Committee Votes to Not Recommend Future Legislation, But Majority of Republican Caucus Members Issue Their Support
CONCORD - On Tuesday, October 18, seven House Republicans voted for additional abortion restrictions, just months after the Supreme Court granted state politicians unprecedented power over our bodies. An executive work session was held on HB 1181, an outrageous attack on bodily autonomy and abortion access that would allow any man in New Hampshire or across the country, without first proving paternity, to intervene in a pregnant person’s seeking of abortion care by petitioning the courts. HB 1181 was voted Interim Study in March of 2022; on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee work group did not recommend for future legislation by a vote of 12-7.
The seven state representatives who voted against the motion not to recommend future legislation were: Reps. Wuelper (Vice Chair), Andrus, Johnson, Diane Kelley, McLean, Merner, and Sylvia.
Chair Ned Gordon and Representative Jeanine Notter joined the Democrats in the affirmative.
Statement from Liz Canada, Advocacy Manager for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“Today, seven anti-abortion lawmakers supported additional restrictions on abortion care in New Hampshire, voting to recommend a bill that would allow men to use the courts to deny women access to abortion and force Granite Staters to carry a pregnancy against their will.
New Hampshire voters overwhelmingly believe access to abortion should be safe and legal. Anti-abortion politicians know they’re out of touch with Granite State values; that’s why they’ve spent the summer since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade trying to convince their constituents that even though they wrote and voted for our state’s first abortion ban in modern history, they wouldn’t consider additional restrictions if reelected. But their actions speak louder than words.
Let’s be clear - the decision about whether and when to become a parent is one of the most important life decisions we can make. Pregnant people deserve to make these decisions for themselves, in consultation from their loved ones and health care providers. While we are grateful this legislation will go no further, it is unconscionable so many state representatives believe there is anything warranted in allowing judges, rapists, sexual partners, or even strangers to make personal medical decisions for women and pregnant people. This forced pregnancy bill is a stark reminder of what’s at stake in the upcoming elections. Before November 8, we urge Granite Staters to learn where their candidates stand on bodily autonomy and privacy rights.
- HB 1181: 2,760 oppose; 29 support
- HB 1181 is one of the most extreme attacks on abortion and bodily autonomy in the country. It would allow any man - without needing to prove paternity in advance - to file a petition with a New Hampshire court to prevent a pregnant person from having an abortion until the legal process concluded.
- Not only does this have problematic implications regarding bodily autonomy, it would also be logistically impossible to manage. The pregnant person must attend the hearing in person - even if they live out of state. Therefore, they may have only days to organize and arrange for travel to the proper venue.
- This bill does not require proven paternity prior to prohibiting a pregnant person from accessing abortion. The legal process could take up to a month to conclude, prohibiting the pregnant person from accessing abortion during that time.
- Additionally, survivors of rape would be forced to report their rape prior to her rapist taking her to court to prevent her abortion. For people who are pregnant as a result of incest, this bill would put the financial burden of obtaining DNA from both parties onto the pregnant woman.
- The Judiciary Committee met in June 2022 to take up HB 1181’s interim study vote, however, they decided to delay their vote until more members of the committee were in attendance, in case individuals were interested in studying this bill further.
- This week’s vote on HB 1181 will include whether the committee recommends future legislation based on this bill; any recommendation issued by the committee will need to be addressed by a future legislature.
- 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.
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.