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The Dartmouth
February 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Craig: The future of reproductive health care in New Hampshire depends on November 2024

Gubernatorial candidate and Manchester, New Hampshire mayor Joyce Craig stresses the importance of a pro-choice New Hampshire governor.

Granite Staters deserve a governor who will be as all-in on defending reproductive rights as they are — and we can elect one in November 2024.

One year ago, I stood with my daughters, Sarah and Kathryn, and asked, “How do my 18 and 23-year-old daughters have fewer rights to their own bodies than I did growing up?”

With Republican Governor Chris Sununu’s announcement that he will not be seeking reelection in 2024, we have the best opportunity in nearly a decade to change the state of reproductive rights in New Hampshire.

Granite Staters overwhelmingly agree that reproductive health care should remain a private decision, and that the government has no place making choices for women. I have never wavered in my resolve to protect abortion access, and I never will.

If the recent actions of extreme anti-choice Republicans in New Hampshire have taught us anything, it’s that they will stop at nothing to take away access to abortion. New Hampshire remains the only state in New England that hasn’t codified Roe v. Wade. In June 2021, Republican legislators with Governor Sununu’s signature passed the most restrictive abortion ban in modern New Hampshire history. Now, Republicans, including those hoping to be our next governor, are committed to going even further.

As the first woman to serve as mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire, I’m proud to have supported reproductive freedom and access to abortion in our city and state. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June 2022, I joined mayors from across the country to call for protections for abortion access in the United States and testified in Concord, New Hampshire in support of codifying protections to abortion access in our state. As mayor, I have supported inclusive reproductive rights and health care for all Granite Staters and supported Medicaid expansion. I joined dozens of health care groups and thousands of Granite Staters in opposing the Title X gag rule, which banned doctors in the Title X program from informing patients on how to safely and legally access an abortion, and I stood with 80 Mayors in cities across the country, making clear to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ’88 the importance of Planned Parenthood’s services for communities.

Additionally, when Republicans in Concord were threatening family and reproductive health care centers by repealing buffer zones, I testified in Concord to protect the patient safety of Granite Staters at the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Manchester health center — the largest Planned Parenthood in the state.

I’m proud of what we’ve done in Manchester, but to truly safeguard our reproductive freedom, we need a strong pro-choice governor. We need a governor who will stand against attempts to restrict access to abortion, not vote to pass a national abortion ban..

While state Republicans have spent the last decade attacking access to abortion, the Dobbs decision further opened the door for Republican politicians like former New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Education Department commissioner Frank Edelblut and former New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse to strip away access to reproductive health care. As I look at my daughters, I think about all of our daughters — and all the anti-choice bills Republicans in Concord are trying to force on our state. I am in disbelief both of what Republicans are trying to do and that, with the Dobbs decision, they are one step closer to succeeding. It’s just wrong and it’s why I recently joined Democratic leaders in the New Hampshire House and Senate in Concord to send a message that our reproductive rights are not up for grabs. It’s now on Granite Staters to send that message every day.

We now have the chance to be able to look at our daughters, mothers, sisters, neighbors and friends and vote to elect a governor who will stop any attempt to take away access to abortion. Let me be clear to Granite Staters and to Republican legislators in Concord: I have always protected access to reproductive health care — and I always will.

We have the opportunity to elect a governor who will work to codify Roe v. Wade into law and who will issue an executive order ensuring that other states will not be able to punish women for getting their reproductive health care in New Hampshire. We have the opportunity to have a governor who will protect the safety of patients and the funding of family and reproductive health care providers. And most importantly, we have the ability to live without fear that our rights will be taken away by Republicans at any minute — we can have a Governor who will stand with the overwhelming majority of Granite Staters, not against them.

Granite Staters deserve a governor who will be as all-in on defending reproductive rights as they are. We need one — and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Luckily, we can make that choice in November 2024.

Born and raised in Manchester, Joyce Craig is in her third term as Mayor and is running for New Hampshire Governor in 2024. She was the first woman elected Mayor of Manchester. Craig attended Memorial High School in Manchester, and went on to earn her degree in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire. She has three children and lives with her husband, Mike, in Manchester.

Opinion articles represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.