In case you missed it, InDepthNH reported on New Hampshire leaders’ response to the draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. New Hampshire Democrats blasted Republicans from Chuck Morse to Chris Sununu for pushing extreme, unpopular anti-choice agendas that aim to criminalize abortion and punish Granite Staters seeking reproductive health care. Key Excerpts:
A leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down Roe v. Wade sent shock waves through New Hampshire politics Tuesday.
An exclusive story by Politico showed a draft penned by Justice Samuel Alito for the majority that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”
New Hampshire elected leaders in Washington and in New Hampshire were quick to react, with Democrats in unison that this was devastating news while it was met with mixed reaction from Republicans.
The bipartisan bill headed to [Sununu’s] desk is HB 1609, which advocates say addresses some of the harm caused by the abortion ban Sununu signed into law last year by adding an exception for fatal fetal anomalies to the 24-week ban and repealing the requirement that women seeking abortion at every stage of pregnancy must first have an ultrasound.
State Sen. Dr. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, took umbrage with Sununu’s statement. He is running against Sununu.
Sherman said he has always “believed we should trust women to make their own medical decisions with their doctors” and that if Roe v. Wade is overturned then abortion rights will be left to the states.
“As governor, I would never sign legislation that would take away those rights. The ‘Live Free or Die’ state that I believe in does not criminalize doctors or force medically unnecessary procedures on women who are the victims of assault. As states across the country move to further restrict women’s rights, it’s more important than ever that New Hampshire has a governor that will protect women’s access to medical treatment,” Sherman said.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, who voted against HB 1609 and is running in a crowded field for U.S. Senate on the Republican side for a seat held by Democrat Maggie Hassan, said he supported the leaked draft and believes that every state should “have the right to govern policy in their respective states.”
Polling released by the UNH Survey Center in July, 2021 indicates New Hampshire’s ban on abortions at or after 24-weeks is deeply unpopular, with only one-third of Granite Staters in support of it.
In the aftermath of the leak, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund issued a statement assuring Granite Staters that abortion remains legal in the state before 24 weeks.
“To be clear – abortion remains safe and legal in New Hampshire. Granite State providers are committed to continuing to deliver this critical care. But yesterday’s Supreme Court leak makes clear that our deepest fears are coming true. We are at a crisis moment for abortion access and we don’t have a moment to spare,” said Kayla Montgomery, vice president of public affairs for PPNNE and PPNHAF. “Elections matter. The future of reproductive rights in the Granite State depends on the election of lawmakers who will fight to ensure abortion is safe, legal, and accessible – no matter what.”
Terie Norelli, former Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives said this is not about politics but being on the correct side of an important health care decision that should remain with a woman.
In a remote press conference, Norelli said the difference is that the public in New Hampshire supports maintaining Roe v. Wade and the matter has been politicized by Republicans who have been working to take rights away.
In that same press conference, convened by the New Hampshire Democratic Party, Chair Ray Buckley said New Hampshire “cannot sit idly by while this happens” and that this “devastating news” should remind voters that “reproductive rights are on the ballot.”
U.S. Sen. Hassan, D-NH, appeared on local news radio and television Tuesday after the draft decision was leaked, including with Good Morning NH with Jack Heath.
“It is really concerning if this is, in fact, the decision of the Court…it will be a very scary and difficult time for women who confront an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy,” Hassan said.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, wrote on Twitter that if Roe is overturned “women will risk their lives – some will lose their lives – because Republicans are so desperate to control women’s bodies.”
She said Congress needs to codify Roe. v. Wade into law now. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer indicated he will try for another vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, to codify Roe, after it was blocked from debate by Republicans in February.
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-NH released the following statement regarding the leak: “If confirmed, the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a heinous attack on women and disregards a half-century of precedent upholding the constitutional right to abortion and the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices.
“Sadly, this is not surprising given the shameless politicization of the Supreme Court and Republicans’ relentless assault on the rights of women in the Granite State and across the country. Despite the egregious attacks — whether it be recent efforts in the State House in New Hampshire or the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. — I will continue working tirelessly to defend abortion rights and the rights of women to bodily autonomy.”
New Hampshire Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy, D-Manchester said, “The leaked Supreme Court opinion is definitive proof of what we have known all along – Republicans are on a relentless pursuit to strip away our fundamental reproductive rights. This does not come as a shock following two years of blatant attacks on reproductive health care in New Hampshire…I am proud to stand with the overwhelming majority of Granite Staters who support a woman’s right to choose and will continue to fight alongside my Democratic colleagues to ensure that private medical decisions are left to individuals in consultation with their doctors – not politicians.”
Aside from Morse, few Republican candidates for U.S. Senate issued statements following the news from Politico. That silence was noted at the New Hampshire Democratic Party headquarters, with the organization claiming this “is the moment that all of the NH GOP Senate candidates have been waiting for.”
“Chuck Morse, Kevin Smith, Don Bolduc, and Vikram Mansharamani have all made supporting draconian abortion bans and rolling back reproductive rights central to their campaigns. Their extreme, anti-choice records would make them another vote for Mitch McConnell to further restrict access to abortion for women in New Hampshire and across the country,” the NH Democratic Party statement read.
Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, a Concord Democrat said in a statement that this was “the day that we have been warning about. The opinion expressed in the Court’s draft decision is a horrendous assault on our freedom. Generations of Americans have grown up relying on the ability to make their own reproductive health decisions and this dramatic assault on our fundamental rights will threaten the health and safety of women across our country.”
“Governor Sununu claims to be pro-choice, but his actions speak louder than words,” Warmington continued. “He has appointed an anti-choice activist to lead the New Hampshire Supreme Court, he vetoed legislation that would have protected reproductive freedom, and he signed into law a draconian abortion ban. He sits quietly by while the Republicans on the Executive Council repeatedly use the legislation he signed into law as an excuse to defund essential health care services provided by Planned Parenthood. His actions endanger the health and well-being of women all across our state.”
“Every Granite Stater who believes in protecting our fundamental freedom must demand real leadership from our elected officials – today, tomorrow, and at the ballot box this November,” Warmington concluded.