CONCORD - On Thursday, February 17, 2022, the New Hampshire House voted 179-174 to pass HB 1609 as introduced. The bill has been referred to House Finance for further consideration.
The bill provides critical clarification that will mitigate the harm of New Hampshire’s cruel ultrasound mandate for abortion care. Furthermore, it adds exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses to the state’s 24-week abortion ban. HB 1609 as filed had the full support of Governor Sununu, who signed this abortion ban into law last year.
When New Hampshire’s abortion ban was being debated last year, nearly 200 New Hampshire health care providers expressed their opposition to this law. On February 2, a contingent of medical providers from The Elliot Hospital cosigned a letter to senators and Governor Sununu asking them to repeal this law because it “will lead to cruel and unnecessary physical and emotional harm to the women of New Hampshire.”
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“Since the adoption of New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history, publicy outcry has rightly increased about this cruel law that criminalizes doctors, shames women, and takes options away from families in complex circumstances.
While we believe the abortion ban should be struck in its entirety, we are grateful a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives listened to the medical professionals and women of New Hampshire who have sounded the alarms for months to undo the harm the abortion ban and ultrasound mandate cause.
Granite State women and families who find themselves in complex circumstances surrounding pregnancy, like a fatal fetal diagnosis or a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, deserve our compassion and support - not shame and certainly not arbitrary bans on abortion care. We thank the bipartisan lawmakers who voted in favor of HB 1609 today and urge the Legislature to move this bill forward.”
24-Week Abortion Ban:
- This ban is extreme for many reasons. It has no exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses, rape, or incest; and it has a very narrow exception for maternal physical health.
- 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.
- Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund supports HB 1673, which has been filed in the House to repeal the ultrasound mandate and abortion ban. The House Judiciary Committee is holding an executive session on HB 1673, and five other abortion rights related bills, on Friday, February 18 at 9 a.m.
- The Senate recently adopted SB 399 as amended, which preserves theabortionbanbut mitigates the harm caused by the ultrasound mandate.
- Polling released in July, 2021 from the UNH Survey Center shows that New Hampshire’s 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 UNH Survey Center polling also shows that only 31 percent of Granite Staters support the provision signed by Governor Sununu that mandates medically unnecessary, often invasive ultrasounds before abortion care at all stages of pregnancy.
- 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 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 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. Last year we saw more than 10,000 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.