Democratic leaders gathered in Portsmouth, NH on Thursday to host a press conference where they discussed what they call Gov. Chris Sununu's "extreme, anti-choice" budget.

With a pregnant State Sen. Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, D-Portsmouth, standing behind her, reproductive rights advocate Stefany Shaheen said it is important that the citizens of New Hampshire understand what Sununu signed on June 25.

"It is outrageous. And it is out of step with New Hampshire. By Gov. Sununu choosing to sign this extreme budget, he has made it very clear he's not interested in listening to the voices of women, of their families, or of doctors in New Hampshire," Shaheen said.

Sununu's $13.5 billion two-year state budget has been widely criticized for the Fetal Life Protection Act which restricts abortion rights in the "Live Free or Die" state.

That has become a hot topic and the source of content for political ads, especially since abortions are prohibited under the act at or after 24 weeks gestation, except in cases of "medical emergency."

The act also requires all people seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound.

People can listen to Shaheen's full statements below. She starts speaking at about 7:10 minutes.

Perkins Kwoka, who has served with Shaheen on Portsmouth's city council, also spoke and said Sununu "has shown his true colors as an anti-choice extremist."

"A woman is the best person to make decisions about pregnancy, in consultation with her doctor. She feels that connection to the pregnancy. She cares for the baby before and after any known difficulties in pregnancy. Worries before and after any good or bad news and lives with every decision she makes as a parent during or after a pregnancy," Perkins Kwoka said.

Perkins Kwoka said she is 31 and a half weeks pregnant. She said she takes the abortion restrictions personally and seriously.

Perkins Kwoka's statements can be seen at the beginning of the video above.

Courtesy Photo

Sununu signed the budget last week with no fanfare. The day before, on June 24, his press office released a statement after the passage of HB 1 and HB 2.

“Historic tax cuts, property tax relief, and Paid Family Medical Leave delivered all in one sweeping action is a win for every citizen and family in this state,” Sununu said.

Sununu has had to face questions from the press on the abortion restrictions. During his June 17 COVID-19 press conference, he was asked about the topic during the question and answer portion of the briefing.

"I didn't propose any part of that on the late-term abortion, right? None of that was my proposal. I'm a pro-choice Governor. I support a woman's right to choose. I've always said that I -- as a lot of folks are -- do not support abortions in months 7, 8, and 9. All these other different provisions with it, the Legislature put in. I'm not going to veto the budget over it," Sununu said.

Sununu explained those statements when answering the next question.

"But as I've said, I'm not going to veto this $13 billion budget with all the tax cuts and all the other stuff. I mean, there's so many other pieces to this. That's one provision. And so, I might not love all the details of that provision. But, again, at a bigger picture, there's a lot of really positive things for the citizens of New Hampshire with that budget," Sununu said.

The budget will take effect on July 1, 2022, and will fund state government for 2022 and 2023.

Contact Managing News Editor Kimberley Haas at Kimberley.Haas@townsquaremedia.com.

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