To whom this may concern,
My name is Dr. Valerie Valant and I am an OBGYN physician who has been practicing in the state of NH for the last 5 years. I strongly support both SB 399 and SB 436. I unfortunately cannot be present in person at the hearing due to my clinical duties; I am taking care of patients today. Please include the following as part of the public record.
Before you are two critical bills that impact the ability of women to receive safe and necessary medical care. Our country is in a moment of crisis for abortion rights. If the SCOTUS overturns Roe v. Wade, we need the NH state protections to ensure that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible to the women of NH. Repealing the abortion ban is critical for providers like me, who will now face criminal charges for caring for patients in incredibly complex situations. My sentiment applies directly to the fetal health protection act, which places a 24-week ban on abortions and an ultrasound mandate. There are no exceptions for rape, incest, the pre-existing and possibly life-threatening medical state of the woman or the health of the fetus. It does not take into account the real-life complexities that lead women to consider abortion, and it strips women of compassion and support, disproportionately harming people of color, those with lower income, those with disabilities and those in the LGBTQ community, as well as women in rural communities, a large percentage of the NH population. Each pregnancy and circumstance is unique and cannot be defined by a certain set of laws or guidelines. Furthermore, the ultrasound mandate at all stages of pregnancy is not consistent with best medical practices and threatens the ability of providers to deliver patient centered, trauma informed care. It creates an unnecessary cost barrier to abortion access. Although there are some medical situations where an ultrasound is necessary, for those women who do not need this invasive intervention, it causes unwarranted shame and life-long trauma.
Although I am so grateful to the New Hampshire legislature for their dedication to the well-being of our community, when it comes to medical decision making, politicians should not be making laws that impact the medical choices that should be agreed upon by only a patient and their medical provider. It interferes with the patient-provider relationship and creates barriers to providing the best and most appropriate medical care. The reproductive health and well-being of women is under attack in New Hampshire. Please vote to protect women. Thank you for your consideration of my written testimony.
Dr. Valerie Valant