CONCORD, NH – During a Senate Judiciary Committee executive session on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, the majority of the committee rejected SB 181, legislation that would enshrine abortion rights in state statute before 24-weeks. The Access to Abortion-care Act would not change any current state abortion laws, but would provide critical assurance to Granite Staters in this post-Roe environment.
An overwhelming majority of people signing in for the public hearing on January 31 supported SB 181: 1,430 people signed in to support the Access to Abortion-care Act, with just 424 opposed.
After the vote, Liz Canada, Advocacy Manager at Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, released the following statement:
“Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer, our country’s reproductive health care landscape has been in chaos. While abortion remains safe and legal in New Hampshire, for now, we are the only state in New England without proactive protections for abortion rights – even though the vast majority of Granite Staters support access to safe, legal abortion.
The Senate Judiciary Committee had an opportunity today to provide clarity to Granite Staters, but instead, a majority of committee members refused to take action to protect abortion rights in our state. While we are incredibly discouraged by today’s vote, we know this is not over. We urge the full Senate, and their colleagues in the House of Representatives, to support the Access to Abortion-care Act and ensure that the people of New Hampshire have the right to make personal, private health care decisions without government interference.”
- August 2022 polling by the Saint Anselm College Survey Center shows that support for abortion rights in New Hampshire is at a historic high and nearly 6 in 10 voters disapproved of the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022.
- Polling released in July, 2021 from the UNH Survey Center shows that New Hampshire’s newly-enacted 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.
The New Hampshire Landscape:
- Without Roe, abortion is still safe and legal in New Hampshire until 24 weeks – for now. A bill to ban abortion would have to pass to further dismantle access to abortion.
- The restrictions on abortion in New Hampshire are clear: access to abortion at or after 24 weeks is banned, with no exceptions for rape or incest and doctors face criminalization.
- There are no protections in New Hampshire state law for abortion access. Instead, NH RSA 329:49 — part of the 24-week abortion ban passed in 2021 — states: “Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as creating or recognizing a right to abortion.”
- New Hampshire is the only state in New England without proactive protections for abortion rights in state statutes or our state constitution.
New Hampshire’s Access to Abortion-care Act (AAA)
- House Bill 88 and Senate Bill 181 would put abortion rights into state statute. If passed into law, it would proactively protect the future of abortion rights in the Granite State.
- The Access to Abortion-care Act upholds long-held New Hampshire values by enshrining the right to make personal, private health decisions regarding abortion in law.
- The AAA does not change anything about current New Hampshire abortion laws; it does, however, provide critical protections to ensure that Granite Staters can work with their doctors to get the health care they need in the majority of situations.