New Abortion Stats Dispute Comes Up in Committee

“It’s hard for me to separate statistics from a movement to make abortion more restricted.”

Let those words roll around in your head for a moment. We’ll get back to them.

No, I’m not digging up my notes from HB 158, the abortion statistics bill killed by the New Hampshire House a few months ago. The quote that opens this post is from a hearing on another bill altogether, SB 111, on healthcare data. Having passed the state senate, SB 111 is now in the hands of the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs (HHS) Committee.

SB 111 was meant to be a housekeeping measure, revising and updating procedures for collection of various health-related data. Take a look at the fascinating NH Health WISDOM web site to get a sense of the kind of information the state tracks. SB 111 was introduced at the request of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

Independently, it occurred to several people that with health care data up for discussion, DHHS’s lack of abortion data was a missing piece. Four representatives – Walter Stapleton (R-Claremont), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield), William Marsh (R-Wolfeboro), and Mark Pearson (R-Hampstead – drafted an amendment to SB 111 for the HHS committee to consider, basically adding abortion to the data covered by the bill.

That is not what DHHS had in mind. Thanks to my day job, I was present when the amendment was introduced at a subcommittee work session. I think “dismay” is the best word for the look on the faces of the DHHS staff present when they heard it.

Some of the state reps weren’t thrilled, either.

To make a long story short, the subcommittee declined to accept the amendment, and instead recommended that the bill as introduced be forwarded to the full HHS committee for a vote on May 7. When that day came, Rep. Stapleton politely brought up his proposed amendment (slightly tweaked and re-numbered since the subcommittee session). After a half hour of discussion, committee chair Rep. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole) decided to put off the vote on SB 111 and any amendments until the week of May 13.

That’s where it stands. I can say with confidence that the underlying bill is not in dispute. Any proposed amendment involving abortion statistics is another story. There are procedural objections to an amendment, but the substance is where one finds the real rub.

During the May 7 committee discussion, Rep. Joe Schapiro (D-Keene) took note in the calmest of tones of what he called efforts around the country to restrict abortion. (Maybe if someone were to tell him about New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts, he’d feel better.) Then came his summation about the amendment: “It’s hard for me to separate statistics from a movement to make abortion more restricted.”

His colleague, Rep. Susan Ticehurst, was noticeably agitated as she registered her opinion about the controversial amendment. “I’m not going to sit here and pretend we’re talking about data.”

Actually, we are. Abortion and data collection are not mutually exclusive. Data collection and privacy protection are not mutually exclusive, either, as SB 111 underscores: it covers many kinds of data the state has collected for years while protecting patient privacy.

Insistence on suppressing data collection regarding one condition suggests fear of what the data will show.

One rep stated that DHHS already collects abortion statistics, but I’m skeptical about that. I’m not aware of any mandatory reporting rule that has gone into effect at the freestanding facilities where most of New Hampshire’s abortions take place. (No one is seriously asserting that hospital records would tell the whole story.) Given the intense opposition from abortion-friendly reps to any suggestion that abortions be counted, I don’t believe New Hampshire makes a serious attempt at present to find out how many induced terminations of pregnancy are happening statewide.

DHHS officials needn’t lose sleep. I expect passage of SB 111, with no provision for abortion statistics. Still, I’m glad that a few representatives are willing to point out the missing piece .

House Rejects Abortion Statistics, 2019 Edition

The New Hampshire House has rejected HB 158, an abortion statistics bill. The motion was “inexpedient to legislate” and the vote was 218-144.

Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the vote, by county. Absences are listed separately. Link to the official roll call as posted on the General Court web site is here. A “yea” vote was a vote AGAINST abortion statistics, i.e. supporting the “inexpedient to legislate” motion.

A link to each representative’s contact information is available on the General Court web site.

Voting AGAINST abortion statistics (in favor of the “inexpedient to legislate” motion)

Belknap County: David Huot (D-Laconia).

Carroll County: Anita Burroughs (D-Glen), Ed Butler (D-Hart’s Location), Edith DesMarais (D-Wolfeboro), Harrison Kanzler (D-North Conway), Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom), Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth), Stephen Woodcock (D-Center Conway).

