Obama Admin Demands New Hampshire Restore Planned Parenthood $

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 21, 2011   |   11:28AM   |   Concord, NH

The Obama administration is going after New Hampshire the same way it went after the state of Indiana following decisions in both states to strike taxpayer funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

Following a vote in New Hampshire to cancel a $1.8 million contract, a state health department official says the Obama administration sent the state a strongly-worded letter to complain. The Executive Council voted on June 22 to revoke the contract and that vote went into effect on July 1 — making it so the abortion business is considering closing one or more of the six centers it runs in the Granite State that perform or refer for abortions.

Now, New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas tells New Hampshire Public Radio that the Health and Human Services Department is claiming the state broke federal rules in denying the Planned Parenthood contract. He says HHS alleges that 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.

Toumpas told the radio station that the Obama administration demanded New Hampshire address the points raised in its letter by August 15 and he said he worries the state may lose federal Medicaid funding if it doesn’t comply.

“The focus is, how do we achieve statewide access and we do that as quickly as we can because there are a number of women who are out there right now that, beyond the family planning services, the bigger concern is that they’re not getting some of the basic health services,” Toumpas said.

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.”

In New Hampshire, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England spokeswoman Jennifer L. Frizzell is hoping to lobby the Executive Council to reconsider its 3-2 decision to void the $1.8 million contract and has been heavily lobbying residents to contact the Council.

Daniel St. 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.

In other states, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill this week 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 https://www.nh.gov/council/ and ask them to oppose the Planned Parenthood contract.