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NH House Committee Pushes ‘Fetal Personhood’ Bill To The House Floor

In an unprecedented move,
House Criminal Justice Committee reopens a retained bill

CONCORD – In an unprecedented move, the NH House Criminal Justice Committee passed SB 66  out of committee by a vote of 12-8. The House Committee previously retained the bill by a margin of 21-1. SB 66, if passed, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time in New Hampshire law.

SB 66 is a bill that poses serious unintended consequences and threatens women’s rights and health. The bill, as reported out by the House Criminal Justice Committee, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime. In doing so, SB 66 pits the rights of women against the rights of a fetus – threatening to erode the reproductive rights of Granite State women and to advance a larger national agenda to undermine the Roe v. Wade decision protecting abortion access.

”In other states that have adopted personhood measures like SB 66, pregnant women have been subjected to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and unwanted medical treatment,” says Devon Chaffee, Executive Director of the ACLU-NH. “SB 66 is inconsistent with existing New Hampshire statutes, and pits women’s rights against fetal rights in a manner that threatens to undermine pregnant women’s status as full persons under the law.”

As amended by the Senate, SB 66 uses medically inaccurate terminology. The Senate amendment to SB 66 removed the term “viability” from the bill and included a definition of “fetus” that is inconsistent with how that term is understood by the medical community.  Additionally, the Senate amendment’s use of a twenty-week marker has no grounding in medicine or law.

Current New Hampshire law recognizes the severe harm resulting from the death of a fetus and provides for an enhanced felony conviction in such cases. A person may be prosecuted for First Degree Assault if that person purposely or knowingly causes injury to another resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth—a class A Felony carrying a sentence of up to 15 years. People who commit violent crimes against pregnant women, especially crimes which result in miscarriage or stillbirth, should be punished and that punishment should recognize the severity of the harm and loss to women and their families. Representative Laura Pantelakos has submitted an amendment to SB 66 that would replace the bill with language that adds enhanced penalties to New Hampshire’s homicide statute. As such, Representative Pantelakos’ amendment would appropriately focus the law on the additional, often devastating injury suffered when a crime against a woman results in the loss of her pregnancy.

Leaders across New Hampshire are speaking out against SB 66 as passed by the Senate and as reported out of the House Criminal Justice Committee. Dalia Vidunas, Executive Director of the Equality Health, wrote in the Concord monitor: “SB 66 would become the first New Hampshire law to recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime. Such measures have been passed in other states to create a tension between women’s rights and fetal rights and provide a framework to overturn Roe v. Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose.” Read the rest of Vidunas’ letter here.

Reverend Mary Westfall, Community Church of Durham, United Church of Christ wrote in the Portsmouth Herald: “We all agree that those who commit violent acts against pregnant women should be severely punished under the law. SB 66 is not the answer. Instead of providing recourse for tragic fetal loss, this bill is a slippery slope to eroding rights under Roe v. Wade. If the New Hampshire legislature wants to increase penalties for crimes against pregnant women it should do so without threatening women’s rights and in a manner consistent with existing law.” Read the rest of Westfall’s letter here.

Susan Arnold, Chair for the NH Reproductive Rights Advisory Council, wrote in Foster’s Daily Democrat: “SB 66, if passed, would recognize a fetus as an independent victim of a crime for the first time in New Hampshire law…In other states that have adopted personhood measures like SB 66, pregnant women have been subjected to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and other deprivations of liberty for otherwise legal behavior that may or may not have harmed their fetuses. Justice for women? I think not. Read the rest of Arnold’s letter here.

NH Legislature Rejects Abortion Ban and Preserves Buffer Zone Law

PPNHAF volunteers gather for a rally before the vote on HB 578 and HB 589

Bipartisan tradition of respecting women’s health and privacy upheld in the Granite State

(Concord, NH) – Earlier today the NH House acted on the repeal of the NH Buffer Zone and a ban on abortion,  HB 589 and HB 578 respectively. These bills were the first legislative proposals to come before House members this biennium which would impact the landscape for accessing reproductive health in the Granite State.  Planned Parenthood opposed both measures. Neither bill will move forward to the NH Senate.

Quote from Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing, Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund:

Today, the New Hampshire House rejected two measures that would have restricted or compromised the ability of women to access personal and private reproductive health care. The majority of NH House Representatives listened to their constituents, including the thousands of Planned Parenthood supporters who lobbied against these measures. These bipartisan votes continue the Granite State’s strong tradition of respecting women and doctors, not politicians, to make personal, private decisions about pregnancy and childbearing.”

Yesterday nearly a hundred supporters from around the state came to Concord to talk to their state reps about these bills, and what Planned Parenthood means to them.

