CONCORD — Recently, Governor Sununu was asked on WMUR’s CloseUp if he believed abortion is an economic issue. Sununu said, “No…we don’t talk about it as an economic issue,” however, economists agree that access to reproductive health care, including abortion and birth control, is an issue of economic security and opportunity, as well as an issue of bodily autonomy.
As established by the Turnaway Study, women who are denied access to abortion experience lasting economic hardship and insecurity, including an increase in household poverty, higher unemployment, lowered credit scores, increased debt, and an increased number of negative public financial records, including bankruptcies and evictions. The study also revealed the financial wellbeing and development of children is negatively impacted when their mothers are denied abortion care, including worse child development, increased likelihood of living below the federal poverty level, and poorer maternal bonding.
Additionally, access to contraceptives results in higher participation among women in the workforce as well as higher wages, reports the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. New Hampshire’s Executive Council has jeopardized access to birth control for thousands of Granite Staters through multiple votes to defund family planning providers, including four times under Governor Sununu’s leadership, and in 2015 when then-Councilor Sununu cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“Abortion is an economic issue. Just because Governor Sununu denies it, doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Abortion bans and a lack of access to abortion care and birth control cause economic harm to women and pregnant people. Determining if, when, and how we become pregnant and start a family is essential to controlling our health, wellbeing, and our lives - and that includes our careers and economic futures. At Planned Parenthood, we know that healthy families, healthy communities, and a healthy economy start with quality, affordable, compassionate health care, no matter what.”
Abortion Access is Key for Individual Economic Security
- Studies have shown access to abortion increased women’s probability of graduating college by 72%, with an even larger effect for Black women, whose chances of completing college increased 2- to 3-fold.
- According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, abortion access increased women’s workforce participation.
- Access to legal abortion decreased the percentage of children who grew up in poverty by 0.54% and improved their future life outcomes, including college attendance rates.
The Turnaway Study:
- The Turnaway Study, conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, “is the first study to rigorously examine the effects of receiving versus being denied a wanted abortion on women and their children.” The study followed nearly 1,000 women seeking abortion from 30 facilities around the United States, and features interviews conducted over a 5 year period. It found:
- Women denied access to abortion had almost 4 times greater odds of living below the federal poverty level and 3 times greater odds of being unemployed.
- Women denied access to abortion were more likely to not have enough money to pay for basic family necessities like food, housing, and transportation.
- Women denied access to abortion were more likely to remain in contact with violent partners.
- Existing children of women denied access to abortion were more than 3 times more likely to live in households below the federal poverty level and were less likely to achieve developmental milestones than children of women who received abortions.
Sununu’s Attacks on Reproductive Health Care:
- In 2015, then Executive Councilor Chris Sununu cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire, jeopardizing access to family planning care for thousands of Granite Staters.
- In 2016, when Sununu ran for governor in a contentious primary, he laid out steps he would take to restrict abortion access in NH once elected.
- In 2018, Sununu put his full support behind Justice Kavanaugh. Because of his appointment to SCOTUS - which led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade - the states that are banning or deeply restricting abortion access continues to rise, and it’s very likely that soon 26 states - which is the equivalent of 36 million, or half, of all women of reproductive age - will 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.
- As Governor, Sununu signed a budget that underfunded the Family Planning Program and silently watched his Republican colleagues gut that program by rejecting contracts with three reproductive health providers, including PPNNE.
- On June 25, 2021, Sununu signed New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history into law. Sununu’s abortion ban criminalized doctors, required forced ultrasounds for all people seeking abortion care, and failed to make exemptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal diagnoses.
- According to the Granite State Poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center in May 2022, 61 percent of Granite Staters oppose overturning Roe v. Wade. 88 percent of registered Republicans believe abortion should be legal in all (23 percent) or some (65 percent) circumstances. Only 10 percent of Granite Staters believe that abortion should be illegal.
- 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 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 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.