Abortion Restrictions

LFDA Editor

The New Hampshire Legislature continues to work through a variety of bills regarding family planning in the state, many of which are controversial throughout the political spectrum.

Parental Notification

In 2011 the Legislature overrode Gov. John Lynch's veto of HB 329, a bill which prohibits abortions from being performed on minors without 48 hours' notice to a parent or guardian, with some exceptions. For more information, go to the LFDA's Parental Notification issue page.

Women's Right to Know Act

In 2012 the state legislature considered HB 1659, the so-called "Women's Right to Know Act."  The Act requires doctors to inform women of the medical details of abortion and alternatives prior to scheduling an abortion.  The House passed the bill, but HB 1659 was killed in the Senate.  A 2013 revamp of the Act, HB 483, was rejected by the majority of the House in March 2013.

Supporters of the Women's Right to Know Act argue that abortion is a serious medical decision, and doctors should fully inform women about the possible medical and emotional consequences. 

Opponents of the Women's Right to Know Act argue that the Act is aimed at intimidating women and includes misleading information.  For example, HB 1659 was criticized for requiring doctors to mention a possible link between abortion and breast cancer; that link has been disproved.

State Contracts with Planned Parenthood

New Hampshire sometimes contracts with Planned Parenthood for family planning services such as sexually transmitted disease testing, cancer screening, and contraception-but not abortion. These contracts have a rocky history. 

  • In 2011 the Executive Council voted to end a two-year, $1.8 million contract because the organization also offers abortions (about 3 percent of its overall services). The federal government then stepped in to offer funding to the organization.
  • In January 2014 the Executive Council voted to reinstate the contract with Planned Parenthood. 
  • In August 2015, the Executive Council rejected $639,000 in state funding for Planned Parenthood in response to videos showing organization officials discussing the transfer of tissue from aborted fetuses to medical researchers. Gov. Hassan said the funding cuts will mean diminished services available for state residents. She commented, “I find it very, very troubling that anyone would vote against these contracts just because the national political climate is a little difficult.”

In the past, legislators have taken action to try to prevent the state from making contracts with any health care provider that performs abortions, regardless of whether public funds are utilized for that specific service. So far, those bills have failed. 

Health Insurance and Contraception

In New Hampshire, health insurance plans provided by employers are required to cover contraceptives. 

A move to allow religious organizations to exclude coverage of contraceptives from their insurance plans was attempted in 2012, but failed. 

The debate is moot - for now - as the federal Affordable Care Act requires insurers to cover birth control. 

Fetal Homicide

Several times, legislators have tried to pass a "fetal homicide" bill: a law that would make killing a fetus an act of murder. These laws explicitly exclude legal medical abortions, and supporters argue they are a way of seeing that justice is done for mothers who lose their babies as the result of a crime. Opponents fear that by granting fetuses "personhood," the legislation was a back-door way of chipping away at reproductive freedoms.

Attempts in 2012, 2014 and 2015 were killed, but a move in 2017 passed and became law. This means that causing the death of a viable fetus can now potentially lead to a charge of second-degree murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. 

Restrictions Based on Gestational Age, Signs of Disability

In recent years, several bills have been proposed that would prohibit abortion after a set number of weeks; in 2017, HB 578, which was tabled by the House, aimed to prohibit abortions after 21 weeks, barring a medical emergency. Similar bills in 2016, all killed by the House, proposed prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, prohibiting abortions after 21 weeks and 5 days, and prohibiting abortions based on genetic abnormalities.

Reproductive Healthcare Facility Buffer Zone

In 2014, then-Governor Maggie Hassan signed into law a bill that established a 25-foot protest-free buffer zone around reproductive health facilities.

The state attorney general's office did not enforce the law while its constitutionality was being challenged by anti-abortion group Alliance Defending Freedom, the same group that challenged a similar Massachusetts law that was struck down in 2014 on the grounds that the law's 35-foot buffer zone violated protestors' First Amendment rights. In 2016, a judge rejected the lawsuit against the New Hampshire buffer zone law, stating that the plaintiffs could not show that any rights had been violated as none of the state's facilities had implemented a buffer zone. The law remains unenforced.