HB 578-FN: relative to banning abortion after viability. This bill, both in its original form and as amended by the Judiciary Committee, restricted the right of New Hampshire women to make private medical decisions later in pregnancy. It is part of a larger strategy by the bill’s proponents to chip away at abortion rights through multiple restrictions. The Committee amendment, titled the “Viable Fetus Protection Act” replaced the original bill and would have introduced new limitations to abortion access in state law without protecting longstanding rights.  The amendment failed on a vote of 189 – 170, and the bill was then tabled. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade held that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of liberty protects a woman’s decision to have an abortion, limits government involvement with private medical decisions prior to fetal viability, and enables states to restrict post-viability abortions with exceptions to protect the health and life of the pregnant woman.  Support for Roe v. Wade and for access to safe, legal abortion is stronger in New Hampshire than any state in the nation.

State Representatives from across the state watch ‘Across the Line’ – a virtual reality film which puts viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion and demonstrates why buffer zones are important.

Supporters also joined State Representatives for a lunch gathering to discuss these bills and view a showing of “Across the Line” which is seven minute virtual reality experience which puts viewers in the shoes of a patient entering a health center for a safe and legal abortion

“New Hampshire’s Buffer Zone law, enacted in 2014, was carefully tailored to strike a balance between public safety, free speech, and privacy rights. Planned Parenthood is committed to protecting the privacy and safety of our patients, while respecting first amendment rights. No woman should face intimidation, physical obstruction or fear of harm while seeking to access confidential medical care,” added Montgomery. 

HB 589-FN: repealing the law governing access to reproductive health care facilities. This bill would have repealed the Buffer Zone law which was passed in 2014. Planned Parenthood argued that health centers need the flexibility to implement Buffer Zones when the privacy and safety of patients is at risk. Undoing this law would be a step backwards and removes an important tool from the toolkit. The House Judiciary committee recommended a bipartisan report of ITL on this bill and the House voted to uphold the committee report by a margin of 191-165.

Senator Shaheen To Introduce Legislation To Permanently Repeal The “Global Gag Rule”

Today, newly inaugurated President Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy. This policy bans federal funds for non-governmental organizations that provide abortion services or provide information about abortion as part of family planning services. 

“The so-called Mexico City policy, established by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, blocks federal funding for international family planning charities that provide abortions or “promote” the procedure by providing patients with information about it, including by offering referrals to abortion providers,” wrote Jessie Hillmann for The Hill.

“Trump’s ban could impact foreign organizations like the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPFF), which provides family planning services in more than 180 countries,” Hillmann added.

Tomorrow, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will introduce bipartisan legislation in the Senate that would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. 

“The Trump Administration and Republican leadership have made no secret of their dangerous obsession with rolling back reproductive rights,” said Senator Shaheen. “President Trump’s reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule ignores decades of research, instead favoring ideological politics over women and families. We know that when family planning services and contraceptives are easily accessible, there are fewer unplanned pregnancies, maternal deaths, and abortions. And when women have control over their reproductive health, it improves the long-term health of mothers and children and creates a lasting economic benefit. I will continue to stand up to President Trump and Republican leadership in Congress who are intent on rolling back women’s access to reproductive healthcare, and will introduce bipartisan legislation to repeal the Global Gag Rule for good.”

Senator Maggie Hassan, who took office less than a month ago, was unhappy to hear that President Trump was reinstating the Global Gag Rule and says she will support Shaheen’s legislation.

“A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and control her own destiny is critical to the health and well-being of women around the world. I strongly oppose President Trump’s decision to re-institute a backward policy that will limit women’s access to reproductive health care and family planning services. This dangerous restriction on foreign aid to some of our world’s most vulnerable people is not consistent with our values as Americans. We cannot let efforts to roll back women’s rights go unchecked, and I will support Senator Shaheen’s legislation to permanently repeal the global gag rule.”

“I’m very disappointed that as one of his first actions as President, Donald Trump will be harming poor women and families in countries that can least afford it,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH01). “The Global Gag Rule severely limits the ability of international aid organizations to provide comprehensive reproductive healthcare to women around the world and poses a very real threat to our global progress on maternal and child health. The reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule is a clear signal that the Trump Administration does not respect women’s reproductive rights and health.”

This move comes the day after the 44th Anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.  Both Shaheen and Hassan released statements affirming their support of Roe v. Wade and the ability of women to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions.

Senator Shaheen:

“Today’s anniversary of Roe v. Wade is a reminder of the progress we have made and challenges that women still face to access comprehensive reproductive health care,” said Senator Shaheen. “In this last year, the Supreme Court handed down an important decision reinforcing a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, and we saw the abortion rate drop to the lowest level since 1943. This data is another reminder that when family planning services are accessible and contraceptives are affordable, we see a reduction in unplanned pregnancies and abortion. 

