Obama Admin Sued, Made New Hampshire Fund Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 23, 2011   |   12:48PM   |   Washington, DC

The Obama administration faces a new lawsuit from a pro-life group in New Hampshire on behalf of pro-life residents of the state upset the Obama administration forced it to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

The New Hampshire 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.

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 in response. The Obama administration’s decision bypassed the state’s decision to reject taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.

Administration officials did not provide any competitive process for other non-abortion agencies to compete for the $1 million grant and HHS officials indicated that was done because Planned Parenthood was the sole grant recipient previously.

Now, New Hampshire Right to Life has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services. According to an AP report, the lawsuit says the Obama administration failed to respond to a federal Freedom of Information request it filed in October seeking more information about the $1 million grant to Planned Parenthood. NH RTL filed suit in U.S. District Court in Concord on Thursday.

Right-to-Life’s attorney is Michael J. Tierney of Wadleigh, Starr & Peters, PLLC in Manchester. He said Right to Life wants to determine if the HHS department contacted other health care providers as potential grant recipietns and he cited communications from NH RTL to HHS.

“NHRTL has an interest in analyzing these communications and other documents to insure that HHS did not inappropriately or unlawfully award a grant to Planned Parenthood that should or could have been competitively bid and/or granted to some of the hospitals or community health centers that serve the cities where Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are located,” he said. “New Hampshire Right to Life believes that with the recent cuts in subsidies to hospitals, the full-service hospitals located in each of the communities where Planned Parenthood operates an abortion clinic, would be better able to provide a variety of health care services to people in need.”

In a statement, New Hampshire Right to Life President Kurt Wuelper said “The people of New Hampshire have the right to know why the Obama administration gave Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest baby killer, a million taxpayer dollars while cutting funding for state hospitals and community clinics.”

“The administration has defied the will of the people by flooding New Hampshire with unwanted abortion money and has violated the public trust by covering up its communications with its abortion industry cronies. It’s time for HHS to reveal what it is hiding and stop violating the Freedom of Information Act,” Wuelper added. [related]

Jennifer Frizzell, a senior advisor to Planned Parenthood Northern New England, talked with the Union Leader newspaper about the lawsuit.

“While we are not party to the lawsuit, we are confident we are the most qualified and appropriate provider for the more than 15,000 New Hampshire citizens who rely on the critical health services provided by the contract,” she said.

After the Obama decision, Frizzel said 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.”

The Obama administration has also rejected Texas’ bid to void Planned Parenthood funding.

Councilor Dan St. Hilaire of Concord, Ray Wieczorek of Manchester, and David Wheeler of Milford voted against funding on the council. 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.