Local activists organized a visibility action outside the New Hampshire District Courthouse on the morning of May 13 to support five protesters who were arrested in June 2021. They were arrested for occupying the office of Gov. Chris Sununu in objection of his then pending decision to pass the 2022 NH budget.
The budget did pass, and included reproductive restrictions and bans on “divisive concepts.” It banned all abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest or health concerns, and also required ultrasounds for all abortions before 24 weeks. The “divisive concepts” language prevents public institutions from addressing or teaching about systemic forms of oppression such as racism, sexism or ableism.
As of February, legislators passed a bill that would no longer require an ultrasound procedure before 24 weeks — but still requires an ultrasound at 24 weeks, or after. HB 1609, which is heading to Gov. Sununu’s desk soon, also adds an exception for fatal fetal anomalies to the 24-week ban.
Sununu has said he will sign the partial repeal which would go into effect next January. The governor also recently applauded himself for this budget to a local media source, boasting “I’m the first governor in 40 years to sign an abortion ban… I’ve done more on the pro-life issue, if you will, than anyone.”
Around 20 supporters listened to the statements of the defendants given to the court after pleading no contest to the charge of criminal trespassing, a class B misdemeanor. The five defendants were found guilty and fined $100, suspended on the condition of good behavior for 24 hours.
Later in the day, organizers from the Party for Socialism and Liberation, The Reproductive Freedom Fund of NH, NH Youth Movement, NH Rights and Democracy, Kent Street Coalition, 350 NH and others held a rally outside the New Hampshire State House to protest the leaked draft Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Attended by nearly 200 protesters, the event featured music, tabling, speakers, and calls to fund reproductive and community mutual aid.
PSL member Joy D.M.R. spoke outside the courthouse during the morning rally:
“The history of freedom and protest is one of irresistible momentum. This is a fact, not a threat. As the ruling class continues this campaign to undemocratically strip away the right to reproductive care, the right to a meaningful education, the right to live free from racism, bigotry and gender based hatred, to strip away the basic human rights the oppressed shed so much blood to gain, you can rest assured that more and more people will fill this courthouse and ones like it across this country as we continue to struggle to define our own freedom, our own rights and our own liberty.”