Along with my fellow NH voters, I received an email this week from Senator Shaheen on the current state of abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Senator correctly noted that the Supreme Court’s decision has had absolutely no impact on access to abortion in New Hampshire, which remains legal up to the 24th week. However, I was disappointed to read Senator Shaheen’s clear misstatement on the substance of the state’s Fetal Life Protection Act as it relates to the ultrasound requirement.
She states in her email, “In response to public outcry, the ultrasound mandate for abortions was reversed and is no longer in effect.”
This is wrong and apparently a parroting of Planned Parenthood’s own false statements on the topic of ultrasounds in the law.
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These are the facts:
- The ultrasound requirement has not been changed from the original law. The law already contained language limiting the application of the ultrasound requirement to cases when the provider knows or has reason to know that the fetus is 24 weeks or older. That is still the case.
- One thing that did change with the passage of HB 1609 this past session was the addition of similar limiting language elsewhere in the bill that simply reiterated the narrow scope of the ultrasound requirement.
There was no “reversal,” and it is simply false that the ultrasound requirement is “no longer in effect.” The ultrasound requirement is still in effect, as it always has been. It is, in fact, necessary to the state’s ability to implement and enforce the 24-week limit, with exceptions for fetal fatal anomalies and the physical health of the mother. I would also note that 24 weeks is the generally accepted point at which the baby a woman is carrying is in fact viable to survive independently outside the womb.
It is rather surprising that a United States senator from NH would get such a basic fact wrong concerning a NH law she was writing about to her constituents. Hopefully, it was not purposeful deception. But purposeful or not, we shouldn’t tolerate or ignore this false, misleading statement from an elected official in a position of public trust. Where are the media fact checkers when we need them?
I hereby call for Senator Shaheen to correct her misstatement publicly in a follow-up email to NH voters.
Pastor Brian Abasciano, Ph.D.
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Author: Pastor Brian Abasciano, Ph.D.
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