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ICYMI: Shaheen Op-Ed on How Threats to Roe v. Wade Endanger Granite State Women & Their Health

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) wrote an op-ed in Seacoast Online this week about what’s at stake for women in New Hampshire and across the country as the U.S. Supreme Court considers Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade.  

Shaheen has worked for decades to strengthen reproductive rights as both Governor and Senator and stands committed to protecting women and their health against these unprecedented attacks, especially in the “Live Free or Die” State.

The full op-ed is available here and below:

Seacoast Online – Sen. Jeanne Shaheen: New Hampshire women are in danger if Roe v. Wade is overturned

By Senator Jeanne Shaheen 

When I was in college, Roe v. Wade was not yet the law of the land. I watched as some of my friends were forced to seek dangerous, illegal abortions. Roe changed the game for women, our bodies and our autonomy. The trajectory of generations of families was altered with empowered mothers, sisters and daughters in control of our own health care decisions. 

Now there’s a case facing the Supreme Court that could undo all of that progress and turn back the clock on reproductive rights. Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization threatens to overturn Roe, reversing 50 years of precedent and endangering women across the country. The Mississippi law would ban all abortions after 15 weeks, even in cases of rape and incest. Beyond forcing women to travel across state lines to access abortions – a major hurdle for low income and vulnerable women – this law would imprison doctors who perform abortions and create a vigilante-like system where neighbors are encouraged to report suspected abortions. If the Court overturns Roe, eighteen states will immediately ban abortions in their states, with more to likely follow. That’s why I joined a bicameral amicus brief on the case, urging the Supreme Court to respect the Constitutional precedent set by Roe on access to abortion care.  

Upholding Roe v. Wade is particularly important for Granite State women, who have recently experienced unprecedented attacks on access to reproductive care. From Governor Sununu signing into law an abortion ban to the Executive Council denying funding to family planning providers, women across New Hampshire now face costly and unnecessary barriers to essential care. The attacks on women’s health and government interference in our private lives are extreme policies I never thought I would see in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state. But they won’t go unchallenged. The New Hampshire delegation has called out these actions that put women and our bodies in danger.  

It is truly devastating to see these out-of-touch policies make their way into the New Hampshire State House. As New Hampshire’s first woman governor, I worked across the aisle to protect reproductive rights. At that time, putting women in charge of our own health care was common-sense and garnered bipartisan support. In 1997, I signed bipartisan legislation to repeal the only pre-Roe law on the books that made abortion a felony. I also signed legislation – again with strong bipartisan support – to require insurance companies to cover birth control.  

As senator, I’ve continued to advocate for critical reproductive care. In addition to working with the administration to make additional federal funding available to Planned Parenthood and New Hampshire family planning providers, I wrote and ushered the “Shaheen Amendment” through Congress, which ensures that women service members who are victims of sexual assault have health coverage for abortions. Let me state this plainly: abortion is health care. No lawmaker has any business coming between a woman and her doctor and imposing unnecessary, costly and burdensome medical scans or procedures. If these policies were focused on controlling men’s bodies, none of this would be up for discussion.    

I stand with Americans across the country gathering to defend women’s Constitutional right to family planning services and a full range of reproductive health care options. I hope the Supreme Court upholds half a century of precedent, and most critically, defends women’s Constitutional right to make our own personal health decisions and right to privacy on when and how to start our families. I also urge Granite Staters and Americans across the country to pay close attention to local elections because that is where these cases started – with extremists in state legislatures. Elections have consequences and we are now experiencing a pivotal moment for women’s reproductive health and rights. The health and wellbeing of generations of women hang in the balance with this Supreme Court case. It is time to sound the alarm and stand up for women.  

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat and former governor of New Hampshire is in her third term representing the state in the U.S. Senate.