Delegation warns in advance of Sup Ct. abortion case

U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., top left, led online press conference Monday to warn that abortion protections were at risk as the Supreme Court takes oral arguments on a key case later this week. State abortion providers joined the all-Democratic congressional delegation for this event.

CONCORD — The state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation attacked the state’s new abortion ban law and said a U.S, Supreme Court case this week could lead to further restrictions in the future.

The nation’s highest court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday in the lawsuit, which challenges the legality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi.

Critics maintain the case threatens the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that since 1973 has made abortions legal until the fetus reaches viability as it could survive outside the womb.

New Hampshire’s own ban on abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest, goes into effect in January.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said these bans and cuts in state family planning grants for New Hampshire abortion providers will lead to more unplanned pregnancies and put more women at risk.

“If you want to see a revolution, go ahead, outlaw Roe v. Wade and see what the response is from the public, particularly young people because that will not be acceptable to young women and young men,” said Shaheen.

Anti-abortion activists and Republican operatives seized on Shaheen’s choice of words, likening the reference to the Jan. 6 protest outside the U.S. Capitol, which led to multiple arrests and an ongoing congressional investigation.

“Sounds like Shaheen advocating for violence,” said Chris Maidment, a GOP activist and past candidate for state representative.

Gov. Chris Sununu has said a majority of New Hampshire residents support a ban on later-term abortions.

The governor said he’s open to the Legislature stripping from the ban a provision which will require women to get an ultrasound prior to an abortion to confirm the gestational age of the fetus, regardless of whether the test is medically necessary.

Sandi Denoncour, executive director of Lovering Health Center in Greenland, said the agency in the coming weeks will announce changes in fees to deal with the loss of family planning money.

“We are making decisions in the next 90 days,” Denoncour said.

Dalia Vidunas, executive director of the Equality Health Center in Concord, said her agency has already “juggled fees” and those without insurance or high deductibles will bear higher costs.

“I have been seeing a lot of sadness, but also a lot of anger,” Vidunas said of New Hampshire’s ban.

Jason Hennessey, president of New Hampshire Right to Life said the group's website has an index of women's health care resources not affected by restrictions on state or federal family planning grants going to abortion providers.

'"If the federal delegation were serious about supporting Roe v. Wade's conclusion that government cannot regulate private individual healthcare choices, you would expect them to oppose the federal vaccine mandates," Hennessey said in a statement.

"But they haven't from what I've seen (quite the opposite in some cases). This shows that their 'concern' over Roe v. Wade is shallow and primarily concerned with de-humanizing the unborn people who lose their lives due to abortion."