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CONCORD - On Thursday, February 10, 2022, the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee held hearings on two abortion rights bills and a constitutional amendment. 

CACR 18 would enshrine abortion rights in New Hampshire’s Constitution. HB 1674 would establish protections for abortion rights before 24 weeks in state law. And HB 1673 would repeal New Hampshire’s abortion ban and ultrasound mandate. The Committee has scheduled an executive session on these bills, as well as three anti-abortion measures heard yesterday, for February 18. 

Below are the public sign-in information for the bills:

  • CACR 18: Support - 1,416; Oppose - 134
  • HB 1674: Support - 1,493; Oppose - 136
  • HB 1673: Support - 1,510; Oppose - 364

Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:

“Every person should have access to the health care they need - including abortion - without government interference. We only need to look to Texas to see what a world without abortion access looks like - the Texas abortion ban has created chaos for individual patients, and for the region. 

The current landscape is the culmination of a decades-long effort by anti-abortion politicians and activists to outlaw abortion in the United States. Steadily, they’ve pushed harsher abortion restrictions, defunded community health centers and programs - including here in New Hampshire, and stacked the federal courts to ensure these unpopular policies stay in place. In 2021 alone, nearly 600 abortion restricts were introduced nationwide with 90 enacted into law, including New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history.

We must uphold Granite State values of bipartisan support for reproductive freedoms. As the Supreme Court considers the fate of Roe v. Wade, the New Hampshire Legislature must repeal New Hampshire’s abortion ban and mandatory ultrasound provision, and codify the tenets of Roe v. Wade into law to protect the future of access to safe, legal abortion in the Granite State.”

BACKGROUND:

Testimony:

Additional Public Comment:

HB 1673 - 24-Week Abortion Ban and Ultrasound Mandate Repeal:

  • 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.
  • A Senate companion bill, SB 399, was passed last week with an amendment that leaves the abortion ban intact but mitigates the harm caused by the ultrasound mandate.

HB 1674 - New Hampshire’s Access to Abortion-care Act (AAA)

  • HB 1674 would put abortion rights into state statute. If passed into law, regardless of what happens in the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion will remain safe, legal, and accessible in the Granite State.
  • The Access to Abortion-care Act upholds long-held New Hampshire values by enshrining the right to make personal, private health decisions regarding abortion in law. 
  • The AAA does not change anything about current New Hampshire abortion laws; it does, however, provide critical protections to ensure that Granite Staters can work with their doctors to get the health care they need in the majority of situations. 
  • A Senate companion bill, SB 436, was tabled last week after the ITL motion failed, 12-12. Republican Senators Jeb Bradley and Erin Hennessey joined the Democrats in support of SB 436.

CACR 18 - Constitutional Amendment for Abortion Rights

  • This Constitutional Amendment would prohibit the state from infringing upon or inconveniencing the right to reproductive medical decisions. If this amendment is adopted, the right to make personal reproductive medical decisions will be guaranteed by the New Hampshire Constitution.
  • A CACR requires a 60 percent majority vote in each chamber for passage. If this CACR passed through the Legislature, it would be placed on the general election ballots in 2022 and require a ⅔ majority vote by voters to pass.

Polling:

  • 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. 

Supreme Court:

  • Two U.S. Supreme Court cases could overturn Roe v. Wade, jeopardizing abortion access in our country. By next year, 26 states could lose abortion access, impacting 36 million - or nearly half of U.S. women of reproductive age (18-49) and more people who  can become pregnant. 
    • The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Texas’ SB 8 on November 1, 2021, although not about the constitutionality of the law. SB 8 is a 6-week abortion ban, which is currently in place. Abortion remains virtually inaccessible in Texas. 
    • The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on December 1, 2021, which marks the first time in 50 years the Court agreed to hear a case on the constitutionality of a pre-viability abortion ban.
    • There are 16 additional abortion-related cases one step away from the Supreme Court.

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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.