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How protected are preborn babies in NH?

New Hampshire is one of the most abortion-friendly states in the country.

Abortion used to be legal, unrestricted, and unregulated throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy in New Hampshire for any reason.

Learn the Facts

Abortion in New Hampshire

How far into pregnancy are abortions permitted in New Hampshire?

Abortion in New Hampshire used to be legal, unregulated, and unrestricted for any reason and any stage for over four decades.

Legislators rejected bills in 2017 and 2018 that would have provided protection for viable preborn children.

But on January 1, 2022, New Hampshire enacted its first major abortion ban!

HB 2 Sections 37-40, or the Fetal Life Protection Act, bans abortions after 24 weeks unless there is a severe health risk to the mother. It requires an ultrasound before every abortion that is potentially after 24 weeks, but not before that timeframe. Most babies after 24 weeks are “viable”, meaning they can survive outside of the mother in case there is a medical emergency.

What laws in New Hampshire affect abortion now?

New Hampshire has a parental notification statute. When a minor seeks abortion, she needs to notify a parent or guardian, or else use a “judicial bypass” in which a judge determines she is mature enough to make her own decision. The law calls for notification, not consent.

New Hampshire bans the barbaric abortion method known as partial-birth abortion or dilation-&-evacuation, in which a child is delivered partway before being killed. This ban was passed in 2012.

As of early 2019, New Hampshire policy limits the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.

New Hampshire adopted a fetal homicide statute in 2017, allowing prosecutors the option of filing homicide charges against a person whose bad actions cause the death of a preborn child against the mother’s will. While not an abortion law, it was bitterly opposed by abortion advocates.

How many abortions are performed in New Hampshire annually?

No one knows, and that includes state lawmakers. New Hampshire does not have an abortion statistics law, despite the fact that the federal Centers for Disease Control attempts to collect abortion data. Forty-seven other states manage to collect and report such data, while protecting the anonymity and privacy of individual women obtaining abortions.

New Hampshire public health officials have no reliable data on the age of women seeking abortion, the stage of pregnancy at which abortions are performed, and whether women are experiencing abortion complications.

How many doctors do abortions in New Hampshire?

No one knows, since public health authorities do not collect any data on abortions.

There is no requirement that abortion providers in New Hampshire have any medical training or certification whatsoever.

Do New Hampshire public health authorities inspect abortion facilities?

No, according to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. From a May 19, 2013 report in the New Hampshire Sunday News: “Kris Neilsen, communications director for the state Department of Health and Human Services, explained in an email that abortion clinics like Planned Parenthood and the Concord Feminist Health Center are exempt from state licensing and inspection requirements because they are considered physician offices. Twenty-three health care providers such as hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and dialysis centers are licensed by the state, but not abortion clinics. ‘In New Hampshire, there is no such thing as an abortion clinic – the majority of abortions are done in doctors offices … and doctors’ offices are exempt from licensure under RSA 151:2 II,’ Neilsen said. ‘Because they are exempt, we have no jurisdiction over them, and neither does anyone else.’”

Who sets standards for abortion facilities?

The abortion providers themselves determine what standards to use. Since there is no law that providers have any medical training, those “standards” need not relate in any way to women’s health.

What’s the rate of post-abortion complications experienced by New Hampshire women?

No one knows, since lawmakers refuse to demand abortion statistics and public health officials decline to collect them. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” sums it up.

Does New Hampshire law protect children who survive attempted abortion?

No. Children who survive attempted abortion are not entitled to any more care than the abortionist wishes to provide. A bill to recognize a duty to care for such infants was defeated by the New Hampshire House in 2016. Another bill, HB 233 (Born Alive Protection Act) was introduced in 2021 to protect babies who are born after an abortion. So far, state senators have not passed the bill with the Birdsell Amendment.

Does New Hampshire law recognize the conscience rights of health care personnel who choose not to participate in abortion?

No. A bill to provide conscience protections was killed in the New Hampshire House in 2018. Health care professionals in New Hampshire can lose their jobs and be subject to professional sanctions for refusing to assist in abortions.

How did New Hampshire become such a haven for abortion providers?

In 1997, then-Governor (now U.S. Senator) Jeanne Shaheen signed a law repealing New Hampshire’s 19th-century anti-abortion laws. She did so knowing full well that no updated laws were in place. With a stroke of her pen, and with the cooperation of legislators, New Hampshire abortion regulation disappeared. So did concern for the health of women obtaining abortions. So did concern for preborn children, even moments away from birth.

Contents of this page have been reprinted with permission of Cornerstone. Visit to learn more about their organization.

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