One thing that Roe v. Wade has shown us is that it doesn’t matter until it matters.
Recently, NH legislators hijacked our State budget to force a cruel abortion ban while the Executive Council refused funding for family planning centers, leaving low-income families without access to routine health care. When we have access to a full range of health care services, including sex education, birth control, abortion, and maternity care, we are healthier and our families bloom.
The government has no place getting between a woman and her doctor.
GOVERNOR SUNUNU AND NH REPUBLICAN’S ABORTION BAN
Governor Chris Sununu promised he wouldn’t back any abortion restrictions. However, the first modern abortion ban in New Hampshire’s history, and one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, was snuck into NH’s budget – because it could not stand on its own, without becoming part of a large, omnibus bill. Sununu could have blocked it. He signed it into law with no exceptions for rape, incest, the life of the mother, or for fatal fetal anomalies, and it required a vaginal ultrasound before any abortion could be performed.
Sununu’s abortion ban was amended, and the ban in place now no longer requires a vaginal ultrasound and allows for the LIFE of the mother and fetal defects. It still has no exceptions for rape or incest, and threatens providers with up to seven years in prison. It still means a woman facing serious and tragic health complications could have to sit in a hospital and wait until she gets even sicker before the law deems her life in enough danger to receive necessary care. Those kinds of delays could prevent a woman from having future children and can even be fatal.
Sununu has compared his abortion ban to the one in Massachusetts, ignoring the fact that Mass allows for the HEALTH of the mother, while NH specifies the LIFE of the mother. This forces the doctors who provide appropriate medical care to have to consider that they may face a felony conviction and up to seven years in prison if they make a questionable decision – one which, a short time ago, would have been routine.
LATE TERM ABORTIONS
One argument we have frequently is a concern about “late-term abortions.”
According to an analysis conducted by the CDC in 2015, abortions after 24 weeks comprise less than 1% of all abortions in the United States. “Late-term abortions” or third-trimester abortions are medical misinformation sensationalized by anti-abortion politicians and activists to distract and mislead people about what is medically factual and realistic about abortion care. Abortions later in pregnancy occur in circumstances where the life or health of the pregnant person is at risk and/or the fetus cannot survive outside the womb (fetal anomaly).
WHERE MIGHT THE END OF ROE v. Wade LEAD?
• Earlier this year, 85% of New Hampshire House Republicans voted to move forward with legislation to implement a Texas-style ban, and now NH’s current governor has said he’s open to further restrictions. Members of the US Senate are proposing at 15-week ban. There are rumors that the NH Republicans want to implement a 6-week abortion ban – before most women even know that they are pregnant.
• Earlier this month, the Executive Council voted to pause funding for a long-standing after-school sexual health education program for at-risk adolescents. The program is aimed at lowering teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and is typically taught outside school hours. Research has shown that increased funding for sexual education programs has led to lower teen birth rates nationally.
• Earlier this year, the Executive Council voted to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit organization that provides sexual health. They provide birth control, STD testing, and HIV services for men and women, men’s health services (including fertility, sexual dysfunction, and routine checkups), and women’s services (including pelvic exams, cancer screenings, and pregnancy-related services.) Their primary care, which may be the only health care that some might have, helps to find problems that may need treatment. (Planned Parenthood also helps with abortions, but those cannot be funded by tax dollars. The Hyde Amendment, passed by Congress in 1976, bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions with exceptions for when the life of the pregnant person is in danger or when the pregnancy results from sexual assault or incest.)
• On Oct 18, 2022, the NH House Judiciary Committee voted 12-7 not to recommend legislation giving the father the right to contest in court a mother’s plan to get an abortion. (HB1181). However, 7 of the 19 Republican Representatives voted to give fathers the right to control a woman’s body and block an abortion.
• NH Senate candidate, Don Bolduc, has expressed that in vitro fertilization, at times the only option some families have of having children, is “a disgusting practice” and would not rule out supporting a national ban on the procedure.
• On July 21, the US House voted on H.R.8373 the “Right to Contraception Act, an act to protect a person’s ability to access contraceptives and to engage in contraception, and to protect a health care provider’s ability to provide contraceptives, contraception, and information related to contraception.” 220 Democrats and 8 Republicans voted in support of this. 195 Republicans voted against this, with two Republicans voting “Present.”
All persons should have the right to make their own reproductive and health decisions. Access to preventative medical care should not be a political issue. Everyone should be able to get the care they need, when they need it, at a price they can afford. Contraceptives and cancer screenings should be accessible to all. Everyone should have the freedom to decide if, when, and how to start a family. There should be no government interference with family planning, medical privacy, and reproductive health care.
Reproductive rights do not belong to the State. They do not belong in the NH House. They belong in the Home, as a decision made by a woman with her doctor.
- Should we reduce a family’s freedom to choose, from abortion to contraceptives, to when and how they start a family? That’s not NH.
Consider the Coat Hanger
- Abortion Access in New Hampshire
This is part two of a 4-part series.
Part 1: EVERYTHING is on the line.
Part 2: Reproductive Freedom is on the line.
Part 3: Public Schools are on the line.
Part 4: The 3 E’s — Environment, Energy and the Economy — are on the line.