Cheshire County: Michael Abbott (D-Hinsdale), Richard Ames (D-Jaffrey), Paul Berch (D-Westmoreland), John Bordenet (D-Keene), Daniel Eaton (D-Stoddard), Barry Faulkner (D-Swanzey), Donovan Fenton (D-Keene), Jennie Gomarlo (D-Swanzey), Douglas Ley (D-Jaffrey), John Mann (D-Alstead), David Meader (D-Keene), David Morrill (D-Keene), Henry Parkhurst (D-Winchester), William Pearson (D-Keene), Joe Schapiro (D-Keene), Bruce Tatro (D-Swanzey), Craig Thompson (D-Harrisville), Sparky Von Plinsky (D-Keene), Lucy Weber (D-Walpole).

Coos County: William Hatch (D-Gorham), Larry Laflamme (D-Berlin), Wayne Moynihan (D-Dummer), Henry Noel (D-Berlin), Yvonne Thomas (D-Berlin), Edith Tucker (D-Randolph)

Grafton County: Richard Abel (D-West Lebanon), Joshua Adjutant (D-Ashland), Susan Almy (D-Lebanon), Polly Campion (D-Etna), Francesca Diggs (D-Rumney), Timothy Egan (D-Sugar Hill), Sallie Fellows (D-Holderness), Susan Ford (D-Easton), Elaine French (D-Littleton), Edward “Ned” Gordon (R-Bristol), Erin Hennessey (R-Littleton), Timothy Josephson (D-Canaan), Kevin Maes (D-Rumney), Linda Massimilla (D-Littleton), Mary Jane Mulligan (D-Hanover), Garrett Muscatel (D-Hanover), Richard Osborne (D-Campton), Suzanne Smith (D-Hebron), Laurel Stavis (D-West Lebanon), Jerry Stringham (D-Lincoln), George Sykes (D-Lebanon), Joyce Weston (D-Plymouth).

Hillsborough County (listed in multiple paragraphs for easier reading): Robert Backus (D-Manchester), Chris Balch (D-Wilton), Benjamin Baroody (D-Manchester), Jane Beaulieu (D-Manchester), Paul Bergeron (D-Nashua), Jennifer Bernet (D-Wilton), William Bordy (D-Nashua), James Bosman (D-Francestown), Donald Bouchard (D-Manchester), Amanda Bouldin (D-Manchester), Jacqueline Chretien (D-Manchester), Skip Cleaver (D-Nashua), Bruce Cohen (D-Nashua), Erika Connors (D-Manchester), Patricia Cornell (D-Manchester), David Cote (D-Nashua).

Also: David Danielson (R-Bedford), Paul Dargie (D-Milford), Fred Davis (D-Nashua), Kathy Desjardin (D-Manchester), Linda DiSilvestro (D-Manchester), Sherry Dutzy (D-Nashua), Manny Espitia (D-Nashua), Mary Freitas (D-Manchester), Jeffrey Goley (D-Manchester), John Graham (R-Bedford), Willis Griffith (D-Manchester), Brett Hall (D-Brookline), Linda Harriott-Gathright (D-Nashua), Mary Heath (D-Manchester), Christopher Herbert (D-Manchester), Greg Indruk (D-Nashua), Martin Jack (D-Nashua), Jean Jeudy (D-Manchester), Mark King (D-Nashua), Patricia Klee (D-Nashua), Nicole Klein-Knight (D-Manchester).

Also: Diane Langley (D-Manchester), Peter Leishman (D-Peterborough), Patrick Long (D-Manchester), Latha Mangipudi (D-Nashua), Joelle Martin (D-Milford), Kat McGhee (D-Hollis), Donna Mombourquette (D-New Boston), Sue Mullen (D-Bedford), Nancy Murphy (D-Merrimack), Ray Newman (D-Nashua), Sue Newman (D-Nashua), Frances Nutter-Upham (D-Nashua), Alison Nutting-Wong (D-Nashua), Michael O’Brien (D-Nashua), Russell Ober (R-Hudson), Michael Pederson (D-Nashua), Peter Petrigno (D-Milford), Daniel Pickering (D-Hancock), Israel Piedra (D-Manchester), Marjorie Porter (D-Hillsboro), Mark Proulx (R-Manchester), Andrew Prout (R-Hudson).