“Despite this progress, women’s reproductive healthcare remains under constant assault. States have continued to pass restrictions intended to shut down clinics and Republican leadership in Congress have already taken steps to defund Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women.” 

“A woman’s personal medical decisions are her own to make in consultation with her family and her doctor. I will continue to stand up against any and all political efforts to rollback women’s reproductive rights in our country.”

Senator Hassan:

“The anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade is a time to recommit ourselves to working to ensure that women can make their own health choices and chart their own destiny. On the heels of the remarkable Women’s Marches that mobilized millions of women across America yesterday, we must continue to speak up every day to protect our equal rights under the law.

“Protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and ensuring access to important health services – including critical primary and preventative health services provided at Planned Parenthood clinics across the nation – is essential to the economic vitality of our families, our communities and our nation.

“The efforts in Washington to repeal the Affordable Care Act, defund Planned Parenthood, and turn the clock back on reproductive freedoms undermine Granite Staters’ access to quality, affordable health care at providers they trust, and I will continue fighting any efforts that would force women to pay more for their health care or strip away their freedom to make their own health decisions.”

With known anti-abortion advocate, Vice President Mike Pence by his side, Trump began his assault on women’s reproductive rights.  It is obvious that this is only the first step by the Trump administration attempt to make abortion illegal and overturn Roe v. Wade.

Bipartisan Group Of Legislators Honored At Planned Parenthood Celebration

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC Honors Republican, Democratic Leaders For Work to Safeguard Women’s Health Care Access

ppne-awards

Rep. Takesian, Rep. Sherman, Jennifer Frizzell, Senator Stiles, Senator Kelly

 Outgoing Senators Stiles and Kelly, Representatives Takesian and Sherman Recognized for Bipartisan Commitment to Reproductive Health and Abortion Access

CONCORD, N.H.–Thursday night, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC held its annual celebration to honor legislative leaders whose commitment to women’s health are a reflection of  New Hampshire’s widespread support for Planned Parenthood and abortion access. PPNHAF PAC recognized Senator Nancy Stiles (R-Hampton), Representative Charlene Takesian (R-Pelham), Senator Molly Kelly (D-Harrisville) and Representative Tom Sherman (D-Rye) for being vocal and reliable advocates for the health of New Hampshire’s women and families.

In New Hampshire, women’s health does not divide people along party lines. Support for abortion access is higher in New Hampshire than any other state in the country with 73 percent of residents in favor of a woman’s right to make her own health decisions. A recent Public Policy Polling poll also found an overwhelming majority of Granite Staters support funding for Planned Parenthood and are unlikely to support a candidate who has voted to defund it.

Colin Van Ostern, who received the early endorsement of PPNHAF PAC to be New Hampshire’s next governor, attended the event and recognized that without women’s health champions at all levels of government and on both sides of the aisle access to care could be put in jeopardy. As an Executive Councilor, Colin Van Ostern fought to implement the state’s bipartisan Medicaid Expansion law and secure funding for Planned Parenthood while his opponent, Chris Sununu, cast votes to block both.

“This month we will mark the 100 year anniversary of opening of the first Planned Parenthood health center. Incredibly, 100 years later, we are still fighting to protect this critical health care provider and a women’s right to make her own health decisions from political attacks. Women’s health care access is not guaranteed and we should never take it for granted that is why we are so grateful to have legislative leaders who are willing to stand up for Planned Parenthood,” said Jennifer Frizzell, Chair of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund PAC.

