Forty-six states and the District of Columbia require abortion providers to submit regular and confidential reports to the state as part of their public health policy.

But Democrats in the state Senate are so determined to prevent New Hampshire from becoming number 47 that they abandoned one of their pro-choice priorities to stop it.

SB461, co-sponsored by all 10 Senate Democrats, would change the state’s late-term abortion ban (also known as the “Fetal Life Protection Act”) by removing the sentence, “Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed as creating or recognizing a right to abortion.”

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and its legislative allies say that language is a threat to women’s reproductive rights. Sen. Suzanne Prentiss (D-West Lebanon) says removing it is necessary because, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, women in the Granite State were “left without an affirmative right to an abortion under state and federal law.”

Senate Republicans, on the other hand, say the language has no impact on the state’s abortion law, which allows elective abortion for any reason during the first six months of pregnancy. But they have long been concerned by New Hampshire’s refusal to join the other 46 states that collect public health data regarding the procedure.

So, the Senate GOP crafted a compromise. They would pass the Democrats’ “high priority” bill removing the offending language, but they added an amendment requiring New Hampshire to join the rest of the U.S. and gather basic abortion statistics.

Senate Democrats went ballistic.

They declared the consequences would be “horrific,” a “dystopian horror show,” and suggested deep-state government conspiracies to access the data, theories echoing those embraced by MAGA extremists.

“It is rife with potential abuses of privacy,” claimed state Sen. Shannon Chandley (D-Amherst).

Sen. Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham) warned, “This information could be weaponized. What exactly is the public health purpose of collecting this information other than political talking points?”

Sen. Becky Whitley (D-Contoocook), a likely candidate in the Second Congressional District contest, went even further, claiming that if the amendment passed, “You will be ordered to get a government-required ultrasound to get an abortion.” She added the proposed amendment would result in “horrifying and dystopian” outcomes.

The “transvaginal ultrasound” became legendary among state senators when then-Sen. Tom Sherman (D-Rye) brought a medical wand to the Senate floor to demonstrate the procedure.

Republicans responded to Whitley’s claim by noting their bill has no reference to ultrasounds of any kind, and Whitley offered no evidence to back up her claim.

“I can’t believe people are just making this stuff up because you don’t want to vote for statistics,” said Sen. Majority Leader Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry). “It seems everybody is throwing everything out there but the kitchen sink — and I’m waiting for the kitchen sink.”

Senate President Jeb Bradley told NHJournal, “When the Democrats are losing the argument, they bring out the probe. And they were losing again today.”

As it became clear they wouldn’t be able to block the amendment, Senate Democrats became more apocalyptic.

“Ever since the Dobbs decision, we have been living in a dystopian horror show with control of pregnant bodies as the main plotline,” Altschiller said. “This amendment is nonsense. It serves no other purpose than to endanger providers and share patient’s privacy.”

Asked how New Hampshire collecting the data is “dangerous” while 46 other states do the same thing, Altschiller had not response.

“With this amendment, an abortion list can be created,” Altschiller told her fellow senators. “This private healthcare information could be potentially given to other states and weaponized against providers and individuals seeking legal abortion care in New Hampshire.”

Carson pointed out that the amendment makes no mention of personal information. Instead, it specifically states that nothing in the language “shall be construed as requiring the communication or disclosure of personally identifiable health care information to the department.”

“This is just more misinformation to scare women in the state of New Hampshire, and I think that needs to stop,” Carson added. “It needs to stop here today.

“Abortions are safe and legal in the state of New Hampshire up to the 24th week. We just want to collect statistics. That’s all. There’s no personal information here.”

Democrats then turned to procedural arguments to kill the bill, crying foul over the fact that the amendment was never subjected to a public hearing. Sen. Regina Birdsell (R-Hampstead) rebuffed that point.

“If an amendment is germane, it does not need a hearing,” Birdsell said.

She also recalled her Democratic colleagues frequently invoking the lack of state data when opposing abortion-related bills in the past, including when adding a late-term abortion restriction. (Every Senate Democrat in 2021 voted to leave elective abortion legal at any time during the entire pregnancy.)

“I’ve heard debates on the floor many times that we just don’t have the information, we just don’t have the data. Well, guess what? This will do it,” said Birdsell. “We’ll have the data to confirm one way or the other whatever arguments we’re talking about.

“Those 46 other states can provide better data than the state of New Hampshire can, and I will be supporting this piece of legislation because it gives both sides what they want. You’re repealing the language that you don’t like. We’re getting the statistics that we are looking for.”

Altschiller eventually brought her argument to another level.

“Why is this body singling out abortion patients and healthcare providers for scrutiny?” she asked. “It seems we should also be collecting information regarding who’s prescribing and getting prescriptions for erectile dysfunction. That’s reproductive healthcare, right?”

The amended bill passed on a straight party-line vote.

For Carson, Thursday’s debate invoked memories of the political atmosphere surrounding the state’s 2021 passage of a late-term abortion law, which Democrats described as a “ban on abortion.”

“This reminds me of when we passed the Fetal Protection Act and the things we heard that misled women in the state of New Hampshire by telling them abortions are being banned,” Carson said. “We knew that it wasn’t true, but it was a political statement.

“It was inaccurate, but once that horse left the barn, it was hard to put it back in. But today we’r,e going to close that door.”

The bill now heads to the House where Senate sources tell NHJournal its fate is uncertain.