Granite State Democrats were on the warpath again over the state’s ban on late-term abortion and pledging to continue to fight for abortion rights for all. All women that is. Gone is state Senate Democrats’ support for abortion rights for “women and pregnant people.”
The Senate voted 14-10 along party lines to block a bill that would end all criminal or civil penalties for people performing abortions at any point in a pregnancy. That includes abortions in the eighth or ninth month for the purposes of sex selection.
The upper chamber also declined to pass a law declaring specifically that women have a right to an abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
When the two bills were voted ITL (Inexpedient to Legislate) by the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Sen. Becky Whitley released a statement declaring her disappointment. She also promised she and her fellow Senate Democrats “will never stop fighting to protect the fundamental rights of Granite State women and pregnancy people.”
But in her response to the full Senate vote, the “pregnant people” were gone.
“By failing to codify a woman’s right to abortion in New Hampshire law, the Senate Majority sent a disappointing message today to the 72 percent of Granite Staters who are pro-choice,” Sens. Whitley and Rebecca Perkins Kwoka (D-Portsmouth) said in a statement.
“We are facing a crisis in our country when it comes to reproductive freedom and an inflection point in the Granite State as women anxiously wait for us to act to protect their fundamental rights. As women in our reproductive years, this issue is deeply personal.”
While Whitley and the Senate Democratic Caucus would not respond to requests for the source of the 72 percent number, it was apparently a reference to a St. Anselm College survey from 2022 in which most respondents said they supported abortion under some circumstances. However, even in that poll, only 29 percent supported the New Hampshire Democrats’ “no restrictions” stance.
In a May 2022 NHJournal poll taken weeks after the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Dobbs decision, Granite States opposed the “no restrictions” policy by a 2-to-1 margin.
“Let me be clear: We do not have an abortion ban in New Hampshire,” Senate Majority Leader Sharon Carson (R-Londonderry) said after the vote. “Our law solely restricts late-term abortions, a commonsense policy, which a majority of Granite Staters agree with, and 43 other states align with.
“This law is plain and simple, and it’s supported by a majority of Granite Staters. The only confusing rhetoric is that of which is coming from special interest groups, looking to instill fear and confusion in the women of our state,” Carson added.
In an ironic twist of timing, a vote to restrict abortion in Florida after six weeks inspired best-selling novelist and outspoken liberal Stephen King to tweet Thursday, “It has been said before, but it bears repeating: if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.”
Whitley did not respond to a request for comment.