CONCORD -- Today, medical experts, patients, and advocates testified before the House Judiciary Committee in opposition to HB 233, HB 434, and HB 596. Instead of prioritizing Granite Staters’ health during this global pandemic, some state lawmakers are focused on these extreme bills that drive a false narrative about reproductive health care for political purposes.
Today concluded two days of hearings, during which dozens testified and thousands signed-in to oppose bills that attack access to sexual and reproductive health care. See our press release here for details about Tuesday’s hearings on bills that would ban abortion later in pregnancy and repeal New Hampshire’s reproductive health center “buffer zone” law.
Why PPNHAF and PPNNE Oppose HB 233:
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.
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.
Testimony Opposing HB 233
Kayla Montgomery, Senior Director of Public Affairs for PPNHAF and PPNNE, explained how “born alive” bills create an inflammatory and misleading dialogue:
“The danger with this bill is that it could restrict and dictate the standard of care in very complicated circumstances and it could interfere with the doctors’ ability to provide the most-appropriate care for the family. And it does it under the threat of criminal penalties.”
Dr. Julia Mead, an Obstetrician-Gynecologist in New Hampshire, detailed how this bill could interfere with tragic situations where parents want to spend their last moments with their child:
“Unfortunately, her water broke a few days later and she delivered her daughter, Grace, shortly afterwards. There were no medical interventions that could have saved her daughter, and performing procedures such as inserting breathing tubes and IVs would have kept her from spending whatever moments she had with her daughter.”
Why PPNHAF and PPNNE Oppose HB 434 and HB 596
HB 434 and HB 596 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 from 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, both bills would institute gag rules that prevent Granite State medical providers from offering complete, medically-accurate information to patients. HB 434 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 596, which is even more far-reaching, would prohibit any and all state funding for any health care provider who even talks about abortion referrals.
Testimony Opposing 434 and HB 596
Liz Canada, Advocacy Manager for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund, detailed how HB 434 gags providers at public colleges and universities in New Hampshire:
“This bill prohibits health clinics at our public colleges and universities from providing all options when patients face unintended pregnancies, including information about or referrals for abortion care. It prohibits providers from giving their patients -- our public college students -- the full range of information. That’s a gag on providers.”
Dr. Ashley Lamb, a physician at University of New Hampshire Health & Wellness, explained through written testimony how HB 434 would restrict communications with her patients:
“I am very concerned about how this bill would impact my role as a physician and my relationship with my patients. Students turn to me as a provider to help them when they have questions or concerns about their health.”
Jake Berry, Vice President of Policy for New Futures, detailed how HB 434 and HB 596 seek to prevent something that isn’t happening by banning state Medicaid from covering abortion care.
“If passed, this prohibition would not only be harmful and discriminatory, but it would be fully redundant. New Hampshire already does not allow for Medicaid to cover abortion care, and the federal Hyde Amendment also prohibits federal insurance, such as Medicaid, from covering abortions.”
You can find the oral and written testimony submitted by patients and providers by clicking here.
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).