Another Opportunity for Abortion Statistics (HB 158-FN, 2019)

Cornerstone Action supports HB 158-FN, relative to induced termination of pregnancy statistics. We have supported similar bills since 2004. We saw the commendable and painstaking bipartisan work in 2015 and 2016 that went into a statistics bill which unfortunately did not pass. It demonstrated nonetheless that bipartisan cooperation on this public health measure is possible.

We support the collection of abortion statistics, in aggregated form, as a positive step in terms of public health and public policy. It is time for New Hampshire to join the other U.S. states that collect abortion data and report it to the Centers for Disease Control.

Public health officials, and you as policymakers, do not know how many women and adolescents exercise their right to abortion, because the only statistics to which you have access are figures voluntary given to you by abortion providers. You do not know at what stage in pregnancy abortions are performed, a data point that could be relevant to public policy. You don’t know the ages of women obtaining abortions.

Reliance on voluntary reporting by abortion providers is not enough. Public policy relative to women’s health should be based on something more than anecdotes and unverifiable numbers.

HB 158-FN provides for anonymity for patients as well as providers. While we understand concerns over potential data breaches at the state level, the response to such concerns needs to be on data protection – not declining to collect data since it might be breached someday.

Some might question why statistics ought to be collected on abortion. We suggest that the question ought to be, “what do forty-seven other states and the Centers for Disease Control know that we don’t?” New Hampshire is an outlier when it comes to collecting abortion statistics, and there’s no good reason for that. HB 158-FN would be a step in the right direction. Please vote “ought to pass.”