CONCORD, NH — In case you missed it, New Hampshire Democratic lawmakers held a press conference on Monday to introduce a state constitutional amendment to safeguard the fundamental right to safe, legal, and accessible abortion. Speakers also slammed New Hampshire Republicans for legislation they recently filed to ban abortion after 15 days — one of the most extreme in the country — with no exceptions for rape or incest.New Hampshire currently has no protections in place for the right to have an abortion. As Republicans continue to push for restrictive bans, New Hampshire Democratic leaders are leading the charge to protect Granite Staters’ reproductive freedoms.
Read more about the press conference here:
On Monday, Democratic lawmakers announced a push to amend the state constitution to protect abortion rights. The proposed amendment would guarantee the right to an abortion up to 24 weeks.
“Since the Dobbs decision in June 2022, we've seen a vast increase in the restrictions on access to abortion” around the country, said Dr. Maris Toland, an OB-GYN with Dartmouth Health. “As a physician and as an obstetrician-gynecologist, watching these changes unfold over the last 18 months has clearly demonstrated the dangers of government interference in personal health care decisions.”
The amendment’s sponsors include 11 Democrats and two Republicans, Reps. Susan Vandecasteele of Salem and Brandon Phinney of Rochester.
Democratic Rep. Amanda Elizabeth Toll of Keene, the lead sponsor, said she’s optimistic the measure will draw some bipartisan support.
Republicans “are also hearing from their constituents how important this issue is to them,” she said. “And some of our colleagues across the aisle, they also have personal connections to this issue as well.”
But to get it on the ballot requires a heavy lift, with 60 percent of both the House and Senate each supporting the measure and at least 66 percent voter approval for passage to become a Constitutional Amendment, noted state Rep. Alexis Simpson, D-Exeter.
There are currently no laws in New Hampshire which protect abortion rights, said Kayla Montgomery, vice president for public affairs for Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire Action Fund. Yet, she said, “We know that a supermajority – 87 percent- of Granite State voters support abortion rights, and they do not believe that the government should interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own personal decisions.”
“It’s demoralizing to then watch politicians make binding decisions about healthcare access without any medical training,” Toland said.
“Let’s protect the privacy of patient-physician relationships from extremist political agendas and act now to ensure that every individual in New Hampshire has the right to make their own choices about their health and future. Let’s act now to kick politicians out of the exam room,” Rosenwald said.
State lawmakers are fighting a proposal that would ban abortions in New Hampshire after 15 days gestation, and said Monday they plan to introduce a constitutional amendment protecting the right to abortion in the Granite State.
The proposed constitutional change would take abortion decisions out of the hands of politicians and instead give control to doctors, according to Kayla Montgomery, vice president for public affairs of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.
“While abortion is currently safe and legal in New Hampshire, to date, New Hampshire lawmakers have refused to make abortion an explicit right,” said Representative Amanda Elizabeth Toll, a Keene Democrat sponsoring the legislation, in a written statement. “Right now that means that we have zero state or federal protections in place that safeguard the right to an abortion,” she said.
Read about NH Republicans’ abortion ban here:
The bill is effectively a total ban on abortion. The absolute earliest a woman can confirm she is pregnant is with a blood test 10 days after ovulation. But this proposed law does not ban abortion 15 days after ovulation — it bans abortion at 15 days gestation, counted from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual cycle… which means it would ban abortion before some woman have even had conceived.
Republicans “claim that they don’t want to ban abortion anymore, and that they don’t want to change the 24 week ban. And here we are, with a bill from sponsors in both chambers, trying to move the ban to 15 days,” says Alexis Simpson, deputy minority leader of the New Hampshire House.
The bill would mean a virtual outright ban on abortion, marking the latest push from Republicans across the country to institute more abortion restrictions after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.
Rep. Alexis Simpson, D-Exeter, wrote in a statement: "The 15-day abortion ban filed by Republican lawmakers is dangerous, extreme, and out of touch with Granite Staters. At 15 days, most women do not even know they are pregnant. We must say it like it is – this proposal would amount to a complete abortion ban in New Hampshire."
ManchesterInkLink: Proposed 15-day abortion cap bill draws Democrats’ ire
Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Interim President Heather Williams: Republican extremism knows no bounds – the only way to protect access to abortion is to break up the New Hampshire Republican trifecta by electing Democrats to the legislature. Democrats have won 5 seats in the House in 2023 and remain within striking distance of flipping the chamber. Granite Staters deserve leaders who will represent them, not pursue a crusade of attacks on the freedoms they hold dear.
New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley: 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.
"In a state where voters overwhelmingly believe that reproductive health decisions should be made solely between patient and medical provider, this legislation is absurd. Stopping this bill isn't enough; it must be completely renounced," said state Rep. Alexis Simpson.