Background on PPNHAF PAC’s Legislative Honorees

  • Senator Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton: As a three-term state representative and three-term state senator, Nancy Stiles has been a reliable and unwavering advocate for Planned Parenthood and women’s health. While chair of the Senate Education and Health and Human Services Committee Senator Stiles helped shepherd critical legislation expanding family planning coverage in New Hampshire’s Medicaid program and on multiple occasions she helped defeat legislation that would have restricted the teaching of comprehensive sex education in New Hampshire schools. She also stood up against the attempt by her Republican colleagues to establish fetal rights through dangerous personhood legislation. Prior to her election to the state legislature, Nancy Stiles served as a school nutrition director and observed how important access to family planning is for women’s economic empowerment and academic advancement.
  • Senator Molly Kelly, D-Harrisville: Senator Molly Kelly began her career in public service in 1998 as an appointee of Governor Jeanne Shaheen to the State Commission on Women. She ran for Senate in 2006 against former Senate President Tom Eaton who had betrayed a pledge to his constituents and used his leadership role to allow New Hampshire’s first ever abortion restriction to be enacted. During her tenure as a member of both the majority party and the minority party she was a constant advocate for women, for their right to control their destiny through educational opportunities, reproductive freedoms and family-friendly economic policy. In the 2011-2012 legislative session, when the pro-women’s health Senators were outnumbered by the anti-women’s health Senators by a margin of 7-17 , Molly Kelly quietly and diplomatically worked behind the scenes to help ensure that 5 very threatening piece of legislation died on the Table, or went to Interim Study, but did not become law. In the years since then she has championed proactive legislation and spoken out every single time women’s health was in jeopardy.
  • Representative Charlene Takesian, R-Pelham: Charlene Takesian served two terms as a state representative and held key committee roles which helped to safeguard reproductive rights. As a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Takesian was a vocal and well-versed advocate for Planned Parenthood, helping to educate her peers on the critical role Planned Parenthood health centers play in the lives of women and families across New Hampshire.
  • Representative Thomas Sherman, D-Rye: During his two terms, Rep. Sherman used his expertise as a doctor and commitment to women’s health to ask hard questions of proponents of anti-women’s health legislation and provided a leadership voice on the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee. During his tenure, he helped to defeat a bill that would have made medication abortion more difficult to obtain and pushed for the passage of Medicaid Expansion.

Click here to see more photos from our event.

NH1 Senate Debate Roundup: Ayotte, Rubens Spar Over Who is More Anti-Women’s Health

Radical GOP Candidates Support Trump, Defunding Planned Parenthood, Banning Abortion 

CONCORD—Wednesday, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Rubens went head to head in the NH1 primary debate to prove once and for all that they are completely out of step with Granite Staters, who overwhelmingly support access to safe and legal abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood. 

Kelly Ayotte and Jim Rubens leaned hard into their support for Donald Trump, who has said women need a “punishment” for abortion, and their shared desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. Kelly Ayotte even tried to one-up Ruben’s radical views on women’s health by enthusiastically citing her endorsement from the national Right to Life PAC.

When asked how she would fix the Affordable Care Act, Kelly Ayotte said she is for “patient choice” but neglected to mention that the ACA actually expanded consumer choices in NH (the exchange has grown from one carrier to five since 2015) and the law has provided nearly 100,000 Granite Staters with access to health care coverage. 

“If Kelly Ayotte truly believed in patient choice she wouldn’t have spent her career putting barriers between the women and low-income families who depend on health care access through Planned Parenthood,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager at Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Kelly Ayotte is out of step with New Hampshire’s values and our state’s long tradition of empowering women to live healthy, independent, and productive lives.” 

According to the 2015 American Values Atlas, 73 percent of Granite Staters support access to abortion—the highest rate of support in the nation. Sixty six percent of New Hampshire residents believe Planned Parenthood should be fully funded.

Van Ostern Highlights That Texas Is Not The Only State Fending Off Attacks On Women’s Health

Dont Take Away My Breast Exams - Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Don’t Take Away My Breast Exams – Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Anti-Choice Legislators In New Hampshire Have Attempted To Pass Similar “Trap Laws” To Those Rejected By The Supreme Court Today 

Van Ostern Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Whole Woman’s Health, Says New Hampshire Shouldn’t Interfere With Family Planning

CONCORD, N.H. – Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that challenged a Texas law designed to restrict a woman’s right to choose.  Legislators in Texas attempted to pass restrictive legislation that would have forced many women’s health centers to close down.  

More commonly known as Trap Laws, this type of  legislation specifically targets clinic doctors and the clinics themselves. In Texas, they mandated that doctors in a clinic that provided abortion services have admitting privileges at a local hospital.  Hospital executives then refuse to give doctors admitting privileges thereby forcing the clinic to shut down.

Colin Van Ostern for Governor campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Colin Van Ostern for Governor campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern praised the Supreme Court’s ruling and spoke out against the attacks by Republicans in the NH Executive Council who are attempting to close women’s health centers in New Hampshire by defund Planned Parenthood. 

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court reminded us once again that a woman’s right to her own health care decisions should be left to her and her health care provider, without politicians getting in the way,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. “On Wednesday, New Hampshire’s Executive Council now has the chance to follow the Supreme Court’s lead by restoring state funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and annual exams that was shut off last summer by Chris Sununu and two other men despite its broad bipartisan support. It’s time to right this wrong and restore these funds.”

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Executive Council will consider whether to restore funding for essential and lifesaving health services for 13,000 families.

Van Ostern has pledged to vote to restore funding for these critical health services made available through Planned Parenthood and other providers. In 2015, he was recognized for his leadership on women’s health issues by NARAL Pro-Choice NH and was named the state’s “Champion for Choice.”

