For years, New Hampshire’s “buffer zone” law has allowed private abortion clinics to ban counseling, protesting, and silent prayer on the public sidewalks outside their facilities.
As a candidate, Chris Sununu promised pro-life voters he would repeal this buffer zone law. Sununu made this promise while meeting with a group of pro-life leaders including Cornerstone’s current Executive Director Shannon McGinley and lead by former GOP gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Sununu later repeated that promise in a signed letter to Lamontagne, which you can read here.
We now know that this statement was a lie, a promise the Governor never intended to keep. On May 27, a Friday, Sununu vetoed a bill—HB 1625—which would have repealed the unconstitutional buffer zone law. His veto revealed a depth of brazen dishonesty that is almost unknown in New Hampshire politics. Even Washington, D. C. politicians rarely manipulate and betray their constituents this directly and cynically.
Opponents of HB 1625 in the media have said the bill would have enacted a “ban on safety zones” outside abortion clinics. But the bill would not have “banned” anyone from doing anything. The entire bill was nothing more than a few lines repealing the “buffer zone” law. The cynical rhetoric of some journalists is a reminder that, on abortion, New Hampshire media have been increasingly and deliberately unhinged from the world of reality.
Unfortunately, because abortion clinics have never actually enforced the buffer zone law, it cannot be challenged in court. Knowing that the law would be struck down if it is ever actually enforced, abortion clinics have scrupulously avoided enforcing the law while—at the same time—campaigning vigorously against any legislative attempts to repeal it. The clinics’ goal is to keep the law on the books in order to deter pro-life speech through the lingering threat of punishment.
Governor Sununu’s promise to repeal the buffer zone law was not the only lie in his letter to Lamontagne. In the same letter, Governor Sununu also promised to support a “Late Term Abortion Ban.”
Earlier this year, however, Governor Sununu endorsed the original text of HB 1609, which would have returned New Hampshire to unlimited abortion up to birth. Fortunately, HB 1609 was significantly amended by the time it reached the Governor’s desk, leaving New Hampshire’s six-month abortion ban fundamentally intact, no thanks to the Governor.
Still, it now seems that if Governor Sununu promises in a signed letter to pursue any specific policy on abortion, he can be trusted to do exactly the opposite. It is a sign of the laziness and unquestioning obedience of Granite State media that, outside of the pro-life community, the Governor has continued to get away with his systematic dishonesty.
Sununu’s endorsement of the original HB 1609 text was both a betrayal and a historic low for any Republican governor. Although Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is known as a moderate and socially liberal Republican, Baker once wisely vetoed a bill functionally identical to HB 1609. In December of 2020, a strong Democratic majority in Massachusetts’ legislature overrode the veto and enacted abortion up to birth in Massachusetts.
By positioning himself as even more fanatically pro-abortion than Charlie Baker, Sununu earned the distinction of becoming the most extreme pro-abortion GOP Governor currently serving in any state. It seems his “important work” has been to defend the abortion lobby, not stand up to it.
The numbers are not on the Governor’s side. Last month, polling showed that 62.2% of Granite Staters either support New Hampshire’s current six-month ban or want a more restrictive abortion ban. By throwing away even the most minimal standards of honesty and integrity, Sununu has groveled before a loud and well-funded minority of pro-abortion extremists. The Governor will not and should not be rewarded for his deception.