NH Republicans File 15-Day Abortion Ban Bill

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Rep. David Testerman, R-Franklin


CONCORD – Several New Hampshire Republicans filed legislation for a 15-day abortion ban, the strictest gestational period compared to other state abortion laws that provide a time window for when a woman can seek an abortion.

The bill, which will be heard on the House floor when the 2024 session begins in January prohibits abortion if the fetus is older than 15 days from conception. As the bill reads, the only exception to the law is in cases of medical emergency, defined as: “a condition in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, or when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

As written, the bill does not specify exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

The legislation would also punish any health care provider “who knowingly performs or induces an abortion in violation of this subdivision and knows that the fetus has a gestational age of at least 15 days, or consciously disregards a substantial risk that the fetus has a gestational age of at least 15 days.”

In addition to any other court-ordered penalties, providers in violation of the law would be fined between $10,000 and $100,000.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, signs of pregnancy may not show until weeks after conception, with symptoms that can be mistaken for other conditions, such as signs of stress or a woman’s menstrual cycle.

The proposed legislation is a partisan bill with Republican sponsors Rep. Dave Testerman, Merrimack 3, Rep. John Sellers, Grafton 18, Rep. Kristine Perez, Rockingham 16, and Sen. Carrie Gendreau, District 1.

According to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the current abortion law in New Hampshire bans abortion after 24 weeks with exceptions for fatal fetal diagnoses and the life of the pregnant woman. It also requires that anyone below the age of 18 who seeks an abortion would have their parents notified 48 hours before the procedure.

In June 2021, the Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund expressed outrage at Gov. Sununu’s decision to sign what they called an “anti-reproductive healthcare budget” which banned abortion after 24 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest, found in HB 625. The budget also required pre-abortion ultrasounds, which have since been removed.

Kayla Montgomery, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund, issued the following statement via email following the news of the bill:

“Extreme lawmakers introduce abortion bans every year in New Hampshire—but with Roe v. Wade gone and no protections in our state for abortion rights, this bill is extremely dangerous. This near-total ban prohibits abortion before most people even know that they are pregnant. Banning abortion is deeply unpopular everywhere, and especially here in New Hampshire.

“Abortion must remain safe, legal, and accessible here in New Hampshire, because every Granite Stater deserves the freedom to make their own personal, private medical decisions. Politicians like Representative Dave Testerman, Representative John Sellers, Representative Kristine Perez, and Senator Carrie Gendreau have no place interfering in these decisions.”

There were no gestational limitations on abortion in New Hampshire until 2021. The law currently still criminalizes doctors and threatens them with jail time and has no exceptions for sexual assault survivors, Montgomery said.

Rep. Testerman and the NH GOP did not respond to requests seeking comment on the bill.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party issued a statement to address the bill as well:

“The MAGA majority is going to new extremes in their radical agenda to take away reproductive freedoms, filing a draconian ban on abortion at just 15 days — before most women even know they are pregnant. If passed, this legislation — which makes no exceptions for rape or incest — would be one of the cruelest, most restrictive bans in the country, and thousands of Granite Staters will suffer.

“Make no mistake: Donald Trump’s appointment of the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade is the reason MAGA extremists are more empowered to push bans like this in New Hampshire and across the country. This dangerous ban has no place in New Hampshire, and Republicans running for president, governor, and every office down the ballot need to tell Granite Staters exactly where they stand on this legislation.”

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