Also: Joshua Query (D-Manchester), Julie Radhakrishnan (D-Amherst), Cole Riel (D-Goffstown), Rosemarie Rung (D-Merrimack), Janice Schmidt (D-Nashua), Barbara Shaw (D-Manchester), Timothy Smith (D-Manchester), Kendall Snow (D-Manchester), Catherine Sofikitis (D-Nashua), Michelle St. John (D-Hollis), Kathryn Stack (D-Merrimack), Deb Stevens (D-Nashua), Laura Telerski (D-Nashua), Wendy Thomas (D-Merrimack), Dan Toomey (D-Nashua), Suzanne Vail (D-Nashua), Constance Van Houten (D-Manchester), Ivy Vann (D-Peterborough), Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester), Kermit Williams (D-Wilton), David Woodbury (D-New Boston).

Merrimack County: Christy Bartlett (D-Concord), Ryan Buchanan (D-Concord), Clyde Carson (D-Warner), Karen Ebel (D-New London), Samantha Fox (D-Bow), Joyce Fulweiler (D-Northfield), David Karrick (D-Warner), Connie Lane (D-Concord), David Luneau (D-Hopkinton), James MacKay (D-Concord), Howard Moffett (D-Canterbury), Beth Richards (D-Concord), Beth Rodd (D-Bradford), Katherine Rogers (D-Concord), George Saunderson (D-Loudon), Thomas Schamberg (D-Wilmot), Dianne Schuett (D-Pembroke), Kristina Schultz (D-Concord), Timothy Soucy (D-Concord), Alan Turcotte (D-Allenstown), Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord), Mary Beth Walz (D-Bow), Safiya Wazir (D-Concord), Kenneth Wells (D-Andover), Dan Wolf (R-Newbury), Gary Woods (D-Bow).

Rockingham County: Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham), Lisa Bunker (D-Exeter), Patricia Bushway (D-Hampton), Michael Cahill (D-Newmarket), Jacqueline Cali-Pitts (D-Portsmouth), David Coursin (D-Northwood), Renny Cushing (D-Hampton), Charlotte DiLorenzo (D-Newmarket), Michael Edgar (D-Hampton), Mary Eisner (D-Derry), Julie Gilman (D-Exeter), Gaby Grossman (D-Exeter), Jaci Grote (D-Rye), Tamara Le (D-North Hampton), Tom Loughman (D-Hampton), Patricia Lovejoy (D-Stratham), Dennis Malloy (D-Greenland), Rebecca McBeath (D-Portsmouth), Liz McConnell (D-Brentwood), Betsy McKinney (R-Londonderry), David Meuse (D-Portsmouth), Kate Murray (D-New Castle), Ellen Read (D-Newmarket), Peter Somssich (D-Portsmouth), Mark Vallone (D-Epping), Gerald Ward (D-Portsmouth), Josh Yokela (R-Fremont).

Strafford County: Peter Bixby (D-Dover), Gerri Cannon (D-Somersworth), Wendy Chase (D-Rollinsford), Casey Conley (D-Dover), Donna Ellis (D-Rochester), Kristina Fargo (D-Dover), Timothy Fontneau (D-Rochester), Amanda Gourgue (D-Lee), Chuck Grassie (D-Rochester), Timothy Horrigan (D-Durham), Sandra Keans (D-Rochester), Cam Kenney (D-Durham), Cassandra Levesque (D-Barrington), Linn Opderbecke (D-Dover), Cecilia Rich (D-Somersworth), Jeffrey Salloway (D-Lee), Catt Sandler (D-Somersworth), Peter Schmidt (D-Dover), Marjorie Smith (D-Durham), Judith Spang (D-Durham), Matthew Towne (D-Barrington), Susan Treleaven (D-Dover), Kenneth Vincent (D-Somersworth), Janet Wall (D-Madbury).

Sullivan County: John Cloutier (D-Claremont), Gary Merchant (D-Claremont), Andrew O’Hearne (D-Claremont), Lee Oxenham (D-Plainfield), Brian Sullivan (D-Grantham), Linda Tanner (D-Georges Mills).

