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A Massachusetts abortion rights group sets its eyes on New Hampshire

Protestors gathered in Manchester after the Dobbs decision on Friday, June 24.
Gaby Lozada
Protestors gathered in Manchester after the U.S. Supreme Court's Dobbs decision.

This story was originally produced by the New Hampshire Bulletin, an independent local newsroom that allows NHPR and other outlets to republish its reporting.

A group that’s long advocated for access to abortion and reproductive health care in Massachusetts is expanding into New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Christina Warriner, state director of the New Hampshire chapter of Reproductive Equity Now, said the group will invest in engaging and educating voters about what it sees as threats to reproductive health care in the state. That focus will be broad, she said. It will include the state’s 24-week abortion ban, the Executive Council’s defunding of family planning and sex ed programs, and the closure of maternity wards across the state.

“Restoring justice is about having autonomy over your body and being able to choose if and when you become pregnant,” Warriner said in an interview. “It can begin with knowledge about sex and contraception access all the way up to access to abortion and having the ability to parent with dignity in a safe environment.”

In a release Tuesday, the group said its goal is to “shift the tides in the Granite State and oust anti-abortion politicians from office.”

State law allows abortions up to 24 weeks but allows exceptions for the life of the mother and a fatal fetal anomaly. Physicians who violate the law can be imprisoned for up to seven years and face a fine of up to $100,000.

Legislative efforts to prevent further restrictions on abortion by codifying a right to access in the state constitution have failed. Reproductive Equity Now said it plans to partner with existing abortion access advocates to try to pass that legislation next year.

Last year, Reproductive Equity Now released an online guide to abortion access in New England identifying the state’s abortion providers in New Hampshire, how many weeks into a pregnancy they’ll terminate, and what to know about using insurance to cover abortion costs. The online guide also prominently notes what it does not include: links to centers that say they educate women on abortion without providing abortions or referrals to providers or, in some cases, emergency contraception.

New Hampshire-based groups and clinics that have lobbied for greater abortion protections and more funding for reproductive health care welcomed Reproductive Equity Now’s expansion into New Hampshire.

“(Planned Parenthood of Northern New England) operates in close network with other local family planning providers, and we depend on each other,” said Kayla Montgomery, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund, in an email. “This is a wide but fragile safety net of providers. As an advocacy organization, PPNHAF welcomes all partners to our coalition who are committed to fighting for reproductive rights in the Granite State. The health care landscape continues to shift rapidly nationwide, including here in New Hampshire.”

Josie Pinto co-founded the Reproductive Freedom Fund of New Hampshire in 2019 to help low-income people pay for abortions and get to appointments. It has provided over $400,000 in abortion care and helped more than 550 people in New Hampshire and over 250 out-of-state patients access abortion care from 35 other states, according to its website.

“I’m so excited to see Reproductive Equity Now expand their work to include New Hampshire, especially at a time where so much is at stake and there is so much important work to be done,” said Pinto, executive director of the fund.

New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

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