CONCORD — Today, Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed HB 685, the Reproductive Health Parity Act, endangering reproductive health care access for Granite Staters at a time when economic insecurity has been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire condemned Gov. Sununu’s veto and underlined the disproportionate impact it will have on lower-income communities, communities of color, and other Granite State communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, Acting Senior Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, NH/Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund:
“Governor Sununu’s veto of HB 685 endangers reproductive health care access for Granite Staters in the midst of a pandemic that has upended the lives and economic security of so many. Governor Sununu’s decision to veto the Reproductive Health Parity Act harms the communities that have the greatest barriers to reproductive health care access, including lower-income communities and communities of color.
“Abortion care is health care, and it should not be separated, ‘carved out,’ or treated differently from any other medical service. Passage of this bill would have ensured that a state policy is on the books so we are not vulnerable to the relentless federal attacks against reproductive and sexual health. Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire will continue fighting to expand and protect access to reproductive health care, and will continue to fight for the health and safety of our communities.”
Sponsored by Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, the Reproductive Health Parity Act would protect health care equity in New Hampshire by requiring commercial and ACA Marketplace insurance plans to cover abortion care if they also cover maternity care. In New Hampshire, an insurance company can deny coverage for an abortion procedure, even if medically necessary.
For women facing an unintended pregnancy, or changed circumstances during a planned pregnancy, access to timely, affordable, and respectful abortion care is a critical component of reproductive health care.
HB 685 does not cover self-insured plans, which are governed by federal law (ERISA). The state Department of Insurance does not have jurisdiction over such plans.
HB 685 does not cover Medicaid recipients.
New Hampshire has a track record of providing access to comprehensive reproductive health care without political obstacles and has enjoyed strong maternal and infant health outcomes as a result. Passage of this bill would build on that progress, help reduce inequities in reproductive health access in New Hampshire, and mitigate further insurance market disruptions, putting New Hampshire in line with seven states that have already passed similar legislation to protect themselves against any future federal restrictions.
HB 685 would also protect against instability in federal laws and regulations, putting New Hampshire in line with seven other states that have already implemented similar protections. In particular, the Trump administration introduced one rule and is in the process of finalizing another that would create administrative barriers designed to make it difficult for insurers to cover abortion or make them drop abortion coverage altogether. The first rule was struck down last month by a federal judge, finding it would create an “unreasonable barrier” to medical care in violation of the ACA.
HB 685 is supported by a broad coalition of New Hampshire organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) - New Hampshire Chapter, the New Hampshire Women’s Foundation, ACLU of New Hampshire, New Futures, Lovering Health Center, Equality Health Center, and Bi-State Primary Care Association.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and young people 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. In 2019, we saw more than 13,000 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. 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).