Voting FOR abortion statistics (against the “inexpedient to legislate” motion)

Belknap County: Glen Aldrich (R-Gilford), Harry Bean (R-Gilford), Barbara Comtois (R-Center Barnstead), George Feeney (R-Alton), Dennis Fields (R-Sanbornton), Raymond Howard (R-Alton), Deanna Jurius (R-Meredith), Timothy Lang (R-Sanbornton), Jonathan Mackie (R-Meredith), John Plumer (R-Belmont), Peter Spanos (R-Winnisquam), Michael Sylvia (R-Belmont), Franklin Tilton (R-Laconia).

Carroll County: Lino Avellani (R-Sanbornville), Ed Comeau (R-Brookfield), Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro), John MacDonald (R-Wolfeboro Falls), William Marsh (R-Wolfeboro), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield).

Cheshire County: John Hunt (R-Rindge), John O’Day (R-Rindge).

Coos County: Kevin Craig (R-Lancaster), John Fothergill (R-Colebrook), Michael Furbush (R-Colebrook), Troy Merner (R-Lancaster).

Grafton County: Rick Ladd (R-Haverhill), Vincent Paul Migliore (R-Bridgewater).

Hillsborough County (listed in two paragraphs for easier reading): Joe Alexander (R-Goffstown), Richard Barry (R-Merrimack), James Belanger (R-Hollis), Ralph Boehm (R-Litchfield), Charles Burns (R-Milford), John Burt (R-Goffstown), Linda Camarota (R-Bedford), Keith Erf (R-Weare), Jim Fedolfi (R-Hillsboro), Jack Flanagan (R-Brookline), Larry Gagne (R-Manchester), Linda Gould (R-Bedford), Bob Greene (R-Hudson), Barbara Griffin (R-Goffstown), Michael Gunski (R-Goffstown).

Also: Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack), Gary Hopper (R-Weare), Bob L’Heureux (R-Merrimack), Richard Lascelles (R-Litchfield), Alicia Lekas (R-Hudson), Tony Lekas (R-Hudson), JP Marzullo (R-Deering), Mark McLean (R-Manchester), Jeanine Notter (R-Merrimack), Hershel Nunez (R-Pelham), Lynne Ober (R-Hudson), Reed Panasiti (R-Amherst), Fred Plett (R-Goffstown), Andrew Renzullo (R-Hudson), Kimberly Rice (R-Hudson), Paul Somero (R-New Ipswich), Michael Trento (R-Bedford), Jordan Ulery (R-Hudson), Mark Warden (R-Manchester), James Whittemore (R-Hudson).

Merrimack County: James Allard (R-Pittsfield), Gregory Hill (R-Northfield), Werner Horn (R-Franklin), Frank Kotowski (R-Hooksett), Richard Marple (R-Hooksett), Carol McGuire (R-Epsom), Howard Pearl (R-Loudon), Brian Seaworth (R-Pembroke), Dave Testerman (R-Franklin), Thomas Walsh (R-Hooksett), Michael Yakubovich (R-Hooksett).

Rockingham County (listed in two paragraphs for easier reading): Daryl Abbas (R-Salem), Patrick Abrami (R-Stratham), Max Abramson (R-Seabrook), Dennis Acton (R-Fremont), Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry), Arthur Barnes (R-Salem), Alan Bershtein (R-Nottingham), Brian Chirichiello (R-Derry), Michael Costable (R-Raymond), Dan Davis (R-Kensington), Joel Desilets (R-Windham), Debra DeSimone (R-Atkinson), Tom Dolan (R-Londonderry), Fred Doucette (R-Salem), Jess Edwards (R-Auburn), Robert Elliott (R-Salem), Betty Gay (R-Salem), Dennis Green (R-Hampstead), Mary Griffin (R-Windham), Joseph Guthrie (R-Hampstead), Robert Harb (R-Plaistow), Deborah Hobson (R-East Kingston), Kathleen Hoelzel (R-Raymond), John Janigian (R-Salem), Jason Janvrin (R-Seabrook).

Also: Phyllis Katsakiores (R-Derry), Aboul Khan (R-Seabrook), David Love (R-Derry), David Lundgren (R-Londonderry), Jim Maggiore (D-North Hampton), Everett McBride (R-Salem), Charles McMahon (R-Windham), Charles Melvin (R-Newton), David Milz (R-Derry), Sean Morrison (R-Epping), John O’Connor (R-Derry), Jason Osborne (R-Auburn), Becky Owens (R-Chester), Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry), Mark Pearson (R-Hampstead), Stephen Pearson (R-Derry), Tony Piemonte (R-Sandown), John Potucek (R-Derry), Kevin Pratt (R-Raymond), Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien (R-Derry), Terry Roy (R-Deerfield), James Spillane (R-Deerfield), John Sytek (R-Salem), Douglas Thomas (R-Londonderry), Peter Torosian (R-Atkinson), Chris True (R-Sandown), Kevin Verville (R-Deerfield), Scott Wallace (R-Danville), David Welch (R-Kingston), Kenneth Weyler (R-Kingston).

