It’s Time to Look at Abortion Statistics: HB 1680 (2012)

Cornerstone Action supports HB 1680, which began as a bill to require the collection of abortion statistics. It was amended in the House to require the oversight committee to establish a subcommittee to advise the general court on the potential collection of abortion data. However circuitous the route might be, we think the destination is worthwhile.

Some of the bills the House and Senate are asked to consider raise questions to which there are no authoritative answers, since the state does not mandate reporting of certain statistics. How many abortions are performed in New Hampshire each year? In what regions? How many women go outside their area of residence in order to obtain an abortion? At what point in gestation are abortions performed? What are the morbidity and mortality rates associated with the procedure? What methods are used? How many previous pregnancies has the woman experienced and how many were terminated by induced abortion? How many women have pre-existing conditions that complicate pregnancy?

All of those questions have public policy implications, regardless of one’s willingness to accept Roe v. Wade as having settled all questions regarding abortion. When it comes the effect of abortion on women’s health, for example, the least we can expect is that the state follow up on physical consequences to the mother. Any provider who objects to reporting on this has something in mind besides the patient’s welfare.

We ask that any subcommittee charged with examining this question include members of the general public. Viewpoints extending beyond the legislative one would be valuable to any finished product.

Setting up a subcommittee to examine what statistics to gather, and how they should be gathered, is a good step toward promoting maternal health and enacting sound public policy. We encourage your speedy adoption of HB 1680.