Most recently, Van Ostern and Councilor Chris Pappas sent a letter to the three Republican Councilors urging them to reconsider their opposition to women’s health services.

Mark Connolly, also a candidate for Governor, sent an open letter to Councilor Sununu urging him to support the upcoming Planned Parenthood contract.

While the vote in the Executive Council tomorrow is specifically about funding Planned Parenthood health centers, it is only one of the many attacks on women’s health and reproductive rights in New Hampshire.

In recent years, an extreme group of New Hampshire legislators have repeatedly introduced legislation that mirrors the unconstitutional provisions in the Texas law struck down today, including burdensome clinic regulations, waiting periods and admitting privilege requirements. There were sixteen (16) bills filed in the 2016 legislative session to restrict access to safe, legal abortion and other reproductive care. All of these bills faced bipartisan defeat in either the New Hampshire House or Senate.

Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of NH Planned Parenthood Action Fund, praised the Supreme Court decision while highlighting how legislators right here in New Hampshire are passing legislation similar to HB2 in Texas to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortions.

“Today is a great day for women’s health. The Supreme Court has made it clear that politicians cannot pass laws which block access to safe, legal abortion,” said Frizzell. “An extreme group of New Hampshire legislators has been attempting to punish women and doctors for receiving or providing essential medical care by introducing legislation we now know to be unconstitutional.”

“We will continue to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion on behalf of our patients in New Hampshire,” Frizzell added.

A PerryUndem poll commissioned by Vox found that the majority of Americans oppose restrictions meant to shutter health centers or make it more difficult for women to access abortion, and that 70 percent of Americans don’t want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade.


Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be hosting a “rally in pink” to urge Councilors to restore funding to Planned Parenthood prior to the Executive Council meeting on June 29th at 9am.
(More details on PPAF’s Facebook Event)

Also take a few seconds to sign the petition urging Executive Councilor to restore funding for Planned Parenthood health centers.


 

Granite State Republicans Continue To Vow Support Trump Even Though It Will Cost Them The Election

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Republicans worst nightmare has come true. Donald Trump has won their nomination for President.

Former New Hampshire Republican leaders have been warning that a Trump led ticket would be disaster for Republicans all the way down the ticket.

“Here in New Hampshire, if Donald Trump is the nominee, we will not get a Republican governor. We will lose the New Hampshire state Senate, and we could lose the New Hampshire state House… and we could lose Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte.”
Former GOP Gov. John H Sununu

“I think they’re very concerned if they’re up for reelection . . . Clearly Trump at this time is not going to carry swing states. I’m thinking of New Hampshire, for example.”
Former New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg

“If Donald Trump is the nominee, Kelly Ayotte might as well resign because it’s all over.”
Former NHGOP Chair Fergus Cullen

Even with strong warnings from former party leaders, Republican candidates are still refusing to reject Trump and his racist, fascist, misogynistic rhetoric.

Senator Kelly Ayotte says she will support Trump’s nomination by voting for him but will not endorse him. Pledging to vote for him is in the eyes of everyday voters, the same as endorsing him.

Aaron Jacobs, Communications Director from Maggie for NH blasted Ayotte in a recent statement for her vowing to vote in support of Trump.

“While Kelly Ayotte just today made her support for Donald Trump official, they’ve long been in agreement when it comes to critical issues such as their desire to defund Planned Parenthood, undermine Roe v. Wade, and obstruct the Supreme Court confirmation process. And all Granite Staters should be concerned that Ayotte has announced her support for Trump despite national security experts and members of both parties have condemned his foreign policy positions as dangerous to our country’s vital interests. The people of New Hampshire will soundly reject the Trump-Ayotte ticket in November.”

Women’s health and equal pay are on the forefront of the minds of many women voters in the Granite State. Both Ayotte and Trump oppose equal pay for women and want to nominate a Supreme Court Justice to overturn the forty-year decision of Roe v. Wade.

senators_onnotice_03.1

Image from EMILY’s List

senators_onnotice_04

Image from EMILY’s List

National women’s rights advocacy group EMILY’s List has routinely highlighted the connections between Trump and Ayotte.

“Kelly Ayotte stepped even further away from New Hampshire women and families today with her confirmed support for Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. She chose her extreme party over the women she was elected to represent by pledging to support a nominee who has called women ‘fat pigs’ and ‘slobs’ and who spews hateful rhetoric every chance he gets,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

“Although really, it should come as no surprise to anyone that she’s lining up behind Donald Trump — they both share a radical agenda of wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, opposing meaningful efforts to end gender discrimination in pay, and wanting to take away women’s rights to make their own health care decisions. If New Hampshire women can’t even count on Kelly Ayotte to stand up to Donald Trump, they definitely can’t count on her to stand up for them in the Senate,” added Schriock.

