CONCORD -- On Tuesday, a bipartisan majority on the House Judiciary Committee made Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) recommendations against a package of bills that would undermine access to sexual and reproductive health care during a global health pandemic. The committee’s decision followed two days of hearings last week where dozens of medical experts, patients, and advocates testified against the bills and thousands signed in to oppose them.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, Senior Director of Public Affairs, PPNHAF and PPNNE:
“Granite State reproductive rights advocates are thankful for the bipartisan majority of the House Judiciary Committee’s decision to prioritize public health during this pandemic by opposing this package of dangerous bills. The vast majority of Granite Staters support reproductive freedom and do not want to see access to sexual and reproductive health care rolled back, especially in a public health crisis. We encourage the full House to support the committee recommendation next week and we thank the members of the committee who opposed these attacks.”
Background on Bills
HB 625 targets patients and doctors by banning abortion later in pregnancy with very narrow exceptions, including none for the health of the fetus. HB 625 also criminalizes doctors with a class B felony and up to seven years in prison.
Instead of prioritizing public health, the state legislators who have introduced these bills are trying to take away Granite Staters’ freedom to consult with their doctor about their own health care decisions.
Let’s be clear: these bills are attempts to interfere with the patient-provider relationship. Each pregnancy and each circumstance is unique. That’s why when people are making personal medical decisions with their doctor, one-size-fits-all laws don’t work.
Abortion later in pregnancy often results from a patient’s health or life being at risk, or because of serious complications with a pregnancy. Achieving the best possible outcomes in extremely complex pregnancies depends on the outstanding efforts of highly trained physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners. These experts would be severely impacted by this bill because a court would scrutinize the decisions they must make in real-time, high stress situations, when their only concern should be the patient.
This dishonest bill is designed to drive a false narrative about reproductive health care for political purposes. There is no such thing as an abortion resulting in “infanticide.” It doesn’t happen. Harm to anyone, including a newborn, is illegal. The politicians pushing this bill are the same people who are trying to ban abortion entirely.
Yet, the consequences of this bill are very real and could affect families dealing with complicated and tragic decisions related to pregnancy complications, early labor, or a fatal fetal diagnosis. HB 233 could interfere with the doctors’ ability to provide the most-appropriate care for the family -- under the threat of criminal penalties -- and could dictate how parents get to spend the last few days or hours with their infants.
HB 434 would prohibit Medicaid insurance from covering abortion care -- something that already doesn’t happen in New Hampshire. Our state already does not allow state Medicaid insurance to going toward abortion care, and the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal insurance from being used in any way for abortion care. Patients seeking an abortion must already pay for their care out of pocket or use private insurance that covers abortion.
In addition, HB 434 would institute a gag rule that would ban tuition and fees from funding on-campus health centers at New Hampshire’s public colleges and universities, unless providers refused to make referrals for abortion.
HB 430 would put patient safety at risk by repealing New Hampshire’s reproductive health center buffer zone law. This law which passed with bipartisan support in 2014, is designed to strike a balance between patient safety and free speech. Everyone deserves to feel safe when accessing the health care they need.
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).