Opinion: One year post-Roe

By KAYLA MONTGOMERY

Published: 06-24-2023 6:00 AM

Kayla Montgomery is vice president of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund.

A 10-year-old in Ohio. A child survivor of incest in Florida. A Texas woman who almost died because she couldn’t get an abortion after losing her ‘miracle baby.’

These are the shocking headlines we have all seen about people denied abortion care since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade one year ago. Beneath the headlines and front-page news stories are the realities of everyday Americans whose lives have been irrevocably altered.

Today, on this first anniversary of the fall of Roe, I’m thinking of the patients Planned Parenthood of Northern New England serves. A mom in her forties who traveled from a banned state in the Midwest to our health centers because our region felt the safest. A junior in high school reevaluating her college choices based upon which states still respect bodily autonomy, just in case. Pregnant women planning vacations and determining whether they can access the care they need if they experience a miscarriage.

When Roe fell, anti-abortion politicians said the decision now “appropriately” belonged to the states. Just this month, Governor Chris Sununu, who signed our state’s first abortion ban in modern history into law, said, ”Dobbs said states can make their choices, so they’re going to. And that’s a good thing. If the voters don’t like the choice in South Carolina, they’re going to fire their governor and legislature.”

The chaos and anguish caused by last year’s Supreme Court ruling to rob us of our rights has led to devastation for millions of people and counting. It is definitely not a “good thing.”

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

One last plea to save historic home: Norris House on Main Street due to be torn down soon
Opinion: Our first Virginia winter? How climate change has impacted NH
Hometown Heroes: Concord man turns playing fields into safe haven for New Americans
East Concord’s Mobil still offers full-service fuel
In a big blow, Spirit Airlines is ending flights from Manchester airport
A mother, a sister and her fight for a better life

The Supreme Court stripped people of their right to make personal medical decisions, left patients across the country desperate, confused, and fearful, and forced doctors to prioritize politics over medicine, putting the full range of reproductive health care at risk.

In the last 12 months, 20 states have banned or eliminated all or some access to abortion, with active court cases in more states that are expected to ban or even deeper restrict access to abortion in the coming months. One in three women no longer has the right to abortion in their home state. Multiple court cases across the country represent attempts at national abortion restrictions. No state is safe — not even New Hampshire. And presidential hopefuls are flooding our First in the Nation state right now making clear their intentions regarding reproductive rights.

Many candidates running to lead our country, including Mike Pence, Asa Hutchinson, and Tim Scott, have all said if elected president, they would sign a nationwide abortion ban. Ron DeSantis and Doug Burgum have already signed near-total abortion bans in their states. Others, like Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Donald Trump, may try to dodge the question, but the bottom line is that our fundamental rights are already determined by our state, even our zip code, and the further erosion of our rights now hinge on each election.

Anti-abortion advocates, elected officials, and candidates are now saying the quiet part out loud. We know they will stop at nothing to dismantle bodily autonomy nationwide. Sitting on the sidelines at this crisis moment is simply inexcusable.

Planned Parenthood is proud to join the overwhelming majority of New Hampshire voters who demand action from lawmakers.

Despite some legislative progress, New Hampshire remains the only state in New England without proactive protections for abortion rights in our state law or constitution. This year, the state Senate majority thwarted bipartisan legislation to add abortion rights to state law. Governor Chris Sununu has refused to take a single action to protect reproductive freedom, even as a Texas judge threatens access to medication abortion nationwide, including in New Hampshire.

Governor Sununu is right about one thing — we will hold elected officials at every level of office accountable at the ballot box if they fail to protect our rights and freedoms.

But let’s be clear. We are not going to be able to create the world we want, where freedom is guaranteed to everyone regardless of income or zip code in one election or with one legislative effort. This will be a decades-long, state and nationwide effort to build power at every level of government in order to ensure our laws reflect the will of the people and our courts protect our rights and freedoms.

The reproductive rights movement is powerful and built to last. Planned Parenthood and our allies won’t stop. Together, we will build a just world that includes access to abortion and reproductive freedom for all Granite Staters and all Americans. No matter what.

]]>