CONCORD - On Friday, February 18, 2022, the New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee held executive sessions on five bills and a constitutional amendment related to abortion access in New Hampshire.
- HB 1181: allowing the biological father of an unborn child to petition the court for an injunction prohibiting the biological mother from having an abortion.
- Committee vote - Interim Study, 18-1 (Consent Calendar)
- HB 1477: prohibiting abortions after detection of fetal heartbeat. (six week abortion ban)
- Committee vote - ITL, 11-10
- HB 1625: repealing the prohibition on entering or remaining on a public way or sidewalk adjacent to a reproductive health care facility.
- Committee vote - ITL, 12-9
- CACR 18: relating to reproductive medical decisions. Providing that the state shall not infringe or unduly inconvenience the right of reproductive medical decisions.
- Committee vote - ITL, 11-8
- HB 1674: relative to reproductive rights. (Access to Abortion-care Act)
- Committee vote - ITL, 11-8
- HB 1673: relative to women's health privacy and repealing the fetal health protection act.
- Committee vote - OTP/A, 11-10
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.
As the Supreme Court considers the fate of Roe v. Wade, it has never been more important for the New Hampshire Legislature to take action. While it is incredibly disappointing the House Judiciary Committee refused to consider proactive protections for reproductive rights in New Hampshire, we are encouraged by today’s bipartisan committee votes to mitigate the harm caused by New Hampshire’s abortion ban and reject further attacks on abortion access, including a Texas-style six-week abortion ban. We urge the full House to overturn the committee report of ITL on HB 1674 and urge the body to uphold the recommendations to reject HB 1181, HB 1477, and HB 1625.”
- PPNHAF Testimony in Opposition to HB 1181
- PPNHAF Testimony in Opposition to HB 1477
- PPNHAF Testimony in Opposition to HB 1625
- PPNHAF Testimony in Support of CACR 18
- PPNHAF Testimony in Support of HB 1673
- ACOG Testimony in Support of HB 1673
- New Futures Testimony in Support of HB 1673 and HB 1674
- Dr. Amy Paris Testimony in Support of HB 1673 and HB 1674
- Dr. Valerie Valant Testimony in Support of HB 1673 and HB 1674
- Rev. Allison Palm Testimony in Support of HB 1673 and HB 1674
- Emese Nemeth Testimony in Support of HB 1673 and HB 1674
- PPNHAF Testimony in Support of HB 1674
- ACOG Testimony in Support of HB 1674
- Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath Testimony in Support of HB 1674
Additional Public Comment:
- When New Hampshire’s abortion ban and ultrasound requirement was being considered in 2021, nearly 200 New Hampshire health care providers expressed their opposition to this law.
- On February 2, 2022, 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.”
Public sign-in information for the hearings:
- HB 1181: 2,760 oppose; 29 support
- HB 1477: 2,620 oppose; 68 support
- HB 1625: 2,138 oppose; 141 support
- CACR 18: Support - 1,416; Oppose - 134
- HB 1674: Support - 1,493; Oppose - 136
- HB 1673: Support - 1,510; Oppose - 364
HB 1181 - Bio Father Bill
- This bill 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.
HB 1477 - Six-Week Abortion Ban
- This bill would prohibit all abortion after detection of fetal cardiac activity, with only an exception for “prevent[ing] the death of a pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
- This bill would ban almost all abortion in New Hampshire, similar to what Texas has had in place since September 1, 2021.
- This deeply unpopular legislation is a blatant violation of decades of Supreme Court precedent and flies in the face of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey - currently the law of the land.
HB 1625 - Patient Safety Zone Repeal Bill
- This bill would repeal New Hampshire’s patient safety zone law, which passed with bipartisan support in 2014 to protect patient and provider safety and privacy at reproductive health centers.
- The original law allows health centers to establish patient safety zones of up to 25 feet and it was intentionally designed to strike a balance between patient safety and an individual’s First Amendment rights. It’s an important tool in the toolbox for public safety measures.
- The attacks on reproductive health centers continue to escalate; on December 31, 2021, a Planned Parenthood in Knoxville, Tennessee was destroyed by an arson attack. We know that as states move to ban abortion across the country, anti-abortion protestors will travel to states that still allow abortion care - and we need to proactively protect the safety of patients and providers.
HB 1673 - 24-Week Abortion Ban and Ultrasound Mandate Repeal:
- NH’s 24-Week abortion 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.
- On February 18, a Committee Amendment was offered by Rep. Marjorie Smith to clarify the ultrasound mandate provision, strengthen protections for health of the pregnant person, add fatal fetal diagnoses as an exception to the abortion ban, and remove civil and criminal penalties.
- A Senate companion bill, SB 399, was passed recently with an amendment that leaves the abortion ban intact but mitigates the harm caused by the ultrasound mandate.
- On February 17, the House passed HB 1609, Republican filed legislation that adds exceptions for rape, incest, and fatal fetal diagnoses to the 24-week abortion ban and mitigates the harm of the ultrasound mandate provision.
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 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.
- 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.
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.