Obama May Force New Hampshire to Fund Planned Parenthood
by Steven Ertelt | Concord, NH | LifeNews.com | 9/13/11 11:39 AM
The battle over whether New Hampshire taxpayers will fund Planned Parenthood continues and pro-life groups are working together against a concerted effort to force the state to fund the abortion business with tax money.
As LifeNews reported days ago, it appears the Obama administration may reinstate the taxpayer funding to the abortion business that the state’s Executive Council denied earlier this year. The Obama administration, via the Health and Human Services Department, may restore part or all of the $1.8 million in taxpayer funding revoked by a majority of the members of the council.
Now, New Hampshire Executive Councilor David Wheeler says he is concerned New Hampshire Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas is conspiring with the Obama administration to go over the heads of the council to restore the funding. Wheeler says Toumpas, although financially reporting to the NH Executive Council, is working to get Planned Parenthood their money back. Wheeler accuses Toumpas of providing information to HHS claming that New Hampshire is “in violation” for not providing family planning statewide as mandated under the Title X family planning law because no replacements for Planned Parenthood have yet to be approved.
Wheeler says Toumpas reported to the council that Boston Region HHS issued an RFP last week to replace $359,765 of the taxpayer funds intended for Planned Parenthood. He believes Planned Parenthood has applied and will get the award directly in the next few days from HHS — circumventing any further decisions from the Executive Council.
According to an internal communication Wheeler has sent out from Toumpas: “The Department received confirmation from DHHS (Federal) that a request for proposal was made from the Federal government to provide services for the NH areas where we have no contractual capacity to provide the family planning services. We expect PPNNE will be applying as they are already contractors of the Federal government in Region 1.”
Responding to the new communication Wheeler released, pro-life groups are working to lobby the Obama administration and New Hampshire members of Congress to do what they can to prevent the approval of the taxpayer funding for the abortion business. American Life League has issued a new statement and it is asking all national and local pro-life groups and pro-life advocates to help New Hampshire defend its sovereign right not to give tax dollars to an agency that does abortions.
“Of course, as a pro-life group we would support New Hampshire’s decision to deny taxpayer subsidies to the world’s largest abortion chain,” ALL president Judie Brown said. “But beyond that, look how this administration tramples states rights: It uses the Department of Justice like a political tool to sue states if they try to enforce duly enacted laws it wants ignored. It threatens to withhold tax funds. When none of that works, it just ignores states’ rights and imposes its will inside the state borders. What sovereign decision by a state will Obama decide he doesn’t like next?”
Although members of the Executive Council instructed Toumpas to find alternate recipients for the funding, he has not done so — giving the Obama administration time to choose its own recipients.
The Susan B. Anthony List, one of many national pro-life organizations pressing for revocation of the federal taxpayer funds Planned Parenthood receives, decried the Obama administration potential decision to reinstate the New Hampshire funding to the abortion giant.
“President Obama has proven time and again that he will do whatever it takes to ensure that Planned Parenthood continues to receive taxpayer subsidies, even if that means going around a state’s elected representatives,” said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Obama is the most pro-abortion President in our country’s history and his allegiance to Planned Parenthood is unwavering.”
“Taxpayers are becoming more and more vocal about their dissatisfaction with their dollars being used to fund America’s abortion giant,” Dannenfelser continued. “Obama heard these requests during the recent budget debate and chose to ignore them, putting the funding of the federal government at risk to ensure Planned Parenthood would continue to receive taxpayer money. This decision to directly contract with family planning clinics, of which Planned Parenthood is included, is another decision which flies in the faces of American voters.”
In July, SBA List held a rally in Concord, New Hampshire to show support for the Council’s vote and urged them to stay the course. Including New Hampshire, eight states have successfully cut Planned Parenthood’s funding to the tune of nearly $60.4 million dollars. The SBA List is working with pro-life grassroots organizations in those states to ensure funding is not restored and is also taking up action in other states to encourage similar results.
