New Hampshire is one of three states that do not report any abortion statistics to the federal Centers for Disease Control. A hearing in a New Hampshire House committee hearing this week may be the first step in changing that.
House Bill 1502 has eight co-sponsors, led by Rep. Kathleen Souza (R-Manchester.) “We need the info on when, where, why, on whom abortions are being done so we can try to reduce the incidence of abortion in the state,” says Souza. “Knowing the extent of the problem is always helpful.”
The bill calls for the state’s department of health and human services to provide the CDC with basic information annually including the number and types of abortions performed in the state, age of the mothers, and gestational age of the aborted children. Those reports would be available to the public. Personally-identifying information about women obtaining abortion would remain confidential, as would the identities of abortion providers. The bill contains no requirement for reporting of post-abortion maternal illness, injury or death.
While New Hampshire now has a parental notification law and a ban on partial-birth abortion, most bills calling for abortion regulation have met with defeat in recent years. The state’s last attempt to pass an abortion-statistics bill came in 2012. The original bill was replaced by a call for a study committee, and while that was endorsed by House and Senate, no study was ever produced.
Forty-seven states provide the CDC with data for its annual abortion-surveillance report. Besides New Hampshire, only Maryland and California decline to provide abortion information.
See further coverage in Leaven for the Loaf.