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PPNHAF Testimony in Support of SB 436, the Access to Abortion-care Act

SB 436-FN relative to access to abortion care.

Committee: Senate Judiciary 

Date: January 19, 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 in June of 2022, 6 months from now. 

Abortion access is at stake for 26 states, all of which are poised to ban or severely restrict abortion access for 36 million, or nearly half, of U.S. women of reproductive age, this year.

We urge you to support SB 436, 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.

49 years ago, this week, the landmark Roe v. Wade decision was announced, making abortion legal in all 50 states. Generations of Americans have never known life without abortion being safe and legal. 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. Surrounding states have been inundated with patients, 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 a safe health care service. There is no one specific type of abortion story or abortion patient. Nearly one in four women in America will have an abortion by age 45. 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.

SB436 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, SB436 does not seek to change that statute. SB436 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, but 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 deep coalition of health care advocacy groups like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists - NH Chapter, 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 Senate Judiciary Committee to vote Ought to Pass (“OTP”) on SB436, the Access to Abortion-care Act, to protect access in New Hampshire for safe, legal abortion care.  

For more information contact: Liz Canada, [email protected], 603.686.3353 

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and teens 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 12,000 patients at these sites.  

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.


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