Strafford County: Steven Beaudoin (R-Rochester), Michael Harrington (R-Strafford), Peter Hayward (R-Milton), James Horgan (R-Farmington), Mac Kittredge (R-Rochester), Jody McNally (R-Rochester), Mona Perreault (R-Rochester), Abigail Rooney (R-Milton), Kurt Wuelper (R-Strafford).

Sullivan County: Judy Aron (R-South Acworth), John Callum (R-Unity), Thomas Laware (R-Charlestown), Gates Lucas (R-Sunapee), Skip Rollins (R-Newport), Steven Smith (R-Charlestown), Walter Stapleton (R-Claremont)

Absences and “Not Voting”

Excused absences for the day: Skip Berrien (D-Exeter), David Doherty (D-Pembroke), Roger Dontonville (D-Enfield), Arthur Ellison (D-Concord), William Fowler (R-Seabrook), Cathryn Harvey (D-Spofford), Peg Higgins (D-Rochester), John Klose (R-Epsom), Rebecca McWilliams (D-Concord), Timothy Merlino (R-New Ipswich), Megan Murray (D-Amherst), Mel Myler (D-Contoocook), Sharon Nordgren (D-Hanover), Roderick Pimental (D-Henniker), Dennis Ruprecht (D-Landaff), Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford), Thomas Southworth (D-Dover), Charlie St. Clair (D-Laconia), Sandy Swinburne (D-Marlborough), Peter Varney (R-Alton), Harry Viens (R-Center Harbor), Anne Warner (D-Londonderry), James Webb (R-Derry).

“Not Voting,” no reason given: Richard Beaudoin (R-Laconia), Andrew Bouldin (D-Manchester), Thomas Buco (D-Conway), Karel Crawford (R-Center Harbor), Edward DeClercq (R-Salem), Robert Forsythe (R-Boscawen), Sherry Frost (D-Dover), Kenneth Gidge (D-Nashua), Heidi Hamer (D-Manchester), Walter Kolodziej (R-Windham), Richard Komi (D-Manchester), Norman Major (R-Plaistow), Laura Pantelakos (D-Portsmouth), Joseph Pitre (R-Farmington).

Speaker of the House Stephen Shurtleff was presiding and therefore did not cast a vote.

A Bipartisan Vote

While the vote was largely along party lines, one Democrat voted with most Republicans against killing the bill: Jim Maggiore of North Hampton.

Ten Republicans joined most Democrats in voting to kill the statistics bill: Edward “Ned” Gordon of Bristol, Erin Hennessey of Littleton, David Danielson and John Graham of Bedford, Russell Ober and Andrew Prout of Hudson, Mark Proulx of Manchester, Dan Wolf of Newbury, Betsy McKinney of Londonderry, and Josh Yokela of Fremont.

Facts About N.H. Abortion Laws

(Note: This is based on a post I wrote for Cornerstone Action, which kindly gave me permission to re-post here.)

New York’s governor ordered buildings to be illuminated in pink lights on January 22, in celebration of state law he had just signed eliminating most limitations on abortion. Legislators in Virginia and Vermont are ready to follow suit with radically anti-life policies.

Think it couldn’t happen in New Hampshire? The grim fact is that it already has. New Hampshire is one of the most abortion-friendly states in the country. Here are the facts.

How far into pregnancy are abortions permitted in New Hampshire?

  • Abortions are legal, unrestricted, and unregulated throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy in New Hampshire.
  • As recently as 2017 and 2018, legislators rejected bills that would have provided protection for viable preborn children.

What laws in New Hampshire affect abortion now?

