Preventing Coerced Abortions (HB 1721, 2018)

Cornerstone supports HB 1721, a bill to prevent coerced abortions. A woman exercising her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy should have an enforceable right to do so without coercion and with full briefing about alternatives to abortion.

A woman who has an abortion because she feels she has no other choice is a woman under coercion. More than 20 years ago, Feminist Frederica Mathewes-Green said, “No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

It is sad reflection on society when the best solution we have for a woman in a crisis pregnancy is to kill her child.  We should be helping that woman identify all the issues in her life that are leading her to make such a lethal and irreversible decision.

HB 1721-FN is a step in that direction. While in no way undermining a woman’s legal right to abortion, it recognizes that coercion ought to play no part in the exercise of that right.

The first hearing on this bill included testimony from abortion providers who claim that they already screen potential abortion patients. But what about abortion providers not operating within the confines of established clinics?

You are surely aware that there are no restrictions in New Hampshire on who may perform abortions. Medical training is not required, so an abortion provider could operate without any oversight from a medical or professional board and still be operating legally.  Why shouldn’t such a provider be required to screen for signs of coercion among clients seeking abortion?

Being screened for coercion before having an abortion ought to be a woman’s right, not a privilege granted by the protocols of the particular clinic in which she seeks services. Please vote Ought to Pass on HB 1721-FN.

Testimony delivered by Cornerstone Action executive director Shannon McGinley to House Judiciary Committee. For more information, contact cornerstone@nhcornerstone.org.