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What N.H. politicians are saying about the Supreme Court's decision on abortion

Allegra Boverman

New Hampshire is the only state in new England with no express right to abortion codified in law, but abortion remains legal up to 24 weeks — even after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the precedent set by Roe v. Wade.

Read more: What you need to know about abortion rights in N.H.

In a statement issued soon after the court ruling was released Friday morning, Gov. Chris Sununu said "access to these services will continue to remain safe, accessible, and legal in New Hampshire."

While Sununu has long identified as a "pro-choice" politician, he also touted his "pro-life" record in a recent podcast interview.

In 2021, Sununu signed a law banning almost all abortions in New Hampshire after 24 weeks. With his support, the Republican-controlled Legislature voted this year to add an exception to that ban in cases of fatal fetal diagnosis.

At the same time, a push by Democrats to create an express right to abortion in state law failed to gain support at the State House. A separate bill, backed by Sununu, to add rape and incest exceptions to the 24-week abortion ban also fell short this session.

In a statement issued Friday, New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborne said the "ruling returning complete authority over abortion back to the states where it belongs is a great triumph for Federalism," adding that it "does nothing to change the accessibility of these services in New Hampshire."

Rep. Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, a Derry Republican who has sponsored bills to limit abortion, said the court's decision to put abortion policy in the hands of the states was "appropriate."

"I’m not out in the streets, dancing and cheering, because this is still going to be a debate on the state level," she said. "I don’t think that’s going to change, it's going to be the same, maybe just more intense.”

Earlier coverage: Inside N.H. State House, political fights over abortion rights simmer in wake of leaked Roe opinion

New Hampshire Democrats, meanwhile, said the ruling highlights the need for further action to protect abortion rights.

Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy called on Sununu to call the Legislature back for a special session "to enshrine the right to safe, legal abortion care here in New Hampshire."

"The women of New Hampshire are counting on us to protect this basic right to have privacy and dignity in their medical decisions," Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka said in a statement. "Today’s chilling decision proves that we are the last line of defense, and we must do everything we can to protect every woman's right to know their own circumstances, and their own medical challenges."

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said the ruling cannot become the new status quo.

“Today, we grieve,” Shaheen said. "Tomorrow, we fight.”

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