Campaigns focused on protecting safe, legal abortion led to victories
CONCORD - In the first general election since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federal protections for abortion, New Hampshire voters sent a resounding message to lawmakers on Tuesday. Record turnout led to the re-election of reproductive rights champions to federal offices and spurred incredibly close state legislative races.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund endorsed Senator Maggie Hassan, who won reelection by nearly 10 points against anti-abortion challenger Don Bolduc, as well as Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster and Congressman Chris Pappas who were both reelected over challengers who supported additional abortion restrictions and defunding Planned Parenthood.
While we await final results in state races, what we know is that in the shadow of a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the passage of New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history, Granite Staters took to the polls to say, “We won’t go back!”
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“Yesterday, New Hampshire voters made their voices heard and made it clear that New Hampshire won’t stand for attacks on our rights and reproductive freedom.
Extreme anti-abortion politicians tried to downplay how important reproductive rights are, but voters loudly rebuked those efforts at the ballot box by supporting candidates who will protect access to safe, legal abortion.
While we celebrate the re-election of Senator Hassan, Congresswoman Kuster, and Congressman Pappas, we acknowledge there is still much work ahead. Anti-abortion majorities were re-elected to the New Hampshire Executive Council and state Senate. While Governor Sununu recently said “here in New Hampshire, we’re not changing anything” regarding abortion access, he made the same promise after he was elected in 2020 - yet eight months later he signed an abortion ban into law.
We know this fight is not over. We anticipate more attacks on our rights from anti-abortion politicians in Concord and Washington, D.C., but the bottom line is, Granite Staters are not backing down because we understand that the decision of if, when, and how we start or grow a family is deeply personal and impacts all facets of our lives. Planned Parenthood will never stop fighting to ensure everyone who needs access to abortion can get that care safely and legally in New Hampshire - no matter what - and we are committed to holding every elected official accountable heading into the next legislative session.”
This 2022 election cycle was the biggest program for state candidates to date. PPNHAF and PPNHV:
- Knocked 15,236 doors and talked to nearly 4,500 voters directly as part of a paid canvass campaign
- Engaged a record number of volunteers - more than 250 - to speak with more than 4,000 Granite Staters in the past five months through volunteer led phonebanks and canvasses
- Launched a “Pledge to Vote” project, reaching over 1,100 voters
- Contacted thousands of voters through direct mail and digital ads
- August 2022 polling by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center shows that support for abortion rights in New Hampshire is at a historic high and nearly 6 in 10 voters disapproved of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.
- Polling released in July, 2021 from the UNH Survey Center shows that New Hampshire’s newly-enacted abortion ban is deeply unpopular, with only one-third of Granite Staters in support of it. Nearly half of independent Granite Staters oppose this ban, as do 27 percent of Republicans.
- The truth is, most Granite Staters and most Americans support access to safe, legal abortion. If someone has decided to have an abortion, more than 8 in 10 respondents want the experience to be supportive and nonjudgmental, without added burdens or protesters, affordable and safe.
New Hampshire’s 24-Week Abortion Ban:
- New Hampshire’s abortion ban is extreme for many reasons. It has no exceptions for rape or incest; and it has a very narrow exception for maternal physical health. When it was signed into law by Governor Sununu, it required ultrasounds prior to all abortion care - at every stage of pregnancy - and did not include an exception for fatal fetal diagnoses.
- Additionally, this abortion ban criminalizes health care providers with a class B felony which could come with up to seven years in prison and a fine up to $100,000, allows husbands to file civil actions, and allows the patient’s parents to file civil actions.
- There are no other medical procedures in New Hampshire law subject to felony charges and imprisonment for health care professionals.
- Nearly 200 New Hampshire medical providers opposed this bill during the legislative process.
Sununu’s Attacks on Reproductive Health Care:
- In 2015, then Executive Councilor Chris Sununu cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire, jeopardizing access to family planning care for thousands of Granite Staters.
- In 2016, when Sununu ran for governor in a contentious primary, he laid out steps he would take to restrict abortion access in NH once elected.
- In 2018, Sununu put his full support behind Justice Kavanaugh. Because of his appointment to SCOTUS - which led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade - the states that are banning or deeply restricting abortion access continues to rise, and it’s very likely that soon 26 states - which is the equivalent of 36 million, or half, of all women of reproductive age - will lose access to safe, legal abortion.
- In 2020, Sununu vetoed the Reproductive Health Parity Act, which would have removed financial barriers for people seeking access to abortion.
- As Governor, Sununu signed a budget that underfunded the Family Planning Program and silently watched his Republican colleagues gut that program by rejecting contracts with three reproductive health providers, including PPNNE.
- On June 25, 2021, Sununu signed New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history into law. Sununu’s abortion ban criminalized doctors, required forced ultrasounds for all people seeking abortion care, and failed to make exemptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal diagnoses.
The Executive Council’s Attacks on Family Planning:
- Councilors Kenney, Stevens, Gatsas, and Wheeler voted against family planning contracts every single opportunity they have had, including 4 times in less than a year (July 2022, January 2022, December 2021, and September 2021).
- Joe Kenney, Ted Gatsas, and Dave Wheeler have voted against these contracts prior to 2021, as well.
- Family Planning contracts consistently passed with bipartisan support from 1972-2011.
The Executive Council’s Attacks on After School Sex Education Programs:
- Item #17A provides funding for community providers in Hillsborough and Sullivan Counties to facilitate the Personal Responsibility Education Programs (PREP) to adolescents, which includes evidence-based sexual health education on abstinence and contraception. The program requires parental consent of youth participation. It has been tabled by the Executive Council, which has also refused to take it off the table for consideration in three separate votes.
- The State PREP program is federally funded by the Family & Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) and is administered by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (NH DPHS).
- Even before this pandemic, STI rates were on the rise in New Hampshire, with syphilis and gonorrhea rates increasing again in recent years -- and research shows COVID-19 has further interrupted STI screenings. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea rates are highest in Hillsborough county.
- Young people between the ages of 13 and 24 represent 32% of all gonorrhea cases in New Hampshire; for chlamydia, they represent 63% of cases in the state.
- New Hampshire has some of the lowest rates of unintended pregnancy rates and teen pregnancy rates in the country, in but they are higher in Sullivan county than other parts of the state.
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. The Action Fund makes independent expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to targeted candidates for public office. Follow us on Twitter.
PPNHAF maintains a separate, segregated political committee and fund to make direct campaign contributions to endorsed candidates (the PAC). Follow PPNHAF PAC on Twitter.
Understanding and explaining the different Planned Parenthood entities in New Hampshire:
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 5 health centers in Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. Last fiscal year we saw more than 11,000 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. The Action Fund makes independent expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to targeted candidates for public office. PPNHAF maintains a separate, segregated political committee and fund to make direct campaign contributions to endorsed candidates (the PAC).
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC is the political committee that makes candidate endorsements and gives financial contributions directly to candidates