New Hampshire Fights Obama on Planned Parenthood Funding
by Steven Ertelt | Concord, NH | LifeNews.com | 9/30/11 3:28 PM
The New Hampshire Executive Council is not giving up its fight to revoke taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood and members of the council, which voted to revoke a $1.8 million contract, are fighting back against an Obama decision to force the state to fund the abortion business.
The council has filed a formal protest with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office following the Obama Administration’s award of a non-competitive $1 million dollar contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The Obama administration’s decision bypassed the state’s decision to reject taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.
Three members of the Council, as represented by attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, requested that HHS declare the grant void. In their complaint, they say “the Grant by HHS was improper, irregular, unnecessary, in contravention of the authority of the Executive Council and its duly elected members, and in disregard for the sovereignty of the State of New Hampshire.”
The letter also criticizes the Obama administration for a lack of transparency, saying the HHS has treated its requests for more information about the grant Obama officials forced New Hampshire to make with Planned Parenthood were treated as formal Freedom of Information requests that take some time to process. As a result, New Hampshire officials say they have not been able to get information they need to respond.
“In stark contrast to HHS’ unannounced process leading up to [the award],” the letter reads, “all aspects of the Executive Council’s decision were and are matters of public record and were and are well-known to HHS.”
The Executive Council voted in June to cancel a $1.8 million dollar contract with Planned Parenthood, citing that taxpayers would be subsidizing, at least indirectly, Planned Parenthood’s abortion business. Them the Obama administration awarded Planned Parenthood of Northern New England $1 million which, although it won’t fund abortions, frees up money the abortion business would otherwise have to spend on family planning to pay for staff, facilities and advertising promoting and performing abortions. Administration officials did not provide any competitive process for other non-abortion agencies to compete for the $1 million grant, and the newspaper said HHS officials indicated that was done because Planned Parenthood was the sole grant recipient previously.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B Anthony List, told LifeNews her organization supports the formal complaint.
“Planned Parenthood is currently under investigation for good reason,” she said. “Among other concerns, they have revealed a willingness to partner with those who traffic young girls and women as sexual commodities. That they claim entitlement to New Hampshire taxpayer funds against the wishes of taxpayers in the face of such scandal is truly breathtaking.”
“From day one of his presidency, Obama has dramatically overreached on the abortion issue,” concluded Dannenfelser. “The President and Secretary Sebelius should set aside political loyalty to Planned Parenthood in favor of a state’s right to decide its own contract hires. The complaint affirms that the ‘Live Free or Die’ state won’t tolerate federal big-footing.”
After the Obama decision, Jennifer Frizzell, a senior policy advisor for Planned Parenthood, told the paper that the abortion business will wind up with 16 months of the 18 month grant it would have received has the Executive Council renewed the contract. Planned Parenthood will receive the grant in monthly disbursements from the Obama administration.
Councilor David Wheeler, one of the three members of the council, called the decision by the Obama administration one of “arrogance” because the will of New Hampshire officials was not followed.
“Even though the state of New Hampshire turned down Planned Parenthood as a contractor, the Obama administration says you’re going to take it anyway, whether you like it or not,” Wheeler told the Monitor.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a pro-abortion Democrat, announced the grant through her office after writing to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to force the state to fund the abortion business. A spokesman for Gov. John Lynch, also a pro-abortion Democrat, praised the decision, saying, “These are important health services for women, and it’s a good thing they’re available again here in New Hampshire.”
Before the decision, Wheeler was concerned New Hampshire Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas was conspiring with the Obama administration to go over the heads of the council to restore the funding.
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.