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Abortion issue to be debated at House hearings


CONCORD - Opposing sides on the abortion issue are gearing up for two bills that will be heard today, one rejected by the legislature last year.

House Resolution 6 commemorates and affirms the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Surpeme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

"I am shocked that the representatives of New Hampshire would dedicate time to proposing, testifying and supporting a non-binding piece of legislation that is so controversial and contrary to the fundamental right to life," said Ashley Pratte, executive director of Cornerstone Action. "Commemorating a controversial decision that still creates division among Americans today is irresponsible and only intensifies the political gridlock that already exists."

But National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-Choice New Hampshire praised the resolution.

"After two years of out-of-touch, anti-choice legislators wagging unprecedented attacks on women's health and privacy, now is the time for our legislators to stand with New Hampshire's pro-choice majority and recognize the importance of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision and reaffirm their commitment to ensuring continued access to safe and legal abortion care for all women," said Sara Persechino, policy and community relations director of NARAL NH.

The House Health and Human Services Committee holds a public hearing on the bill at 1 p.m. in Room 205 of the Legislative Office Building.

Last year the Senate killed what is called the informed consent bill that would have required a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and required her doctor to provide her with information about abortion and the procedure.

A nearly identical bill, House Bill 483 has a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee at 1:30 p.m. in Room 208 of the LOB.

"It is critical that informed consent statutes exist in New Hampshire because it allows women who choose to undergo an extensive procedure to know what the consequences are," said Pratte. "Every human being has a right to know the dangers and threats associated with any operation or surgery. Abortion is no different, and women should not be denied this right."

But Persechino said the bill would force health care providers to give women state-maintained, ideologically driven materials before an abortion and require the 24-hour wait.

"Government interference in women's medical decision is not the New Hampshire way," she said. "In the past 15 years, out-of-touch legislators have introduced seven similar biased counseling and waiting period mandates. Each and every time, New Hampshire legislators have rejected these attempts to place politicians between women and the health care services they need."

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