A 2017 attempt to repeal the buffer zone law failed in the House; similar bills in 2015 and 2016 failed in the Senate. 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

In Committee

Includes fetuses eight weeks and older as potential victims under murder statutes.

In Committee

Requires any health care provider that provides an abortion to submit information about the patient to the state through an electronic form. Patients and providers would be assigned confidential identification numbers. Under this bill, the public would be able to view aggregate data on abortions, including the woman's age, the woman's county of residence, the gestational age of the fetus, the method of abortion, and the woman's use of contraception.

Signed by Governor

Includes fetuses as potential victims under murder statutes. The Senate amended the bill to include only fetuses twenty weeks and older, not just "viable" fetuses.

Tabled in the House

Prohibits abortion after 21 weeks, unless there is a medical emergency. This bill also requires the Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on any abortions.

Killed in the House

Repeals the protest-free buffer zone around reproductive health facilities.

Killed in the House

Requires licensing of outpatient abortion facilities by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Killed in the House

Prohibits "dismemberment abortion" except in medical emergencies.

Killed in the House

Prohibits abortion based on genetic abnormality.

Killed in the House

Prohibits abortion beyond 21 weeks and five days' gestation.

Killed in the House

Prohibits depriving an infant of nourishment with the intent to cause or alter the death of an infant during an abortion.

Killed in the House

Prohibits abortions at or after 20 weeks gestation.

Killed in the House

Imposes several requirements on any physician responsible for providing a patient with Mifeprex, an FDA approved drug meant to induce abortion.

Killed in the House

Prohibits buying, selling, and experimenting on fetuses or bodily remains resulting from an abortion.

Killed in the House

Prohibits the use of public funds for the purpose of performing or assisting in an abortion which is not necessary to save the life of the mother, and requires a second opinion from a licensed physician before any abortion is performed when a mother’s life is deemed to be in danger.

Killed in the House

Constitutional amendment forbidding any state funding for organizations that provide abortions.

Killed in the House

Resolution calling for the investigation and defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Tabled in the Senate

Repeals the protest-free buffer zone around reproductive health care clinics.

Tabled in the Senate

Establishes a criminal penalty for anyone who "intentionally injures, intimidates or interferes with, or attempts to injure, intimidate or interfere with, another person because such other person was or is obtaining or providing reproductive health services."

Killed in the House

Prohibits abortions beyond 20 weeks gestation.

Killed in the House

"All People Create Equal Act," which states that life begins at conception.

Killed in the House

Repeals the ability of registered nurses to dispense noncontrolled prescription drugs in clinics that have a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (such as Planned Parenthood).

Tabled in the Senate

Repeals the law establishing a protest-free buffer zone around reproductive health clinics.

Killed in the Senate

Allows pharmacies to dispense oral contraceptives to persons 18 years of age or older without a prescription.

Tabled in the Senate

Requires insurers and employers offering insurance to notify policy holders/employees about the details of contraceptive coverage.

House Nonconcurred with the Senate

Includes fetuses eight weeks and older as potential victims under first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding suicide.

Tabled in the House

Establishes the "Viable Unborn Child Protection Act," which prevents abortions beyond 21 weeks and 5 days gestation.

Tabled in the Senate

Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to keep an annual statistical report on induced termination of pregnancy.

Killed in the House

Prohibits sending any state funds to any health care provider that performs abortions, regardless of whether public funds are utilized for that specific service. The Department of Health and Human Services states this bill would prevent the Department from entering into ANY contract with organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Died in Conference Committee

Includes fetuses as potential victims under murder statutes.  The original Senate version of the bill applied to "viable fetuses," meaning the fetus is old enough to survive outside the womb.  The House revised the bill to apply to all fetuses eight weeks and older.  The House and Senate did not agree on a final version of the bill.

Killed in the House

Requires licenses for outpatient abortion clinics.

Interim Study

Requires the Department of Health and Human Services to keep annual statistics on abortion.

Killed in the House

Provides that life begins at conception.

Tabled in the Senate

Originally written to include fetuses eight weeks and older as potential victims under first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding suicide.  The House amended the bill to instead increase penalties for for manslaughter or negligent homicide causing a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Signed by Governor

Authorizes "buffer zones" for protestors around reproductive health clinics.

Killed in the House

Requires doctors to inform women of the medical details of abortion and alternatives prior to scheduling an abortion.

