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CONCORD This year’s 603 Day - June 3, 2022 - marks the 25th anniversary of the repeal of New Hampshire’s pre-Roe anti-abortion laws. A bipartisan bill, SB 34, was signed into law by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen on June 3, 1997 after passing through Republican controlled legislative chambers. Since this pivotal moment, legislative attacks on abortion access have increased at the state and federal level, resulting in the enactment of New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history on January 1, 2022 and the imminent overturning of Roe v. Wade this month. 

Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:

“With the US Supreme Court poised to dismantle our constitutional right to safe, legal abortion by sending this decision back to state politicians, we are grateful that then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen and New Hampshire’s past Republican and Democratic legislative leaders repealed our state’s pre-Roe anti-abortion laws. Their bipartisan foresight ensures that abortion will remain safe and legal before 24 weeks in the Granite State, regardless of what happens at the Supreme Court this month.  

While it’s clear from our history that New Hampshire has a long, proud tradition of supporting reproductive rights and voters overwhelmingly oppose efforts to ban abortion, those values are not presently reflected in the State House. The future of abortion access in New Hampshire depends on the election of lawmakers who will fight to ensure abortion is safe, legal, and accessible. Planned Parenthood will always fight for a future where every Granite Stater has the right to make personal, private decisions regarding sexual and reproductive health - and access to the health care they need - no matter what.” 

BACKGROUND:

Abortion Access in New Hampshire Since 1997 - A Brief Timeline

  • June 3, 1997: Then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen signed SB 34 into law, repealing three pre-Roe anti-abortion laws in New Hampshire.
    • SB 34 sponsors: Senator Richard Russman (R); Senator Burt Cohen (D); Senator Beverly Hollingworth (D); Senator Edward (Ned) Gordon (R); Representative Sandra Keans (D); Representative Merle Schotanus (R); Representative Liz Hager (R); Representative Martha Fuller Clark (D); Representative Terie Norelli (D)
  • June 19, 2003: Then-Governor Craig Benson signed HB 763 into law, requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion care, which lacked explicit exception to protect the health of the pregnant minor.
  • Nov. 30, 2005: Then-Attorney General Kelly Ayotte appealed the decision of the lower courts and argued Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England at the U.S. Supreme Court. 
  • Jan. 16, 2006: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously, 9-0, affirming the lower court’s decision in favor of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
  • June 29, 2007: Then-Governor John Lynch signed HB 184, legislation to repeal the parental notification law that was struck down by the Supreme Court.
  • June 22, 2011: The New Hampshire Legislature overrode Governor Lynch’s veto of HB 329, requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortion care.
  • Jan. 1, 2012: New Hampshire’s parental notification law took effect - the first abortion restriction enacted since then-Governor Shaheen repealed the pre-Roe anti-abortion laws.
  • June 25, 2021: Governor Chris Sununu signed HB 2 into law, which contained a ban on abortion at 24-weeks with no exception for rape, incest, or fatal fetal diagnosis and an ultrasound mandate for all people seeking abortion care, at every stage of pregnancy, regardless of medical necessity. 
  • Jan. 1, 2022: New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history took effect, prohibiting abortion care at or after 24 weeks with limited exceptions and requiring ultrasounds for all abortion care.
  • Spring 2022: - The New Hampshire House and Senate rejected efforts to enshrine abortion rights before 24-weeks in state statute; the Access to Abortion-care Act was filed as HB 1674 and SB 436.
  • May 27, 2022: Governor Sununu signed HB 1609 into law, which addresses some of the harm his abortion ban causes by adding a critical exception for fatal fetal diagnoses and repealing the ultrasound mandate.

 

New Hampshire Abortion Ban:

  • In 2021, Governor Sununu signed into law New Hampshire’s first abortion ban in modern history. Effective January 1, 2022, abortions are prohibited at or after 24 weeks. After extensive legislative efforts, there are now exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses to the abortion ban and the ultrasound mandate for all abortion care has been removed.
  • 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.

Polling:

  • 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. 
  • The UNH Survey Center polling released in February, 2022 shows that New Hampshire overwhelmingly supports Roe v. Wade. Across the state, 65 percent 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 percent 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 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. 

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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 5 health centers in 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.

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