It is not just Ayotte who is vowing to support Trump. Congressman Frank Guinta and Rich Ashooh, who are both vying for the GOP nomination in NH’s 1st Congressional District, have also said they will support the Republican nominee, even if it is Trump.

Ashooh recently told NH1 last month that he wouldn’t commit until Trump had the nomination. With Ted Cruz and John Kasish leaving the race, Ashooh is left with little choice.

Guinta told NHPR in March that he will support the eventual nominee. Carol Shea-Porter, candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District, has already called on Frank Guinta to denounce Trump’s deeply offensive statements.

Shea-Porter additionally called on Guinta to return a personal contribution Trump made to Guinta’s re-election campaign earlier last year. Frank Guinta refused to comment to WMUR on whether he’d return the contribution.

“Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, Rich Ashooh and Frank Guinta need to admit to Granite State voters that they pledged to blindly support their nominee, including Donald Trump and his ignorant and dangerous views. We already know where Frank Guinta’s loyalties lie, as he refused to condemn Donald Trump for his hateful and divisive remarks, and he has also refused to return the campaign money he took from Trump earlier last year,” said Shea-Porter. “Rich Ashooh and Frank Guinta have already said that they will commit to supporting the eventual nominee, so now Granite Staters will see whether Ashooh and Guinta will follow through on their promise to Republican voters.”

Trump Sununu Campaign SignTrump’s Presidential campaign is already having an impact on the NH Gubernatorial election.

Last month, Democrats led by New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley unveiled a new campaign sign for the Trump/Sununu ticket, highlighting their shared far-right policies of defunding Planned Parenthood, opposing Medicaid expansion and denying climate change.

“The fact is that Donald Trump’s out of touch views are shared by Chris Sununu and the whole Republican gubernatorial field,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Some Republicans are lining up to denounce Trump because they know how devastating his selection would be for down ballot Republicans. But not Chris Sununu, who said he’ll absolutely support whoever the Republican nominee is, even if it is Trump. I guess we’re not surprised since their policies line up so well.”

With Trump at the top of the ticket this means disaster for the GOP all the way down the ticket. This means that we, as Democrats, have a strong chance of retaining the Governor’s seat and taking back the state House and Senate.

“The Republican party has spoken and chosen the dangerous and offensive Donald Trump to carry their banner into the general election; unfortunately for New Hampshire Republicans, the general electorate won’t make the same mistake,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “That’s why Republican leaders in the Granite State have been warning against his candidacy for months. They know that Trump as their party’s nominee means disaster for Kelly Ayotte, Chris Sununu, Ted Gatsas, Jeanie Forrester, Frank Guinta, and the rest of the New Hampshire Republican ticket who have refused to condemn Trump and his destructive policies.”

The Ayotte-Trump Agenda: Criminalizing Abortion Edition

Ayotte-Trump Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday Donald Trump announced that women in this country should be “punished” if they get an abortion — before recanting, using the same language anti-choice groups have been using for years to whitewash their true agenda, which is taking away a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions and control her own body. But the truth is that Donald Trump’s comments only pulled back the curtain on what the GOP has already been doing for years: punishing women through draconian laws and restrictions on their right to have an abortion. Republicans can try to spin that reality any way they want, but they can’t deny the truth. Punishing women is and always has been the point of their extreme policies. Despite all of this, vulnerable Republican Kelly Ayotte still refuses to denounce Trump or say she won’t support him as the Republican nominee putting the extreme anti-woman agenda they both share into the spotlight.

“Donald Trump is leading the GOP charge to prevent women from making their own health care decisions,” said EMILY’s List Communications Director Marcy Stech. “First Ayotte and Trump supported an unconstitutional abortion ban that would criminalize doctors, and now she’s standing by the Republican frontrunner who said he wants to ‘punish’ women who get abortions. Elections matter, and Kelly Ayotte is linking arms with Donald Trump at the expense of New Hampshire women and families.” 

The Ayotte-Trump Agenda

Both Trump and Ayotte Supported An Abortion Ban. Trump supported a national abortion ban and said pro-choice policies “goes against our core values.” In September 2015, Ayotte voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that “would have banned abortion nationwide after 20 weeks ‘post-fertilization,’ or about 22 weeks’ gestation […] Opponents of HR 36 attacked the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional; violates the rights of women in desperate situations, including rape and incest victims; and threatens doctors with criminal penalties for trying to do what’s best for their patients […] Opponents of HR 36 attacked the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional; violates the rights of women in desperate situations, including rape and incest victims; and threatens doctors with criminal penalties for trying to do what’s best for their patients […] Under the GOP-backed bill, rape and incest victims would have to further delay abortion care by seeking counseling from doctors who do not perform abortions, or who do not even share an office with a doctor who does. Incest victims under the age of 18 would also have to file a police report.” The bill failed in the Senate 54-42 with 51 GOP voting for it. [HR 36, Vote #268, 9/22/15; RH Reality Check, 9/22/15; CBN News, 7/22/15]

