Concord - Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an emergency request to block a Texas law that went into effect on September 1 which bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy in defiance of Roe v. Wade. This egregious attack had immediate and rippling effects across the country, but supporters of abortion rights are galvanized into action like never before.
In New Hampshire, politicians continue to attack abortion rights, as well reproductive rights at large, even though it is deeply unpopular. This summer, Governor Sununu signed the most regressive budget for reproductive health in our state’s history, which includes an abortion ban that criminalizes doctors and has limited exceptions, including none for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomalies. The budget also mandates ultrasounds prior to all abortion care, even when medically unnecessary. These changes go into effect on January 1, 2022.
Additionally, this month, New Hampshire’s Executive Council is expected to vote on NH Family Planning Program contracts. The Family Planning Program covers preventative sexual and reproductive health care, such as birth control, well-person exams, STI testing and treatment, and cancer screenings, for more than 15,000 low-income and uninsured Granite Staters. The Family Planning Program cannot and does not fund abortion care. Yet, the majority of councilors, through past votes or campaign promises, have made it clear that they want to restrict abortion with such ferocity that they would be willing to defund the Family Planning Program, even though they know funds in this program cannot be used for abortion care.
In the upcoming legislative session, New Hampshire abortion rights providers and advocates will fight back against any and all further abortion restrictions, knowing that the enacted law in Texas may further embolden anti-abortion lawmakers here in the Granite State.
New Hampshire has four locations where Granite Staters can seek safe, legal, compassionate abortion care: Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Keene and Manchester health centers; Equality Health Center in Concord; and Lovering Health Center in Greenland. While these providers are now forced to add a barrier to abortion access by requiring patients to undergo mandatory, possibly invasive, ultrasounds, even when medically unnecessary -- a key provision of Governor Sununu’s abortion ban -- they will continue to provide safe, legal abortion care for anyone who needs it, regardless of income or zip code.
Statement from Equality Health Center Executive Director, Dalia Vidunas
“What is happening in Texas is a full-scale assault on our reproductive health, and here in New Hampshire, we are not immune to further attacks. We stand in solidarity with Texas, but this isn’t just a Texas issue. The right to safe, legal abortion is under attack everywhere, including here in New Hampshire. But the public is on our side and we will continue to provide the full range of reproductive health, including abortion care, for our patients.”
Statement from Lovering Health Center Executive Director, Sandi Denoncour
“We stand in solidarity with reproductive rights advocates, abortion providers, and patients in Texas and across the country. For nearly five decades, abortion has been safe and legal in this country, and we will not go back. Lovering Health Center is proud to offer compassionate abortion care for our patients. Make no mistake, anti-abortion extremists will not stop here, but we will not back down.”
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs, PPNNE/PPNHAF:
“An attack on abortion rights anywhere is an attack on abortion rights everywhere. From Texas to New Hampshire, it is clear that this is not what the majority of people want their elected officials focusing on. This decision is an unprecedented assault on the constitutional right to privacy. With our rights on the line and public opinion on our side, Planned Parenthood will continue to serve the sexual and reproductive health needs of Granite Staters, including access to safe, legal abortion.”
To contribute directly to patients who need financial services to obtain abortion care:
Background on SB 8:
The Texas Policy Evaluation Project estimates the law will mean only 16% of Texans seeking abortion will be able to get care in-state. Those who can afford to travel hundreds of miles out of state (an average increase of 7 hours round trip), take time off work, arrange child care and transportation, and pay out-of-pocket can get an abortion out of state, but as many of 46% of people seeking abortions in Texas will likely carry their pregnancies to term against their will.
The Texas bill is part of a national agenda to end access to abortion in this country. With nearly 600 abortion restrictions introduced this year alone — 90 of which were enacted — 2021 has been the most hostile legislative year for reproductive rights and health since Roe was decided nearly 50 years ago and later this fall the Supreme Court will hear the first direct challenge to Roe v. Wade on a case from Mississippi that could render Roe v. Wade meaningless.