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Republicans Dismantle Reproductive Health Care

Contact Name: Marina Altschiller

Phone: (603) 568-9357

Republicans Dismantle Reproductive Health Care

CONCORD – Today, Senate Republicans voted down four floor amendments presented by Senate Democrats on SB 399. The original language of SB 399, as sponsored by Senator Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) sought to repeal the Republican abortion ban inserted into the last state budget. In the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill was amended by the Republican members in a politically motivated attempt to address the deeply unpopular mandatory ultrasound requirement included in the abortion ban. SB 399 was passed as amended by the committee and will next be sent to the House for a public committee hearing.

After the vote, prime sponsor Senator Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua), Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton), Senator Sue Prentiss (D-West Lebanon), and Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye) issued the following statements:

Senator Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) stated, “The committee amendment passed today ignores the hundreds of emails, hours of testimony, pleas in our local papers, and calls from constituents all urging our Republican colleagues to do the right thing and repeal their deeply unpopular abortion ban. To make this change today shows that Republicans are not listening to the people of New Hampshire but to the extreme fringe of their base.”

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), who presented an amendment to add in an exception to the abortion ban for victims of rape or incest, added, “Today, Senate Republicans told victims of rape and incest that their bodies are not their own. They told these women, who have already suffered unspeakable horrors, that they must carry the child of their assailant because a group of legislators claims to know what is best for her. We want to be able to provide compassionate care to these women, and the last thing we should be doing is once again stripping them of control over their lives and their right to bodily autonomy.”

Senator Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton), who presented an amendment to add in an exception to the abortion ban for cases of fatal fetal diagnoses added, “Throughout this process, we have heard devastating testimony from providers and families who shared their experiences delivering and receiving news no parent ever wants to hear. These are pregnancies that are often very much wanted, where nurseries are already set up and plans have been made, and yet these issues are found much later in their pregnancy. To force these women to carry non-viable pregnancies against their will is truly inhumane and I am deeply disappointed that my Republican colleagues would rob women in unimaginably tragic situations the ability to make an informed health care choice in consultation with her provider, in her home state.”

Senator Sue Prentiss (D-West Lebanon), who presented an amendment to remove the criminal penalties levied on reproductive health care providers contained in the abortion ban, added “New Hampshire already has a diminishing population of OB-GYN providers. As a result, critical access care hospitals are being forced to close their OB-GYN departments. The abortion ban as passed and protected by Republicans disincentivizes the critical OB-GYN workforce from working in New Hampshire, further cutting off the pipeline to care. Just yesterday, this body got a letter from nearly 30 OB-GYN physicians and women’s health care providers at the Elliot Hospital urging the Senate to support SB 399 as originally presented. Criminalizing health care providers for providing compassionate care that’s in line with their medical expertise and the best interests of their patients is cruel, regressive, and will continue to have a chilling effect on the provision of critically needed health care in this state.”

Senator Tom Sherman (D-Rye) added, “As a doctor, I cannot stand by as patients are being prevented from accessing necessary health care. The abortion ban the Republicans passed in last year’s budget, and subsequently tried and failed to back pedal on today, represents a horrific lack of compassion for women and families facing the most difficult of circumstances. I cannot support half baked efforts rooted in politics that still deny women the right to make their own healthcare decisions and obtain the care they need.”



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