This Tuesday, Feb. 9, the House Judiciary Committee is slated to hear two bills, HB 622 and HB 625, that would ban abortion later in pregnancy. Instead of prioritizing Granite Staters’ health during this global pandemic, some state lawmakers are focused on these cruel bills that target patients and doctors. The House Judiciary Committee will also hear bills this week that would deny insurance from covering abortion care (HB 434 and HB 596), drive a false narrative about abortion care (HB 233), and repeal New Hampshire’s patient safety zone law (HB 430).
The hearing for HB 622 and HB 625 is scheduled to be held on Tuesday at 9 am, and it will be streamed via Zoom: https://www.zoom.us/j/96805083773
Ahead of this hearing, we want to detail why bans on abortion later in pregnancy are harmful and why Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England oppose them. The bottom line is that people must have the freedom to make decisions about their pregnancies in consultation with their providers, without interference from politicians. Bills like these politicize complex situations at the expense of both truth and compassion.
If you have any questions about how to talk about abortion later in pregnancy or about any of the resources in this memo, we encourage you to reach out.
Summary of HB 622 and HB 625:
HB 622 is a ban on abortion once a pregnancy is determined viable. The precise date of viability is inexact and may vary with each pregnancy. Some pregnancies — no matter how many weeks — will never be viable. HB 622 does not allow for exceptions regarding the health of a fetus. Sometimes information regarding pregnancy, including the severity of a fetal diagnosis, only becomes known later in pregnancy. HB 622 criminalizes doctors and patients with up to seven years in prison.
HB 625 is a ban on abortion after 24 weeks, with very narrow exceptions, including none for the health of the fetus. Instead of acknowledging the complexities of medical decisions and respecting women’s and families’ decisions, this bill belittles the realities that these families face.
Why PPNHAF and PPNNE oppose HB 622 and HB 625:
Instead of prioritizing public health, the state legislators who have introduced these bills are trying to take away Granite Staters’ freedom to consult with their doctor about their own health care decisions. The politicians pushing these bills are the same people who are trying to ban abortion entirely.
Let’s be clear: these bills are attempts to interfere with the patient-provider relationship. Each pregnancy and each circumstance is unique. That’s why when people are making personal medical decisions with their doctor, one-size-fits-all laws don’t work.
Abortion later in pregnancy often results from a patient’s health or life being at risk, or because of serious complications with a pregnancy. Achieving the best possible outcomes in extremely complex pregnancies depends on the outstanding efforts of highly trained physicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners. These experts would be severely impacted by this bill because a court would scrutinize the decisions they must make in real-time, high stress situations, when their only concern should be the patient. These are situations in which seconds count.
Bans on abortion harm real people:
For example, Erika Christensen traveled from Brooklyn, NY, where abortion was banned after 24 weeks with no exception for the health of the fetus, to Colorado after she learned the son she was carrying had a number of malformations that doctors said were “incompatible with life.” “If he were born alive, he would suffocate either immediately or soon after birth,” she was told. In states that allow for exceptions for the health of the mother or fetus later in pregnancy, there are cases where a fetal anomaly is detected, but a physician is unable or unwilling to certify it as lethal, forcing the patient to travel out of state and further delay their abortion. In other cases, women have faced significant barriers to care, including domestic abuse or financial barriers, that delayed their abortion beyond the limitations in their state.
Talking about abortion later in pregnancy:
Medical professionals use the term abortion later in pregnancy. “Late-term abortion” is not a medical term; it is a political construct abortion opponents use to drive a false narrative about abortion care.
Infanticide is illegal, and does not happen. Any claims otherwise are blatantly false and simply not how medical care works. Inflammatory statements by anti-abortion extremists are used to scare people and stigmatize reproductive health care.
Abortion bans disproportionately harm those who already face the greatest barriers to care, including people with low incomes, people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disablities, and people in rural communities.
The politicians who are pushing this legislation are the same people who are trying to ban abortion entirely. And with the new 6-3 conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, the threat to Roe v. Wade and safe, legal abortion has never been more imminent.
Additionally, here are supplemental resources we would recommend:
Website: whonotwhen.com, Abortion Bans and Abortion Care ‘Later’ in Pregnancy
Website: Guttmacher Institute, Gestational Age Bans: Harmful at Any Stage of Pregnancy
Op-Ed: Truth Out, Why Supporting Families Who Have Abortions Later in Pregnancy Is My Life’s Work
Turnaway Study, Why Do People Have Later Abortions?
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).