New Hampshire House Rejects Effort to Enshrine Abortion Rights In State Law
For Immediate Release: May 4, 2022
CONCORD - Today, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted multiple times against efforts to add proactive protections for abortion access before 24-weeks to New Hampshire’s state statute and constitution. The votes come just days after Politico published a leaked draft Supreme Court majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that explicitly overturns Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The draft majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, openly overrules Roe and Casey, stating that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start” and “we hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”
If the Supreme Court allows states to ban abortion, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion, but abortion will still be legal in New Hampshire until 24 weeks.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“The majority of the House of Representatives’ continued refusal to even consider legislation to protect access to safe, legal abortion in New Hampshire is nothing short of an insult to Granite Staters, especially given this week’s shocking draft Supreme Court decision decimating abortion rights and overturning Roe v. Wade.
While abortion remains safe and legal before 24-weeks in New Hampshire - for now - we are the only state in New England that does not have proactive protections for abortion rights enshrined in state statutes. We are an island and Granite Staters’ rights are on the line in the future.
In this crisis moment every lawmaker should be working to ensure reproductive freedom, especially in a state with such bipartisan support for abortion rights. We know that banning abortion does not take away people’s needs to access abortion care. Patients should not face the shame and overwhelming hurdles that will come from the Supreme Court’s decision - and our state government’s refusal to take action. And we will do everything we can to help those patients get abortion care safely.”
Today’s House Votes:
- The House voted 159-173 against a motion to special order SB 399, relative to New Hampshire’s current abortion ban and ultrasound mandate.
- The House voted 158-173 against taking HB 1674, the Access to Abortion-care Act, off the table.
- The House voted 157-174 against taking CACR 18 off the table, which would enshrine reproductive rights in the state Constitution.
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.
New Hampshire Abortion Restrictions:
- Currently, New Hampshire law prohibits abortion at or after 24-weeks gestation, with limited exceptions for the life of the pregnant person. This law, passed as part of the state budget in 2021, also mandates ultrasounds for every person seeking abortion care at every stage of pregnancy, regardless of medical necessity. Legislation has been passed by the House and Senate that would add a critical exception for fatal fetal diagnoses to this law and repeal the ultrasound mandate provision; HB 1609 will next go to Governor Sununu’s desk.
- New Hampshire minors are required to notify a parent/guardian prior to an abortion; a judicial waiver is also an option.
Governor Sununu’s Past Statements and Actions Related to Roe v. Wade and Abortion Access in New Hampshire:
- After the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Governor Chris Sununu stated erroneously that the case was not related to Roe v. Wade: “No, I’m not really paying attention to that case, and we’ll see where it goes, but that case does not decide Roe v. Wade.”
- In 2018, Sununu put his full support behind Justice Kavanaugh. Because of his appointment to the Supreme Court, it is now very likely, as the SCOTUS leak indicates, that by June half of our country could lose access to safe, legal abortion.
- In 2020, Sununu vetoed the Reproductive Health Parity Act, which would have removed financial barriers for people seeking access to abortion.
- On June 25, 2021, Sununu signed New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history into law. Sununu’s abortion ban criminalizes doctors, requires forced ultrasounds for all people seeking abortion care, and fails to make excemptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal diagnoses.
- Recent UNH Survey Center polling released in February, 2022, shows that New Hampshire overwhelmingly supports Roe v. Wade. Across the state, 65% of Granite Staters want the new Supreme Court Justice to be someone who would vote to uphold Roe v. Wade - including a majority of registered Democrats, registered undeclared, and registered Republican voters. Just 20% of Granite Staters want the next Supreme Court Justice to vote to overturn Roe.
- 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.
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.