CONCORD – On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard powerful testimony from medical experts, patients, and advocates opposing HB 625 and HB 233, two extreme and cruel bills that block access to health care and interfere with the patient-provider relationship.
Opponents highlighted that these bills would dismantle Granite Staters’ reproductive rights and criminalize medical professionals who provide critical, compassionate care to women and families in often heartbreaking situations.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, Director of Public Affairs for PPNHAF/PPNNE on today’s hearings:
“HB 233 and HB 625 are dangerous and cruel bills that politicize complex situations at the expense of truth and compassion. Pregnancy is not predictable. Each pregnancy and each circumstance is unique and bills like these simply can’t account for every situation. These bills have no place in New Hampshire – or anywhere – because the government should not be interfering in patient-provider relationships and criminalizing doctors. If passed, HB 233 and HB 625 would have real and devastating consequences for families. The Senate must reject these bills.”
HB 625 bans abortion after 24 weeks with very narrow exceptions, including none for the health of the fetus. HB 625 would also criminalize health care providers with a class B felony and up to seven years in prison.
HB 233 pushes a false narrative about reproductive health care for political purposes. It’s important to note that HB 233 is not an abortion bill. HB 233 would impact tragic situations where the newborn will not survive regardless of interventions, including early labor or a fatal fetal diagnosis. HB 233 interferes with much-wanted pregnancies when families want to leave the hospital with their newborn. HB 233 could deny families who are grieving the loss of their child the ability to choose the compassionate care that’s best for them, such as religious rites and sacraments. Instead, the bill could force parents to have their infant undergo invasive and futile medical procedures. Families deserve to be able to decide what is best for them in these situations. Any disagreement among providers in what is deemed “medically appropriate” could result in a colleague filing a report with law enforcement, with a threat of a minimum of 7 ½ years imprisonment.
HB 625 and HB 233 both received bipartisan opposition from the House Judiciary Committee.
Excerpts from Testimony Opposing HB 625
Kayla Montgomery, Senior Director of Public Affairs for PPNNE and PPNHAF:
“There is no one-size-fits-all process when it comes to deciding if, when, or how you choose to start a family. And there is no one-size-fits-all pregnancy either. Any doctor can tell you – every pregnancy is unique. Families making these decisions in these unique circumstances deserve our compassion and support – not judgment and certainly not government interference.”
Dana Peirce from Yarmouth, ME:
“In short, Cameron was actively suffering, and faced death by suffocation if he managed to make it to term and survive delivery. I cannot really put into words the intensity of anguish and grief that my husband and I felt in those moments, and in the days and weeks that followed. But I must emphasize that my strongest thoughts were that I would not let my son suffer any longer than he already had.”
Excerpts from Testimony Opposing HB 233
Liz Canada, Advocacy Manager, for PPNNE and PPNHAF:
“We are talking about devastating circumstances. We are talking about families who have days, hours, or minutes with their newborn before that child passes – and passage of this bill could dictate how they can and cannot grieve their child in those precious – and final – moments.This bill has real and devastating consequences to families who are grieving the loss of their child and want to be able to make personal decisions, such as religious rites and sacraments.”
Written testimony from Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Exeter, NH, a former hospice chaplain:
“The moments after a child who will not survive is born are excruciatingly sad. They are also deeply sacred. Parents ache for the opportunity to hold their child, name their child, and acknowledge that this child is real for the brief period in which they are in the world. Sometimes they ask for baptism. Other times they simply want to hold them. You haven't seen the depths of love until you've seen the eyes of a parent who holds their child that will not survive for the first time. This bill would rob parents and families of these sacred, and essential moments.”
Nancy from NH:
“Those minutes with him are the only memory I have of him and I cannot begin to describe to you what those moments have done for my emotional and mental healing. I am forever grateful that the medical providers listened to me and my husband and ensured we had the time to spend with Sawyer and make that sweet memory that helps me get through every single day. A wise pastor once told me that the greatest pain one could ever experience is the loss of a child.”
Laura from NH:
“When she was born, we saw her eyes were still fused shut. We knew that meant we only had a small amount of time with her. The staff cleaned, weighed, and measured her. They swaddled her in a blanket and gave her to my husband and me to hold. The staff also took pictures of her and we took some as well. Her heart stopped beating approximately 40 minutes after her birth. We were so grateful to be able to hold, hug, and protect our precious little daughter for the time she had.”
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).