The decision comes after the Obama administration sent the state a strongly-worded letter to complain. The Health and Human Services Department is claiming the state broke federal rules in denying the Planned Parenthood contract and it alleges the state must provide family planning services to low-income women and that de-funding Planned Parenthood puts it at risk of losing federal funding by supposedly denying women access to family planning — even though other alternatives are available from other agencies.
After Indiana’s decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood, the top Medicaid official in the Obama administration denied Indiana’s use of its new state law that would cut off anywhere from $2 million to $3 million the Planned Parenthood abortion business receives in federal funds via the Indiana government through Medicaid. The Obama administration told the state it can’t implement the new law, with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick denying a request to deny funds saying the federal Medicaid law stipulates that states can’t exclude providers based on the services they provide.
Indiana refused to comply and is standing its ground against a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed and is appealing the Obama administration’s ruling that it can’t determine who receives the Medicaid tax dollars the state is given to dole out. But Marcus Barlow, a spokesman for Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, told National Journal, “The way the law was written, it went into effect the moment the governor signed it. We were just advised by our lawyers that we should continue to enforce Indiana law.”
Councilor Dan St. Hilaire of Concord, Ray Wieczorek of Manchester, and David Wheeler of Milford voted against funding on the council.
Hilaire of Concord, one of the council members, told the Concord Monitor newspaper the contract should go to an organization that does not perform abortions. David K. Wheeler, a Republican, agreed, saying, “It is wrong to require taxpayers who believe that abortion is murder to have to pay for (abortions).”
Although the money doesn’t directly pay for abortions, pro-life advocates say it is wrong to fund the abortion business and abortions indirectly. Now, money that was freed up to do abortions must be used to provide legitimate health care.
The Executive Council voided the contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) with Councilor Dan St. Hilaire of Concord casting a vote against the contract along with David Wheeler of Nashua and Raymond J. Wieczorek of Manchester. Raymond S. Burton of Bath and Chris Sununu of Newfields supported funding the abortion business.
While the council approved contracts for legitimate medical centers and organizations, St. Hilaire told the newspaper that Planned Parenthood does abortions and its CEO earns in excess of $250,000 a year. St. Hilaire also cited the fact that most of the services and administration are located outside New Hampshire, in Vermont.
Commenting on the rejection of the contract, Kevin Smith, the director of the pro-life group Cornerstone Action, said he applauds “a majority of the Executive Council for scrutinizing every penny of tax-payer dollars by rejecting the contract for Planned Parenthood.”
“The taxpayers have made it very clear that they do not want one cent going towards the funding of abortions, either directly or indirectly,” Smith said. “Not to mention, it is obscene how much of PPNNE’s current revenue of $18 million is earmarked for things like overhead costs, salaries, marketing, and public policy advocacy. New Hampshire women deserve better than a “non-profit” that would deny women health services because they value administrative costs and political power above patient care.”
Smith indicated that the most recent annual report for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England shows that, of its $18 million dollars in revenue, $3,126,841 (or 16.9%) was spent on general and administrative costs, $714,877 (or 3.9%) was spent on policy advocacy spending or lobbying, $597,000 (or 3.2%) was spent on marketing and communications and $568,397 (or 3.1%) was spent on fundraising.
Colin Van Ostern has thrown his name into the mix as a candidate for the New Hampshire Executive Council and he says he is running to restore the taxpayer-funded contract the Planned Parenthood abortion business receives.
In other states, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill that could cut off as much as $30-40 million in taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Indiana approved a law de-funding Planned Parenthood, Montana Planned Parenthood is also grappling with funding cuts and one county in Tennessee de-funded Planned Parenthood.
North Carolina may see the closing of a Planned Parenthood center following de-funding and Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin is making cuts after the abortion business lost $1 million in taxpayer funding there. Ohio lawmakers also filed a new bill to shift funding from Planned Parenthood to health departments.
ACTION: Contact members of the Executive Council at http://www.nh.gov/council/ and thank them for opposing the Planned Parenthood contract.