CONCORD - On Thursday, February 3, 2022, the New Hampshire Senate voted 14-10 to pass SB 399 as amended in Committee, which will next go to New Hampshire House for consideration. The bill preserves the unpopular and cruel abortion ban with no exceptions.The amended bill does provide critical clarification to mitigate the harm of New Hampshire’s ultrasound mandate for abortion care. Repeated floor amendments to add exceptions to the ban for rape, incest, and fatal fetal diagnoses were rejected - Including an amendment identical to a proposed bill, HB 1609, which had the full support of Governor Sununu, who signed this abortion ban into law last year.
During the Senate hearing on SB 399, public health experts testified that the current law will negatively impact access to care and could be detrimental for the state’s ability to recruit maternal fetal medicine specialists. When this new law was being debated last year, nearly 200 New Hampshire health care providers expressed their opposition to this law. On February 2, 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”
At the January 19 hearing, 1,764 individuals signed in support of SB 399 while 1,037 opposed.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“Today, the Senate shamefully turned their backs on medical professionals and on the women of New Hampshire who have sounded the alarms for months about the harm that Governor Sununu and Senator Morse’s abortion ban causes.
Granite State women and families who find themselves in complex circumstances surrounding pregnancy, like a fatal fetal diagnosis or a pregnancy as a result of rape or incest, deserve our compassion and support - not shame and certainly not arbitrary bans on abortion care. The Senate’s refusal to add exceptions for these situations to the state abortion ban is extreme. Today’s vote denies medical providers the ability to provide patient-centered care and jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of New Hampshire women and girls.”
24-Week Abortion Ban:
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.
Nearly 200 New Hampshire medical providers opposed this bill during the legislative process.
Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Written Testimony:
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund supports HB 1673, which has been filed in the House to repeal the ultrasound mandate and abortion ban.
The House is also considering HB 1609, which as introduced would add exceptions to the abortion ban and repeal the ultrasound mandate provision. HB 1609 was amended in Committee to preserve the abortion ban but mitigate the harm caused by the ultrasound mandate.
On Wednesday, Feburary 9, the House Judiciary committee will hear a package of extreme bills - some of the harshest proposed measures in the country, including a six week abortion ban.
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.