CONCORD – Planned Parenthood was joined by dozens of abortion rights advocates, providers, and medical experts who flooded the New Hampshire State House on Wednesday to speak out against four extreme New Hampshire bills that would dramatically roll back the clock on access to safe, legal abortion in the Granite State.
Advocates filled Representatives Hall as the House Judiciary Committee held public hearings Wednesday for four bills -- HB 1475, HB 1640, HB 1675, and HB 1678 -- that would either restrict or outright ban access to safe, legal abortion.
Ahead of the public hearings Wednesday, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) hosted a press conference with local independent abortion providers and advocates calling out these attacks on reproductive health care.
Sabrina Dunlap, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, stated the fact that these bills do not reflect the views of most Granite Staters.
“The clear reality is that despite these attacks, New Hampshire has one of the most positive reproductive health care landscapes in the country, and we intend to keep it that way. This positive landscape is thanks in large part to our state’s longstanding respect for privacy and commitment to protecting its positive public health outcomes. The vast majority of Granite Staters understand that the decision about if and when to have an abortion should be left between a woman and her doctor -- not politicians,” Dunlap said.
Dr. Ellen Joyce, chair of the New Hampshire section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, fellow of Physicians for Reproductive Health and a hospitalist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, said that the bills would have a seriously detrimental impact on the patient-provider relationship.
“This package of legislation compromises the ability of women in New Hampshire with complex or medically difficult pregnancies to get the best possible care, and some even criminalize doctors like me. All patients need and deserve access to compassionate and appropriate medical care,” Dr. Joyce said.
Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU of New Hampshire, underlined the fact that several of the bills are unconstitutional.
“Many of the anti-abortion bills being heard today are unconstitutional and have been struck down by courts in other states,” Chaffee said.
Dalia Vidunas, Executive Director of Equality Health Center in Concord, said that the bills would have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable Granite Staters.
“These bills all seek to accomplish one goal: to create barriers that prevent people from accessing reproductive health care -- barriers that disproportionately impact low income people, people of color, people living in rural areas, the LGBTQ+ community, and young people,” Vidunas said.
Background on legislation:
HB 1475: Prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat. This is a “fetal heartbeat” bill similar to those passed in several states this year that would ban abortion before most women even know they’re pregnant. No law of this kind has gone into effect, and several have been blocked by federal courts because they’re unconstitutional. This terminology is manipulative and medically inaccurate, with no basis in medicine or reality.
HB 1678: Relative to prohibiting abortion in certain cases. This is a ban on abortion following fetal diagnoses. This is an attempt to ban abortion and harms the doctor-patient relationships.
HB 1675: Relative to the right of any infant born alive to medically appropriate and reasonable care and treatment. Based upon a similar bill that was introduced this year in the U.S. Senate, this bill drives a false narrative. There is no such thing as abortion resulting in “infanticide.” Harm to anyone, including a newborn, is illegal.
HB 1640: Relative to parental notification prior to abortion. New Hampshire has a law that requires parental notification before a minor can obtain an abortion. This law includes a constitutionally required judicial bypass system that allows a pregnant minor, if unable to notify her parents (often for safety concerns), to appear before a judge who will decide if she is mature enough to make the decision to have an abortion. This bill would remove the judicial bypass provision of the law, forcing all minors to notify their parents without exception, even if notification would be harmful or endanger the minor.