Both Trump and Ayotte Opposed Raising the Minimum Wage. During the fourth Republican presidential debate, Trump insisted that wages were “too high,” and he was opposed to raising the minimum wage. In 2014 and 2015 Ayotte voted against increasing the federal minimum wage. [New York Times, 11/11/15; S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14; S.Con.Res.11, Vote 93, 3/26/15]

Both Trump and Ayotte Would Deny Women Equal Pay At an October 2015 convention in New Hampshire, Trump said of equal pay, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Ayotte has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times. In June 2012, Ayotte voted against a procedural vote to move forward with S. 3220, Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (also known as the Equal Pay Act), “to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would require a clarification in reasons for differences in wages paid to men and women doing the same work. The motion was rejected 52-47. In April 2014, Ayotte voted against a motion to address the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to Congressional Quarterly the vote was a “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would require employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications and in similar jobs have a business justification. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information and authorize the Labor secretary to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. The bill also would require the Labor Department to provide training and collect wage information.” The motion was rejected by a vote of 53-44. In September 2014, Ayotte voted against a bill to strengthen federal equal pay laws for women. In March 2015, Ayotte voted against Senator Mikulski’s proposal to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to amending the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to allow for punitive damages, limit the any factor ‘other than sex’ exception, and prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information.” The amendment failed 45-54. [S. 3220Vote #115, 6/05/12; S 2199Vote #103, 4/09/14; S. 2199, Vote #262, 9/15/14; S. Con. Res. 11, Vote #82, 3/24/15]

Women Speak Out Against Trump And The NH GOP’s Continued Assault Of Women’s Reproductive Rights

Image by Gage Skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore

As if the Donald Trump campaign could not get any worse, yesterday, Trump told MSNBC that women should receive “some form of punishment” for having an abortion.

This is completely outrageous. He wants to punish women for having a safe and legal medical procedure.

After Trump’s comments, Cecile Richards responded to Trump directly via Twitter by saying: “[Donald Trump] is vocalizing the motivations of every politician who votes to restrict access to abortion. It’s about controlling women.”

“Women’s lives are not disposable. There’s nothing else to say, as Donald Trump’s remarks today have said it all,” Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund Dawn Laguens said in an email alert sent last night.

Late last year, the NH Citizens Alliance and Granite State Progress combined forces to create the Stand With Women or Stand in the Way campaign to protect women’s reproductive rights as well as to fight for economic justice and pay equity.

Today, they spoke out against Donald Trump and his horrific remarks about punishing women for executing their constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion.

“Donald Trump’s tag line should be – “Let’s make America the Mid-Evil Ages”- Women and the hard working families and individuals of this great nation are already struggling against pay inequity, substandard wages, criminal labor and scheduling practices, and an economic and political system that favors corporate interest over real people,” said Kary Jencks Executive Director of the NH Citizens Alliance.  “Now, Trump wants to further stand in the way of the human rights of everyday Americans by placing women into iron maidens for exercising their very private constitutionally protected right to choose when to have a child.”

“Donald Trump’s belief that women who seek an abortion should be punished is shocking, but right in line with the extreme views on women’s health taken by far-right politicians up and down the ballot,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Just last month in New Hampshire, a Republican State Representative said that women who were raped should have to prove it before being allowed to have an abortion.

“There were more than a dozen bills aimed at rolling back women’s reproductive health options and penalizing those who provide them, yet the legislators supporting those bills are nowhere to be seen when it comes to efforts to increase access to birth control or pass family-friendly workplace policies. This outdated mindset stands in the way of women, and it’s wrong regardless of whether you are a Presidential candidate or a local elected official,” added Rice-Hawkins.

Donald Trump’s comments yesterday that women who have abortions should be “punished” sparked national outrage, but not among New Hampshire’s Republican gubernatorial candidates Frank Edelblut, Ted Gatsas, Jeanie Forrester, and Chris Sununu, who are still completely silent on the issue.

“Donald Trump’s policy proposals to punish women, immigrants, and others are horrific and don’t represent the fabric of our nation nor the values of Granite Staters,” said NHDP Spokeswoman Holly Shulman.

“History will harshly judge the members of Trump’s own party who were too afraid or too politically calculating to speak up and stand up to him when the country needed it most. There’s a chance for New Hampshire Republicans like Edelblut, Gatsas, Forrester, and Sununu to put themselves on the right side of history today. They just need to speak up and lead,” continued Shulman.

