Abortions Statistics Bill Rejected By Committee

A bill to require collection of public health statistics relative to abortion will go to the New Hampshire House with an “inexpedient to legislate” (ITL) recommendation. The Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs committee voted 12-8 along party lines to report the bill ITL.

The bill will be voted on by the full House as early as February 14. Unless the committee recommendation is overturned, New Hampshire will remain one of three states failing to report abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control.

N.H. House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee

Committee members voting “inexpedient to legislate,” all Democrat: Reps. Polly Campion (D-Etna), Gerri Cannon (D-Somersworth), Mary Freitas (D-Manchester), Jerry Knirk (D-Freedom), James MacKay (D-Concord), Richard Osborne (D-Campton), Jeffrey Salloway (D-Lee), Joe Schapiro (D-Keene), Kendall Snow (D-Manchester), Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth), Lucy Weber (D-Walpole), and Gary Woods (D-Bow).

Opposing the ITL motion were eight Republicans: Reps. Dennis Acton (R-Fremont), John Fothergill (R-Colebrook), Joseph Guthrie (R-Hampstead), William Marsh (R-Wolfeboro), Charles McMahon (R-Windham), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield), Mark Pearson (R-Hampstead), and Walter Stapleton (R-Claremont).

Rep. Osborne, speaking before the vote, told his colleagues, “All these things [New Hampshire abortion statistics] are already in the CDC.” He claimed to have found New Hampshire abortion information online. [Note: see comment below this post from one of Rep. Osborne’s colleagues, pointing out that Rep. Osborne later corrected his statement.]

Rep. Osborne’s claim is at variance with the latest Abortion Surveillance report from the Centers for Disease Control. From that report:

  • “This report summarizes abortion data for 2015 that were provided voluntarily to CDC by the central health agencies of 49 reporting areas (the District of Columbia [DC]; New York City; and 47 states, [excluding California, Maryland, and New Hampshire]).” [page 2, emphasis added]
  • Page 5, “U.S. Totals,” emphasis added: “Among the 49 reporting areas that provided data for 2015, a total of 638,169 abortions were reported. All 49 of these areas provided data every year during 2006–2015. Excludes California, Maryland, and New Hampshire.”

8 thoughts on “Abortions Statistics Bill Rejected By Committee

  1. As a member of the committee with a background in medical IT, it was clear that the worry about patient privacy was simply a fear tactic. I tried to make that point by questioning the NH Medical Society Rep. and another speaker about this. They were unable to provide an example of which data points would be a violation of HIPAA. Those opposing this bill repeatedly insinuated that the motive behind collecting this data is to try to re-identify and “target” individual patients.

    To his credit, Rep. Osborne recanted his testimony the next day regarding NH data being present in CDC reporting. The data he referenced was from 1965.

  2. The efforts we have put into trying to get this into our laws over decades is astounding. This is such a low bar, obviously nothing to do with making abortions illegal as far as they’re concerned. It’s obvious they only want to stop or prevent anything they see as a “wedge” issue simply because it’s supported by pro-life activists. They completely ignore the fact that this would allow us to target demographics where help and support would be available to women that would insure greater health through access to information and education. It’s their way of trying to keep women, and everyone else in the state, in the dark about what’s really going on.

    1. “In the dark” sums it up. During the executive session, one of the representatives, Dr. Knirk – an opponent of stats collection – noted that the bill didn’t call for reporting on abortion complications. If it’s about women’s health, he reasoned, the sponsors would have put that in the bill. He was apparently ignorant, or dismissive, of the fact that previous versions of stats bills were criticized for having abortion complications on the list of data to be collected. Reason: recording complications might lead to identifying abortion providers. Go figure.

  3. So no one submitted testimony to the committee indicating that NH is only one of three states that do not report to CDC? How could that happen?

    1. At the initial hearing on the bill, the committee did indeed hear testimony about the fact that New Hampshire is only one of three states not reporting abortion data to the CDC. All twenty of the representatives casting their votes in committee yesterday had that information.

  4. Thank you so much, Ellen.
    I absolutely hate it when they lie and get away with it. It’s hard to believe that there is’t any recourse. Disgraceful!
    Thanks for reporting and fact finding.
    God help US!

    1. One of the Reps on the committee, Dr. Fothergill, said before the vote that as far as he could see, collecting statistics was simply a matter of women’s health. He gets it.

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