New Hampshire Defeats Bill to De-Fund Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 25, 2012   |   6:01PM   |   Washington, DC

The New Hampshire legislature has defeated a bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood and cut off funding to hospitals, clinics, and others who do abortions. legislators complained the bill could adversely affect the state’s federal funding for its Medicaid program.

Senator Gary Lambert, Republican of Nashua had introduced an amendment to the measure in committee to reduce the financial impact on the Medicaid program impact but the Senate voted 17-6 without debate to table the bill.

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire legislature considered several other pro-life bills — approving some and defeating others according to the Foster’s Daily Democrat newspaper:

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 18-5 along party lines to pass a ban on partial-birth abortions, which are already banned by federal law, sending it back to the House with amendments. The Senate also voted without debate to establish a committee to determine a method to collect abortion statistics and sent the bill to Democratic Gov. John Lynch.

Lynch spokesman James Richardson said the governor, who supports abortion rights, is reviewing the partial-birth abortion bill, but did not say whether he would veto it.

The Senate voted 12-11 to kill a bill requiring a 24-hour wait for an abortion. It voted 15-8 to study banning abortions after 20 weeks and 19-4 to study giving employers with religious objections the power to exclude contraceptive coverage from health plans. The Senate rarely studies bills, and the votes were considered by many as a polite way to kill the House-passed bills.

The vote on the Planned Parenthood bill comes after Ohio defeated a similar measure this week and Arizona approved one.

Earlier this year, after the Obama administration forced the state to fund Planned Parenthood, the New Hampshire House took steps to revoke taxpayer funding for the abortion business. The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB 228 by an overwhelming margin of 207 to 147, prioritizing state-controlled family planning dollars away from abortion businesses such as Planned Parenthood. The funding is prioritized to public and private entities that provide comprehensive health care to women and do not perform abortions.

“The House-passed bill ensures that taxpayer funds are prioritized to entities dedicated to providing comprehensive health care to women, not abortion,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B Anthony List. “This is a great victory in what has become a nationwide battle to stop taxpayer funding of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.”



Michael Tierney, an Alliance Defense Fund-allied attorney in Manchester, New Hampshire who helped promote the language, added, “It is time to get New Hampshire taxpayers out of the abortion business. Planned Parenthood’s business model is centered on abortion, and New Hampshire taxpayers want no part in it.”

Last June, the New Hampshire Executive Council voted to cancel a $1.8 million dollar contract with Planned Parenthood, citing that taxpayers would be subsidizing the abortion business. After that decision, the Obama Administration awarded a non-competitive $1 million contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, bypassing the state’s earlier decision to reject taxpayer funding of the abortion giant.

Later last year, the New Hampshire Executive Council filed a formal protest with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Government Accountability Office complaining about the grant.

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.”

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.

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.