Trump Sununu Campaign SignRepublicans across the country are attempting to legislate away a woman’s right to choose. Here in New Hampshire, Executive Councilor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu voted to strip all funding from Planned Parenthood after the highly doctored and completely false video of Planned Parenthood appeared.

It is obvious that Chris Sununu is confused about what it means to be pro-choice and pro-abortion.

In a Concord Monitor piece from February, Chris Sununu said he “identifies as pro-abortion rights.”

There’s just one problem: when Sununu had the opportunity to cast the deciding vote on funding Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire, he followed anti-choice ideology and stripped abortion rights, cancer screening, STD testing and access to low-cost birth control for thousands of Granite State women.

“For Sununu to call himself “pro-abortion rights” after taking away access to safe and legal abortions for thousands of Granite State woman is the height of hypocrisy,” added Shulman.

Women deserve elected leaders who will uphold their constitutional right to a safe a legal abortion not threats of punishment.

NH House Kills 9 Bills Attacking Women’s Health

Ten Bills Voted on Today, Nine defeated by the NH House that Formed a Broad Agenda to Ban Abortion

Planned_Parenthood_logo.svgConcord, NH — Today the New Hampshire House voted to oppose dangerous changes in the landscape of reproductive health. Ten bills, an unprecedented number of attacks on women’s health, were voted on. One bill, a repeal of New Hampshire’s voluntary Buffer Zone law, was passed and will go to the Senate for further consideration.

“On behalf of New Hampshire’s women and families I applaud the New Hampshire House today for rejecting a package of legislation that would devastate reproductive health in the Granite State. Today’s proposed legislation was part of a broad agenda to ban abortion and eliminate reproductive care. We are pleased that a majority of Representatives stood up to extreme legislators and stood with New Hampshire’s women and families,” stated Jennifer Frizzell VP for Public Policy at the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

Ten Separate Bills were voted on today

Extreme anti-women’s health lawmakers attempted today to pass legislation that would make the constitutional protections of safe and legal abortion under Roe v. Wade, established more than 40 years ago, meaningless for New Hampshire women and families. The vast majority of these dangerous bills were stopped, including bills to ban abortion later in pregnancy, a bill to ban fetal tissue donation for medical research, and a bill that would deny family planning (Title X) funding to New Hampshire which provides preventative care like birth control, well women exams, and STI screenings.
The majority of the New Hampshire House agreed with their constituents. Support for access to safe, legal abortion is higher in New Hampshire than any other state in the country and that more Republicans here consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life on issues like abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood.

New Hampshire has a strong tradition of respecting women and doctors, not politicians, to make personal, private decisions about pregnancy and childbearing, and today the House respected that tradition. New Hampshire currently has some of the best public health outcomes in the country for women, including the lowest teen pregnancy rate, and the best perinatal and maternal health outcomes. The proposed anti-women’s health legislative package would have dramatically jeopardized care for New Hampshire women and reduce access for New Hampshire communities.

Despite the views and values of their constituents, a handful of extreme Republicans continue their assault on women’s health care. At the beginning of the 2016 session, they introduced a legislative package consisting of 16 bills that aimed at dismantling women’s preventive care and ending access to safe, legal abortion.

“Planned Parenthood of Northern New England knows that ruthless attacks from extreme politicians will continue. However, we won’t let these politicians take us backwards and make it impossible to get safe and legal abortion, putting women’s lives and health in danger. Today’s successes show that the majority of New Hampshire’s Representatives understand the importance of fighting from preventing these dangerous bills from becoming the law. The stakes for women’s health and rights have never been higher, and our doors will always remain open,” stated Jennifer Frizzell, VP for Public Policy at the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

Ten Bills Voted on Today:

HB 1662: relative to abortion-inducing drugs.

CACR 19: relating to the taking of human life. Providing that the general court shall not appropriate nor authorize any expenditure to benefit any corporation having as its object the taking of innocent human life.

HB 1328: limiting pregnancy terminations to pregnancies of 20 weeks or less.

HB 1399: requiring licensure of outpatient abortion clinics.

HB 1570:  repealing the law governing access to reproductive health care facilities (Buffer Zone Repeal). *bill passed 160-152

HB 1623:  prohibiting an abortion based on genetic abnormalities.

HB 1625: relative to banning abortion after viability.

HB 1636: prohibiting abortions once an unborn child can feel pain.

HB 1663:  prohibiting buying, selling, and experimenting on unborn infants or bodily remains resulting from abortion.

HB 1684: prohibiting the use of public funds, employees, and facilities in assisting or performing abortions.


Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including legislative education, grassroots organizing, and advocacy. Follow us on Twitter.

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