Why should we amend the NH Constitution now? 

With federal protections for abortion gone, state-level protections are vital. Right now, New Hampshire is the only state in New England without any explicit right to abortion in state law or our state Constitution. Additionally, because state lawmakers are elected every two years in the Granite State, New Hampshire is only one election away from more restrictive abortion bans. By passing a constitutional amendment to add abortion rights, we are taking control back from politicians over our bodies, our lives, and our futures.

What is the exact language of CACR 23? 

Title: relating to the right to abortion. Providing that all persons shall have the right to abortion prior to 24 weeks.

Amendment proposal text: Every individual has a fundamental right to abortion. The state cannot prohibit, restrict, delay, or penalize this right prior to 24 weeks unless it is justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means. After 24 weeks, the state may not prohibit an abortion that, in the professional judgment of an attending physician, is necessary. The physician shall apply the applicable standard of care in making a professional judgement.

What does that language mean? 

If passed, this amendment would explicitly protect the right to abortion in the New Hampshire state Constitution prior to 24 weeks of pregnancy and allow physicians to use their professional judgement after 24 weeks without government interference.


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