Interim Study

Prohibits abortions beyond 20 weeks gestation.

Killed in the Senate

"Women's Right to Know Act," mandating that women considering an abortion receive "complete and accurate information on abortion and its alternatives."

Veto Overridden

Prohibits partial birth abortions and abortions in the third trimester.

Vetoed by Governor

Allows religious organizations to exclude contraceptive coverage from insurance plans.

Vetoed by Governor

Includes fetuses eight weeks and older as potential victims under first and second degree murder, manslaughter, negligent homicide, and causing or aiding suicide.

Veto Overridden

Requires parental notification prior to a minor's abortion.

Killed in the House

Includes all fetuses as potential victims under first and second degree murder, manslaughter, and negligent homicide.

Killed in the House

Requires parental notification prior to a minor's abortion.

Should NH limit access to abortion?

FOR
REPRESENTATIVES

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AGAINST
REPRESENTATIVES

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Comments

gordona's picture
Gordon Avery
- Salinas

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 11:51am

Planned Parenthood is a windmill of death to the most innocent, most vulnerable, most delicate among us.

.

More than 1.5 million a year -- die by the most brutal methods: salt poisoning, dismemberment, suffocation, strangulation, crushing. It is all done by doctors sworn to heal, sanctioned by judges pledged to uphold our Constitution’s guarantee of the right to life, and condoned by many religious leaders.

.

"America was founded by men and women who shared a vision of the value of each and every individual. Our forebears strove to build a nation in which the dignity of every person was respected and the rights of all were secure. Our laws have sought to foster and protect human life at all its stages. Legal acceptance of abortion imperils this cherished tradition. By permitting the destruction of unborn children throughout the term of pregnancy, our laws have brought about an inestimable loss of human life and potential. Yet the tragedy of abortion extends beyond the loss of the nearly 17 million children who have been robbed of the gift of life. This tragedy is multifaceted -- inflicting emotional harm on women, denying prospective adoptive couples the joy of sharing their loving homes with children, and eroding respect for the most fundamental of rights, the right to life. No cause is more important than restoring respect for this right because the freedoms we hold so dear cannot endure as long as some lives are regarded as unworthy of protection. Nor can our commitment to defend the dignity of all persons survive if we remain indifferent to the destruction of 1.5 million children each year in the United States. ... If America is to remain what God, in His wisdom, intended for it to be -- a refuge, a safe haven for those seeking human rights -- then we must once again extend the most basic human right to the most vulnerable members of the human family." --Ronald Reagan

Ananta Gopalan
- Hampton

Sun, 03/23/2014 - 9:40pm

New Hampshire is considering through HB 1503 stiffer penalties for the death of fetus as taking life away when the mother is harmed.  That means that the state agrees that a fetus is a human life.  It is about time that the state recognizes existence of a human life growing in a mother's womb.  That is about as natural as the sun rises in the East.

However, in abortion, that same fetus is considered just a conglomeration of cells and tissues and not life.  How can this be called logic based on reasoning?  A different way of looking at this self-imposed conundrum for the sake of political power is that the state grants the privilege to kill that life when its carrier decides against it.

If the pregnant woman was on her way to get an abortion but was shot or harmed in such a way that the fetus is dead, HB1503 will impose penalty upon the perpetrator for causing the death of the fetus.  The human life represented in the fetus in one case can be lawfully killed while in the other case subjected to prosecution.  In either case, the human life loses out!

Can we simply acknowledge that abortion is a violent termination of a human life?  Any amount of spin or demonizing people opposed to it can not alter that fact.  It is funny how in a highly educated society such as ours, we create euphemisms and twisted logic to soothe our conscience.  In the early 1800's, there were prominent people that tried to justify slavery by saying that it was actually good for the black people. But, facts are stubborn things.  Slavery was a criminal act regardless of the twisted logic.  We find ourselves in the same neighborhood in the case of fetus versus human life.

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Issue Status

Lawmakers passed a bill including viable fetuses - those over 20 weeks of gestational age - as potential victims in murder cases. The law sparked some unexpected controversy when it was revealed that an error in syntax meant it unintentionally made pregnant women immune from any murder charge. The wording was promptly fixed with an amendment.

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