GOP Senators Pass Bill Collecting Abortion Data Over Dems’ Objections

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Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, speaks in favor of Senate Bill 461 last Thursday in the state Senate.


CONCORD – A bill that would have New Hampshire collecting data on all abortions is now headed to the House of Representatives for consideration.

On Thursday, by a 14-9 vote along party lines, the Senate passed Senate Bill 461 which would require the state to collect data on the date, place, age, state of residence for the woman, method used, medication dispensed and gestational age of the fetus at an abortion.

Republicans, including Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, said the data would not be used to identify the woman or the doctor. Democrats, including Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, D-Nashua, said the language in the bill does not prohibit disclosure if collected by the state Health and Human Services Department. They said it would have a chilling effect on abortion and abortion providers and be an added cost for those who need to establish gestational age before they can terminate their pregnancy.

A government-forced ultrasound would be required to establish gestational age if the woman could not recall her last period and would be highly intrusive, said state Sen. Becky Whitley, D-Hopkinton. She noted that such an ultrasound to determine gestational status was eventually taken out of the state’s fetal protection act which now limits abortion to the first 24 weeks of pregnancy with some exceptions.  

This amendment to a bill sought by Democrats to remove confusing language, is “an outrageous overreach,” Whitley said, and a significant financial and logistical barrier to women in addition to a privacy violation.

Carson supported the measure and noted 46 other states collect this information. There is no requirement in the amendment to do an ultrasound and added this is a collection of “critical data on how many abortions occur a year.”

The amendment was placed in a bill sought by Democrats to remove confusing language in the Fetal Protection Act which reads,”nothing in this act shall be construed to create a right to an abortion.” That is also included in the bill.

There was no public hearing on the amendment that included the collection of this data, said Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham. She argued its insertion in the bill could be used to weaponize and penalize patients and providers.

“An abortion list can be created,” Altschiller said. 

Why, she asked, is there a new focus on abortion, rather than say on data on how many men are treated for erectile dysfunction, how many vasectomies?

The bill “serves only to scare providers and violate privacy,” she said of the amendment.

Sen. Carrie Gendreau, R-Littleton, supported the measure and asked Whitley if she believed statistics that show if a woman hears their baby’s heartbeat they walk away from an abortion. Whitley said “no” and said she knows of contrary data.

Sen. Regina Birdsell, R-Hampstead, said she would support the measure because “both sides” are getting something that they want.

Carson said the amendment is extremely clear.

“We just want to collect statistics,” she said.

“We have to depend on statistics from other states,” she said, to estimate abortion rates and it is time for the state to start producing its own data.

Democrats said that would cost money. 

Health and Human Services officials have estimated it would take at least two positions and a secure data portal.

Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party, said in a news release: “This is the latest example of the NH GOP’s extreme, anti-choice agenda that includes passing the first abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history and defunding Planned Parenthood. Make no mistake, the future of reproductive freedom and abortion access are on the ballot this November.” 

After the vote, the Senate Democratic Caucus released a statement: “With the passage of SB 461 as amended, Senate Republicans may now force providers to inform on their patients to the government, something that’s not required with any other health care procedure. We are outraged Senate Republicans chose to engage in this level of government overreach into the private health care decisions of Granite Staters. Senate Democrats will continue to fight for reproductive freedom and the privacy of Granite Staters private health care decisions.”


A bill that would have made it a Class A misdemeanor to carry a firearm in a safe school zone, Senate Bill 593, was killed by the Republican majority in the Senate.

Sen. Daryl Abbas, R-Salem, said it would be an infringement of Second Amendment rights.

Sen. Donovan Fenton, D-Keene, said as both a parent and a gun owner, the bill would offer children safety in a learning environment. He said the bill would not prohibit law enforcement to remain armed in the campus zone.

“How many kids have to be slaughtered?” Altschiller asked. She delivered statistics that are being collected nationally on school shootings.

She said the only protective zones in the state are the courts and schools should be treated the same.

Kids are traumatized and do not feel safe, Altschiller said, while at the same time watch the constant incidents on television which somehow normalize school shootings.

“Please, let’s put the children and those entrusted to teach them first,” Altschiller said.

Carson said the state has spent millions to improve security in schools and is considered among the safest states.

“We do not infringe upon the rights” of gun owners, Carson said.

The vote was 14-9 with Democratic State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, being excused.


The Senate handled more than 30 other bills on Thursday including eight that were tabled or essentially killed. They acted on a bipartisan basis to pass a number of bills which impact the LGBTQ+ community.

SB 134-FN, relative to disability pensions for public safety employees who are victims of violence, passed on a bipartisan basis.

Birdsell said in a statement, “Granite Staters who put their lives on the line should get some reimbursement if they were victims of violence in the course of performing their first responder duties. This bill would be accomplished by allowing treatments through the retirement system and stipends for insurance. Assistance with insurance would not come at a large cost to taxpayers since only a small group of individuals would be able to qualify for this pension. This bill is a small way that we can ease the burden and curb costs for our injured first responders.”

Another bill that passed along bipartisan lines was Senate Bill 406 which increases the rates that shelter programs can be reimbursed and sets up a $2.5 million fund.

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, D-Manchester, and Fenton said in a statement that many shelters are faced with rising costs and increased demand.

“It is vital that we ensure that these facilities are able to keep their doors open, as they often serve as the only safe place many Granite Staters have to rest their heads,” they said and while a short term solution to a long term problem “we will not give up the fight to address the root causes of housing insecurity…”

Also working together, Republicans and Democrats passed on to the House Senate Bill 422, changing several references and modifying language in parentage and birth records.

Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, D-Portsmouth, stated after the vote that, “Our LGBTQ+ couples will now have a simple procedure to have their parentage recognized regardless of where they are or who recognizes their marriage. As a parent, I had to engage in an unfortunately inefficient and challenging legal process to ensure I can care for my children in every circumstance. Today, I am pleased that the effort I began years ago, based on the experience of my wife and I adopting our daughters, is finally moving forward.” 

It also passed Senate Bill 558, relative to insurance coverage for infertility treatments, protection from discrimination during IVF treatments and parental leave.

The Senate did table a bill that would have rolled back some of the nondiscrimination protections that outlaw discrimination against transgender people in public spaces. 

This effectively stops the bill from moving forward. 

The bill, SB 562, would have rolled back key provisions of the 2018 law against discrimination that was updated to include transgender people and promoting the exclusion of transgender people from sports including recreational leagues, as well as restrooms. 

Members of the LGBTQ+, public education, and youth welfare communities responded to the tabling of the bill.

“In 2018, I was proud to have managed the campaign that made New Hampshire the first-ever state to pass nondiscrimination protections for transgender people in public spaces,” said Linds Jakows, founder of 603 Equality. “Today, the NH State Senate rightly took a stand against discrimination in voting down SB 562. But it’s not over yet – they must again say no to discrimination when HB 396, which is nearly identical to SB 562, comes to the State Senate floor for a vote.” 

“In 2019 Governor Sununu signed a law that extended New Hampshire’s transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination protections to public schools, bolstering the rights that all public school students have to equal educational opportunities,” said Sarah Robinson, Education Justice Campaign Director with Granite State Progress. “All students, including those who are transgender, must be treated with dignity and respect as they are in order to have a safe learning environment. We thank the NH State Senate for standing up for that right today, and expect them to do the same when they vote on HB 396.”

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