On second anniversary of the overturning of Roe, abortion remains a flashpoint across New Hampshire politics

A woman holds a sign to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case on June 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia. The Court’s decision overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case, removing a federal right to an abortion.

A woman holds a sign to protest the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case on June 24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia. The Court’s decision overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case, removing a federal right to an abortion. Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images via TNS

Protesters gather in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health overturned the landmark 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case and erased a federal right to an abortion. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/TNS)

Protesters gather in the wake of the decision overturning Roe v. Wade outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health overturned the landmark 50-year-old Roe v. Wade case and erased a federal right to an abortion. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/TNS) Tasos Katopodis

By ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL

Monitor staff

Published: 06-24-2024 4:45 PM

On Monday, the second anniversary of the Dobbs Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and resulted in abortion bans throughout the country, New Hampshire Republicans announced a six-figure spending campaign to argue that New Hampshire Democrats are over-blowing the issue as the 2024 campaigns kick into high gear.

“Democrats are still using fear, name-calling, emotional rhetoric and lies for the purpose of winning elections,” said Chris Ager, the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party in a press release. “If elected in Concord, they promise to undo the common-sense late-term measures Republicans put into place, which are on par with our liberal neighbors and will enact their failed economic, crime and border policies.”

Republicans launched a website, abortionfactsnh.org, aiming to point out what they say is the truth about abortion access across the state.

In 2021, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill that banned abortion across the Granite State after 24 weeks, with an exception for the life of the mother. While New Hampshire Republicans argue it was a common-sense law, over 200 medical practitioners across the state argued against the law’s passage.

“Decisions about a patient’s medical care and management are always best made between the patient and their clinician,” the letter, addressed to Sununu, read. “This arbitrary ban on abortion later in pregnancy, which has limited maternal health exceptions, and none for fatal fetal health, rape, or incest, interferes with the patient-provider relationship in complex circumstances. Abortion later in pregnancy often results from a patient’s health or life being at risk, or because of serious complications with a pregnancy. Achieving the best possible outcomes in extremely complex pregnancies depends on the outstanding efforts of highly trained physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and nurse practitioners.”

Republicans on Monday argued that abortion access across New Hampshire is in line with neighboring states, like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. But, those four states have laws that protect abortion up until at least the 24th week of pregnancy; New Hampshire has no such protections, only the ban.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood Votes used Monday as an opportunity to launch a spending campaign of over $750,000 across New Hampshire to focus on Republicans, including gubernatorial candidates Kelly Ayotte and Chuck Morse.

“Anti-abortion candidates can try to rewrite their history, but their records are clear – they have consistently pushed for more restrictions on abortion, proposed a 15-day abortion ban, supported Trump’s Supreme Court nominees who overturned Roe, and voted to defund Planned Parenthood multiple times,” Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for the Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund, said in a statement to the Monitor. “To think they can convince voters otherwise all of a sudden is an insult to Granite Staters.”

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And, with the 2024 presidential race looming in the background, New Hampshire Republicans might have difficulty separating themselves from the national party, said University of New Hampshire political scientist Dante Scala.

“Republicans are now known, nationally, as the party of abortion restrictions, thanks to Dobbs,” he said. “It’s difficult for Republicans at the state level to overcome that national reputation, especially on an issue that has been on the front burner in voters’ minds for the last couple of years.”

National Republicans have previously discussed banning or further restricting access to abortions and other reproductive health care like birth control, so the issue might be more impacted by what voters hear from Joe Biden and Donald Trump as both seek second terms in the White House.

“It’s tough for the tail to wag the dog,” Scala added. “It’s tough for state-level voices to be louder than national-level voices in a presidential election year.”