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Fact Check: Sununu Makes Multple False Claims About His Abortion Ban and Mandatory Ultrasounds

On NH Today with Chris Ryan, Governor Chris Sununu made multiple false claims about the specifics of his mandatory ultrasound requirement and how restrictive his abortion ban is compared to laws in the rest of the country. The truth is that Sununu’s abortion ban mandates ultrasounds for anyone seeking an abortion at any point during pregnancy, and his abortion ban — which includes no exceptions for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomaly and felony penalties for doctors — is among the most restrictive abortion bans in the country.


SUNUNU’S FALSEHOOD: When asked about the mandatory ultrasound requirement in his abortion ban, Sununu said, “it's only for abortions in months 7, 8 , and 9 that that applies to. It's not for--and virtually every abortion done in the state, if not in months 7, 8, 9.”

FACT: Sununu’s Abortion Ban Mandates Medically Unnessesary Transvaginal Ultrasounds to Determine Gestational Age of a Fetus at Any Point During Pregnancy, for All Abortion Care. [Planned Parenthood, 7/2/21; Seacoast Online, 7/1/21] SUNUNU’S FALSEHOOD: “We're--our laws on par with liberal states like New York and Massachusetts.”


FACT: New Hampshire’s Abortion Ban Does Not Include Exceptions For Fatal Fetal Anomalies, Has Only Narrow Exceptions for the Mother’s Life, and Mandates Ultrasounds. According to the abortion ban amendment in the state budget, “Based on the state’s interest in protecting fetal life, to prohibit abortions at or after 24 weeks gestation, except in cases of a medical emergency. (b) To define “medical emergency” to encompass “significant health risks,” namely those circumstances in which a pregnant woman’s life or a major bodily function is threatened ... Except in the case of a medical emergency as specifically defined in paragraph III, no abortion shall be performed, induced, or attempted by any health care provider unless a health care provider has first made a determination of the probable gestational age of the fetus. In making such a determination, the health care provider shall conduct an obstetric ultrasound examination of the patient for the purpose of making the determination.” [New Hampshire General Court, HB2, 6/16/21] FACT: New York Allows Abortions After 24 Weeks If The Fetus Is Not Viable Or To Protect the Patient's Life or Health. According to the text of New York’s Reproductive Health Act, “A health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized under title eight of the education law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice, may perform an abortion when, according to the practitioner's reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient's case: the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient's life or health.” [New York State Senate, 1/9/19]


FACT: Massachusetts Allows Abortions After 24 Weeks To Preserve the Physical or Mental Health of the Patient Or If The Fetus Is Not Viable. According to section 12N of the Massachusetts general laws on abortion, “If a pregnancy has existed for 24 weeks or more, no abortion may be performed except by a physician and only if it is necessary, in the best medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the life of the patient, if it is necessary, in the best medical judgment of the physician, to preserve the patient’s physical or mental health or, in the best medical judgment of the physician, an abortion is warranted because of a lethal fetal anomaly or the fetus is incompatible with sustained life outside the uterus.” [Massachusetts General Laws]


FACT: Ultrasounds Are Not Mandatory in Massachusetts or New York. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Massachusetts and New York do not require mandatory ultrasounds. [Guttmatcher Institute, 6/1/21]


SUNUNU’S FALSEHOOD: “We still have some of the most, least restrictive abortion laws in the country, right?”

THE FACTS: Of the 14 States Requiring Mandatory Ultrasounds, New Hampshire is One of Only Four States That Have Criminal Penalties for Medical Professionals. Under Sununu’s Abortion Ban, New Hampshire Would Become One of Only Four States (Texas, Tennesse, Alabama) That Have Criminal Penalities for Medical Professionals. Click here to listen to the interview and read a transcript of the interview here:

Ryan: [00:00:00] So what guidance do you give to doctors and to those individuals about what they're going to see if they're seeking an abortion come January the 1st?

Sununu: [00:00:11] Again, it's only for abortions in months 7, 8 , and 9 that that applies to. It's not for--and virtually every abortion done in the state, if not in months 7, 8, 9. That's an extremely, extremely rare case. If that were to happen, they have to follow the law as of January 1st. [...]But again, remember we didn't put some blanket--we still have some of the most, least restrictive abortion laws in the country, right? We're--our laws on par with liberal states like New York and Massachusetts, so it's really only about the late term abortions, in months 7,8, 9, that those provisions account for. [...]

Ryan: [00:00:57] So just to clarify, there is no mandatory ultrasound for anyone from months one to six.

Sununu: [00:01:06] I have to be honest, I don't think so. I could go back and look at--I believe the law only applied to months 7, 8, 9.