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January 14, 2011

NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire Featured in Launch of National Report on Reproductive Rights

Granite State’s Pro-Choice Status At Risk in New Legislative Environment

Washington, D.C. – Pilar Olivo, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, cautioned a national audience that the results of the 2010 elections could have significant consequences for her state, long known for its strong bipartisan support for a woman’s right to choose.

Olivo joined Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, on a panel that discussed the key findings from the national group’s 20th edition of Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States. The report is the nation’s most comprehensive report on choice-related legislation and laws. Currently, New Hampshire holds a grade of an A- and is ranked as the 14th best state in terms of protecting a woman’s right to choose.

“In New Hampshire, we used to get the big Who Decides? report and say, ‘Wow, even on our worst day, we’re far better off than some of our sister affiliates in other states,’” Olivo said. “This year, our outlook is different.”

Olivo said that, as recent as yesterday, legislative leaders had vowed to bring up a vote on parental-involvement mandate, a measure a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers repealed in 2007. That law had been the focus of a court challenge that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“It’s important that we support young women turning to their parents if they’re faced with an unintended pregnancy. Fortunately, as a parent, I am glad to know that most young women in our state do tell their parents,” Olivo said. “But parental-involvement mandates don’t take into consideration the young woman’s situation and the reasons why she might not want to tell her parents. What if she is from a violent home? What if she was raped by a relative? We believe that the number one priority must be a young woman’s health and safety. Anything that jeopardizes our teens’ safety is unacceptable.”

Olivo said anti-choice lawmakers also have filed other anti-choice measures, including a threat to ban private-insurance coverage of abortion in the health-care exchange being established under the new federal health-reform law.

“Given this new hostile legislature, Gov. John Lynch is our firewall,” Olivo said. “We will work with him to make sure that, next year, our A- rating on choice is still in place.”

Link to choice-related information on New Hampshire:

Link to full national report with analysis of all 50 states:

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