  • New Hampshire has a parental notification statute. When a minor seeks abortion, she needs to notify a parent or guardian, or else use a “judicial bypass” in which a judge determines she is mature enough to make her own decision. The law calls for notification, not consent.
  • New Hampshire bans the barbaric abortion method known as partial-birth abortion or dilation-&-extraction, in which a child is delivered partway before being killed. This ban was passed in 2012.
  • As of early 2019, New Hampshire policy limits the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.
  • New Hampshire adopted a fetal homicide statute in 2017, allowing prosecutors the option of filing homicide charges against a person whose bad actions cause the death of a preborn child against the mother’s will. While not an abortion law, it was bitterly opposed by abortion advocates.

How many abortions are performed in New Hampshire annually?

  • No one knows, and that includes state lawmakers. New Hampshire does not have an abortion statistics law, despite the fact that the federal Centers for Disease Control attempts to collect abortion data. Forty-seven other states manage to collect and report such data, while protecting the anonymity and privacy of individual women obtaining abortions.
  • New Hampshire public health officials have no reliable data on the age of women seeking abortion, the stage of pregnancy at which abortions are performed, and whether women are experiencing abortion complications.

How many doctors do abortions in New Hampshire?

  • No one knows, since public health authorities do not collect any data on abortions.
  • There is no requirement that abortion providers in New Hampshire have any medical training or certification whatsoever.

Do New Hampshire state public health authorities inspect abortion facilities?

  • No, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. From a May 19, 2013 report in the New Hampshire Sunday News: “Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Department of Health and Human Services, explained in an email that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and the Concord Feminist Health Center are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements because they are considered physician offices. Twenty-three health care providers such as hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and dialysis centers are licensed by the state, but not abortion clinics. ‘In New Hampshire, there is no such thing as an abortion clinic – the majority of abortions are done in doctors offices … and doctors’ offices are exempt from licensure under RSA 151:2 II,’ Neilsen said. ‘Because they are exempt, we have no jurisdiction over them, and neither does anyone else.’”

Who sets standards for abortion facilities?

  • The abortion providers themselves determine what standards to use. Since there is no law that providers have any medical training, those “standards” need not relate in any way to women’s health.

What’s the rate of post-abortion complications experienced by New Hampshire women?

  • No one knows, since lawmakers refuse to demand abortion statistics and public health officials decline to collect them. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” sums it up.

Does New Hampshire law protect children who survive attempted abortion?

  • No. Children who survive attempted abortion are not entitled to any more care than the abortionist wishes to provide. A bill to recognize a duty to care for such infants was defeated by the New Hampshire House in 2016.

Does New Hampshire law recognize the conscience rights of health care personnel who choose not to participate in abortion?

  • No. A bill to provide conscience protections was killed in the New Hampshire House in 2018. Health care professionals in New Hampshire can lose their jobs and be subject to professional sanctions for refusing to assist in abortions.

How did New Hampshire become such a haven for abortion providers?

  • In 1997, then-Governor (now U.S. Senator) Jeanne Shaheen signed a law repealing New Hampshire’s 19th-century anti-abortion laws. She did so knowing full well that no updated laws were in place. With a stroke of her pen, and with the cooperation of legislators, New Hampshire abortion regulation disappeared. So did concern for the health of women obtaining abortions. So did concern for preborn children, even moments away from birth.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can help turn a culture of abortion into a culture that respects and nurtures life, especially in its most vulnerable stages.

  • Share the message: Knowledge is power, and many people don’t know the facts about abortion in New Hampshire.
  • Pray. Join with your faith community. A culture of prayer will lead to a culture of life.
  • Politicians bear a great deal of responsibility for New Hampshire’s abortion-friendly laws, but blaming Concord won’t help. What will help is electing representatives at all levels of government who respect the right to life, and who care about the health of pregnant women and their children. Vote for candidates who recognize that New Hampshire law relative to abortion must be changed.
  • Consider running for local or state office.
  • Work within your community to create and sustain life-affirming options for women and children at risk from abortion. Contact your local pro-life pregnancy care center to learn about practical ways you can help.

(The original version of this post contained an incorrect alternative term for partial-birth abortion. This version contains corrected information.)

Abortions Statistics Bill Rejected By Committee

A bill to require collection of public health statistics relative to abortion will go to the New Hampshire House with an “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) recommendation. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee voted 12-8 along party lines to report the bill ITL.

