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.
“I was particularly troubled when New Hampshire recently became one of the first states in the country to cut off all funds for the breast cancer screenings, annual exams, birth control, and other non-controversial health care provided at Planned Parenthood health centers,” he said Monday on announcing his candidacy, even though Planned Parenthood doesn’t do mammograms and its birth control has failed to reduce abortions.
“This was a big win for the far-right, but it was a real loss for our communities,” Van Ostern complained. “And it came at the hands of the our state’s five-person Executive Council, whose job is supposed to be keeping an eye on spending and key state appointments – not pushing a radical social agenda.”
“So today, I’m writing to share the news that I am planning to run for Executive Council in 2012, to be a check on Concord and to bring back smart management that puts our state economy first,” he said.
Last month, the health department in New Hampshire said it would not reinstate $1.8 million in taxpayer funding revoked earlier this summer by the Executive Council and that will likely cause the abortion business to close or scale back in the Granite State.
The Executive Council voted on June 22 to revoke the contract and that vote went into effect on July 1. Since then, according to a Keene Sentinel report, the pro-abortion organization has been cutting back, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England spokeswoman Jennifer L. Frizzell says.
The abortion business has been engaging in a statewide lobbying campaign to get the Executive Council to reconsider the vote but the Concord Monitor newspaper indicates the state health commissioner says he has no plans to reinstate the tax financing.
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.
Commissioner Nick Toumpas of the state Department of Health and Human Services told the newspaper the Obama administration gave the state until August 15 to respond. It has responded by saying no plan is in place to restore Planned Parenthood’s funding, because the Executive Council remains opposed to funding the abortion business with Councilor Dan St. Hilaire of Concord, Ray Wieczorek of Manchester, and David Wheeler of Milford opposing Planned Parenthood funding,
“Now the ball is in the court of the federal government,” Toumpas told the Monitor.
Because no plan to disperse the federal family planning funds is in place, Toumpas says the federal government may take over the disbursement process and may seek to reinstate the grant to Planned Parenthood. He said he plans to bring back other requests for funds to the Executive Council but won’t bring back the Planned Parenthood request because of the opposition.
Frizzell also spoke with the newspaper and said Planned Parenthood has essentially given up trying to obtain funding from the council because of its opposition to funding an abortion agency, and she indicated Planned Parenthood will seek a federal government grant directly rather than going through the state. She also told the newspaper the abortion business will raise its prices on non-abortion services soon — which could prompt women to seek legitimate health care at non-abortion clinics and result in Planned Parenthood losing patients.
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.”
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 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 thank them for opposing the Planned Parenthood contract.