Norelli: Legislature must repeal Governor Sununu’s abortion ban

PORTSMOUTH, NH – Last June, when Chris Sununu enacted the first abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history, the people of our state knew this was just the beginning of what would be a long attack. and relentless against reproductive rights by Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans.

This is more true than ever after the Supreme Court decision to make Roe v. Wade virtually meaningless in Texas, opening the door for Republicans in Sununu and New Hampshire to continue their attacks on reproductive rights and health services. That is why we must hold Sununu accountable for his anti-choice record and call on the lawmaker to repeal the abortion ban Sununu, which exposes doctors to criminal penalties, makes no exceptions for rape, the incest or the fatal fetal abnormality, and requires mandatory ultrasounds.

Chris Sununu’s decade-long anti-choice record is why the same threat to abortion access that plays out in Texas exists here in New Hampshire. Governor Sununu backed the confirmation of Supreme Court justices who now threaten reproductive rights. In 2017, the governor signed a letter saying he “applauded[s]”Judge Gorsuch’s appointment and urged the Senate to ‘confirm it promptly.’ In 2018, he signed another letter saying he stood” in favor “of Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment and urged the Senate to” act quickly “to confirm it. In 2020, Sununu said he supports the advancement of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination. No matter what Chris Sununu claims about his stance on Roe v. Wade, the fact is that he supported judges who wish to strip Roe v. Wade of their reproductive rights.

Chris Sununu’s record alone, from his support for anti-choice judges to the decisive vote for funding Planned Parenthood when he was on the Executive Board, is a source of serious concern about the future of access to abortion and reproductive health care. During the legislative session, he proved he would not resist threats against abortion and reproductive health care in New Hampshire. Instead, blatantly ignoring years of bipartisan efforts to protect reproductive rights, Sununu signed the anti-choice budget this summer.

More than 200 health and medical professionals, reproductive rights activists and Granite Staters urged Sununu not to sign the budget specifically because it included a ban on abortion and mandatory ultrasounds. Sununu ignored them and the women of our state, choosing to actively lobby Republicans for budget support and calling it “the greatest budget ever.” Now that the Supreme Court has not overturned the Texas abortion ban, the door is wide open for Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire to continue their attacks on reproductive rights – and they have already said they will propose a six week abortion. ban during the next legislative session.

Sununu and the New Hampshire Republicans didn’t stop at an abortion ban and mandatory ultrasounds. Just this month, Sununu’s Executive Board voted to do what it did in 2015: fund Planned Parenthood and other family planning organizations. These Republican Executive Board members – whom Sununu aggressively campaigned for in 2020 – voted to reject family planning contracts that have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades despite thousands of pages of supporting material and the will of the majority of the Granite Staters. As a result, thousands of women and people may no longer be able to access affordable primary and preventive health care.

Governor Sununu and the Republicans in State House have made it clear to tarnish our state’s “Live Free or Die” motto and long bipartisan tradition of advocating for reproductive rights in their quest to push for restrictive legislation on abortion in New Hampshire. There has been a bipartisan backlash to Sununu’s abortion ban from people across New Hampshire, including former Republican lawmakers, who are rightly shocked at the extreme direction their party is taking. regarding reproductive health care. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear that Governor Sununu and the Republicans in State House have no interest in listening to their constituents and are determined to continue attacking our reproductive rights.

We must hold Chris Sununu and the Republican legislature accountable for trying to deny us our reproductive rights. Democrats are already calling on the legislature to completely repeal Sununu’s abortion ban and mandatory ultrasound requirement. I urge other lawmakers to join their call to action and stand up for the women and people of New Hampshire.

This story was originally published by InDepth NH.

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