The bill will be voted on by the full House as early as February 14. Unless the committee recommendation is overturned, New Hampshire will remain one of three states failing to report abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control.

N.H. House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee

Committee members voting “inexpedient to legislate,” all Democrat: Reps. Polly Campion (D-Etna), Gerri Cannon (D-Somersworth), Mary Freitas (D-Manchester), Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom), James MacKay (D-Concord), Richard Osborne (D-Campton), Jeffrey Salloway (D-Lee), Joe Schapiro (D-Keene), Kendall Snow (D-Manchester), Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth), Lucy Weber (D-Walpole), and Gary Woods (D-Bow).

Opposing the ITL motion were eight Republicans: Reps. Dennis Acton (R-Fremont), John Fothergill (R-Colebrook), Joseph Guthrie (R-Hampstead), William Marsh (R-Wolfeboro), Charles McMahon (R-Windham), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield), Mark Pearson (R-Hampstead), and Walter Stapleton (R-Claremont).

Rep. Osborne, speaking before the vote, told his colleagues, “All these things [New Hampshire abortion statistics] are already in the CDC.” He claimed to have found New Hampshire abortion information online. [Note: see comment below this post from one of Rep. Osborne’s colleagues, pointing out that Rep. Osborne later corrected his statement.]

Rep. Osborne’s claim is at variance with the latest Abortion Surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control. From that report:

  • “This report summarizes abortion data for 2015 that were provided voluntarily to CDC by the central health agencies of 49 reporting areas (the District of Columbia [DC]; New York City; and 47 states, [excluding California, Maryland, and New Hampshire]).” [page 2, emphasis added]
  • Page 5, “U.S. Totals,” emphasis added: “Among the 49 reporting areas that provided data for 2015, a total of 638,169 abortions were reported. All 49 of these areas provided data every year during 2006–2015. Excludes California, Maryland, and New Hampshire.”

Don’t Get Mad. Get Busy.

Yes, New York just passed an outrageous abortion law. But remember, New Hampshire got there first: no limitations on abortion, and no protection for children born alive after attempted abortion. We even out-do New York in one way: New Hampshire doesn’t collect any abortion statistics. And therein lies the best way for a Granite Stater to react to the news from New York.

Demand an abortion statistics law. There’s a hearing for one on Thursday, January 24, 2019 – mere hours away, as I publish this – at 11 a.m. in room 205 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. The bill is HB 158-FN.

My social media feeds are full of upset New Hampshire neighbors, all of them sick at heart over the New York news. Here’s our challenge: get just as upset about New Hampshire’s situation, and then do something about it, starting with the abortion statistics hearing.

If every single one of my distressed friends were to contact the committee members who will consider the statistics bill, they’d make an impression. You can send a message to all twenty-two members of the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee by sending one email to one address: HHSEA@leg.state.nh.us. Simple message: Please vote ought to pass on HB 158-FN, the abortion statistics bill.

If even half of my upset friends took a day off work to attend the hearing and sign the “blue sheet” supporting the bill, they’d make an impression. They’d pack the whole committee room, in fact, and overflow into the hallway all the way down to the elevators. I know it’s hard to take a day off work. I also know it hurts to go to a hearing and see how many abortion advocates make that kind of sacrifice without batting an eyelash.

It’s easy for me to rail about New York politicians. It’s easy to go online and warn that Governor Cuomo’s soul is in peril (not a message from me, but I’ve seen it more than once in my media feed). It’s easy to share photos of New York buildings lit up in pink to “celebrate” the passage of the new abortion law.

How about we take that energy and anger and indignation and grief and put it where it will do some good?

The abortion statistics bill would authorize New Hampshire public health authorities to do what 47 other states already do: collect abortion information in a way that protects patient privacy, and report the numbers to the federal Centers for Disease Control. How many abortions, maternal age, gestational age, incidence of post-abortion complications: New Hampshire public health authorities only know what abortion providers tell them. There’s no reporting law. HB 158-FN would change that.

I am aware that passage is unlikely, given the current makeup of the New Hampshire legislature. This is a modest little test case, though: will we bring the same intensity to this bill that we’re bringing to the online fuss over New York’s lamentable law? Will we write those emails, call those reps, come to the hearing, and eventually show up for the House vote? Will we use social media as intensively to promote HB 158-FN as we use it to criticize New York?

We can try.