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Abortion Restrictions

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Citizens Count Editor
Summary

Is abortion legal in New Hampshire? New Hampshire state law doesn't explicitly allow abortion, but the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade means the procedure is legal here, with some restrictions.

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

Learn more about related debates over contraception 

About abortion procedures in New Hampshire

The latest tally identified 12 facilities that provide abortion in New Hampshire. Four of these were abortion clinics. In general, abortions may also take place in nonspecialized clinics, private physicians’ offices, or hospitals. Doctors, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants can perform abortions in New Hampshire. 

As of 2014, around 60% of New Hampshire counties had no clinics offering abortion services. In that year, there were about 2,540 pregnancies terminated in the Granite State. New Hampshire made up .3% of all the abortions that took place in the United States that year. 

Abortion restrictions

Parental notification

The parent or guardian of a minor must receive 48 hours' notice before an abortion is performed. There is an exception to this rule for medical emergencies.  

Late term and “partial-birth” abortion

There are no restrictions on abortion in New Hampshire based on the gestational age of the fetus or signs of disability. “Partial-birth” abortions, where a fetus is removed alive from a mother's body before being terminated, are illegal here.  There is an exception to this rule only when two physicians agree that the life of the mother is at stake.

In recent years, several bills have been proposed that would prohibit abortion after a set number of weeks. These were all ultimately rejected by the Legislature.

Abortion rights

Roe v. Wade in state law

New York recently made headlines by enshrining aspects of Roe v. Wade in state law. New York’s law allows women to have abortions after 24 weeks if their healthcare practitioner deems the baby won’t survive or that having the baby would endanger the woman’s life or health.

Those involved in crafting such legislation in New York and other states point out that President Trump has stated Roe v. Wade should be overturned by the Supreme Court and the issue should return to the states. 

There has been no effort yet to change New Hampshire state law to reflect Roe v. Wade. 

Reproductive Healthcare Facility Buffer Zone

In 2014, New Hampshire established a 25-foot protest-free buffer zone around reproductive health facilities. This law has never been enforced because doing so would likely lead to lawsuits on the grounds of free speech. There have been several attempts to repeal it in the last few years but all have failed.

Learn more about free speech issues in New Hampshire

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 November 2017, the Executive Council narrowly approved a $548,000 contract with Planned Parenthood.

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. 

Tracking data on abortions

It is difficult to say with confidence just how many abortions happen in New Hampshire because there is no state law requiring that providers report statistical data on the abortions they perform. 

There have been several proposals in recent years related to gathering data about abortions in New Hampshire. One, HB 158, would have required abortion providers to submit anonymous details about their patients to a state database. The public would be able to view these statistics, including women’s ages, the gestational stages of fetuses, women’s use of contraceptives, and more.  

Fetal homicide

New Hampshire passed a fetal homicide law in 2017. Causing the death of a viable fetus can lead to a charge of second-degree murder, manslaughter or negligent homicide. The law explicitly excludes legal medical abortions.

“New Hampshire should limit access to abortion.”

  • While the Roe v. Wade decision ultimately protects a woman’s right to choose abortion, the state should limit access to abortion to protect the rights of the unborn. If a child in the womb has developed to the point where it could live outside of its mother, it deserves to have the full rights of personhood. Therefore, New Hampshire should not allow abortion after viability.
  • Fetal homicide laws are a way of seeing that justice is done for mothers who lose their babies as the result of a crime.
  • Supporters of state level tracking of abortion statistics in New Hampshire say that it is important for both sides of the debate to know exactly how many abortions are performed each year and other relevant statistics about Granite State women who have abortions. They point out that the Centers for Disease Control’s data often lags 2-3 years behind.
  • Some argue that there is not enough regulation of abortion providers. Doctors’ offices – where many of the abortions in New Hampshire take place – are not subject to the oversight of the Dept. Of Health and Human Services the way hospitals and nursing homes are.
  • New Hampshire should set specific restrictions on abortion based on the gestational stage of the fetus. In New York, for example, a woman may only choose to have an abortion after 24 weeks if having the baby would put her life or health in danger, or if the baby would not be able to survive after birth. This would prevent women from aborting a fully developed fetus in the late stages of pregnancy, thereby balancing the rights of the woman and the unborn child. 

“New Hampshire should not limit access to abortion.”

  • The choice to have a child is one with fundamental implications for a woman’s health as well as her economic and emotional long-term well-being. New Hampshire should therefore continue to leave decisions about whether or not to choose abortion in the hands of women and their medical practitioners. 
  • By granting fetuses "personhood," fetal homicide laws are a back-door way of chipping away at reproductive freedoms.
  • The CDC already reports on broad statistics related to abortion in each state. Reporting on individual patients – even anonymously – could put their privacy at risk. Individual reporting could include information about each woman’s age and county of residence, which might prove intimidating to patients. 
  • Abortion is one of the safest surgical procedures for women in America. Fewer than .05% of women experience complications. By contrast, the illegal abortion procedures women may resort to when lacking access to legal options are very dangerous.
  • New Hampshire should not base its abortion laws on gestational stage of the fetus. Instead, women in New Hampshire should continue to be able to choose to end their pregnancy up until the point of birth. 

Comments

Ananta

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.

Gordon

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

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