The Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last year left the state of abortion rights across the country in question. While abortion remains safe and legal up to 24 weeks in the Granite State, this was especially true here in New Hampshire, where there are no proactive protections for abortion. This year, state lawmakers had the opportunity to draw a line in the sand and make clear that they understand and care about the concerns of Granite Staters on abortion access- and they failed to do so.
Last week, NH senators rejected two important bills that would have been positive steps in New Hampshire’s protection of abortion access for abortion access, HB 224 and HB 88.
HB 224 would have repealed the criminal and civil penalties medical providers currently face under New Hampshire’s 24-week abortion ban. New Hampshire should not be in the business of punishing doctors for providing medical care, and in fact, policies like those in New Hampshire’s current 24-week ban discourage qualified medical professionals from practicing in the state.
HB 88, the Access to Abortion-care Act, would have placed the right to have an abortion into state law. While this bill wouldn’t have changed the current state of abortion access in New Hampshire, it would have provided protection against future attacks on abortion rights. Due to its failure, New Hampshire remains the only state in New England with no proactive protections for the right to abortion.
New Hampshire Senators rejected these two bills in a vote along party lines, with all senate republicans voting “inexpedient to legislate” to kill the bills. All senate democrats voted in support of the bills. Both of these bills had previously passed in the state House of Representatives and were only a senate vote away from landing on the Governor's desk.
Amidst continued attacks on abortion access nationwide - the devastating ruling out of Texas regarding medication abortion took place just days before these disappointing votes - New Hampshire lawmakers’ failure to enact even basic legislation to protect abortion access in the Granite State is unconscionable. With the ongoing Mifepristone case, we have seen that those in opposition to abortion are going after access regardless of what state you live in. New Hampshire needs to take steps now to ensure that Granite Staters today and in the future have access to abortion care.
We know that abortion access seems to be confusing at the moment, and there is a lot of information being put out about access. Importantly abortion is still safe and legal in New Hampshire up to 24 weeks, and medication abortion, including Mifepristone, is still available.
Along with our partners, we’ll continue to fight for abortion access in New Hampshire and advocate on behalf of all Granite Staters. Abortion is healthcare and healthcare is a human right. Lawmakers have no place imposing arbitrary restrictions on pregnant people and limiting their access to vital healthcare.
If you want to take action to defend abortion rights in New Hampshire, contact your state senator and tell them how you feel about their vote on HB 88 and HB 224. Find your senator and how to contact them here.