NH Executive Council Votes to Dismantle the NH Family Planning Program During a Pandemic
For Immediate Release: Sept. 15, 2021
(Nashua, NH) Today, the Executive Council voted 4-1 to deny a six-month extension to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s Family Planning contract. The Department of Health and Human Services stated unequivocally, multiple times that the financial review, which took place over the course of the summer, clearly showed that no Family Planning funds have been used for abortion care. In spite of this information, four Councilors chose to dismantle the Family Planning Program by defunding three reproductive health providers that provide care to approximately 80% of the patients in the entire state program - PPNNE, Lovering Health Center, and Equality Health Center. Voting to reject contracts today were Councilors Kenney, Stevens, Gatsas, and Wheeler.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs, PPNNE/PPNHAF:
“Voting to defund Planned Parenthood is a shameful vote. Today, four Executive Councilors chose to ignore public health experts and put their own views before the health and safety of their constituents. Healthy communities and healthy families start with access to quality, affordable health care, and Planned Parenthood has been a trusted provider in the Granite State for nearly 50 years. This defund jeopardizes care for nearly 12,000 patients and disproportionately impacts low income and marginalized people - who have been hit the hardest during the pandemic. We look forward to educating the constituents of these districts regarding what their Councilor’s vote means for the health and safety of Granite Staters. Reproductive health care is under attack like never before, and we thank Councilor Warmington for standing up for the health care of her constituents and Planned Parenthood patients across the state.”
In 2020, nearly 10,000 Granite Staters relied on PPNNE’s five health centers for high-quality, affordable health care. The award amount for PPNNE is $238,464, or an average of $47,693 per PPNNE health center, for this contract period.
Most New Hampshire family planning providers are not currently receiving federal Title X family planning funds due to the Trump administration’s gag rule. The Biden administration and New Hampshire’s federal delegation is working to reverse this policy, but federal funding will not return to the states until spring of 2022 at the earliest. The FY 20-21 state budget contained backfill funding to mitigate the impact of this harmful policy, but New Hampshire budget writers rejected efforts to add backfill Title X funds into the current state budget.
New Hampshire has the lowest unintended pregnancies and teen pregnancy rates in the country and some of the best maternal health outcomes; the New Hampshire Family Planning Program is part of the network of care that supports these positive measures.
Twice in recent years (2011 and 2015), the care provided at local Planned Parenthood health centers was jeopardized when contracts were blocked by the Executive Council and state funding was interrupted. Contracts have been constantly approved since June of 2016, with bipartisan support.
With today’s vote, Councilors Joe Kenney, Ted Gatsas, and Dave Wheeler continued to demonstrate to their constituents that they do not support creating healthy communities or supporting quality public health outcomes. Janet Stevens, who had previously pledged to protect her constituents’ health care today, made it clear that she will vote to block access to care.
Dozens of reproductive rights advocates were in attendance to witness the Council’s shameful decision to defund Planned Parenthood and dismantle New Hampshire’s Family Planning Program.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and young people across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. In 2020, we saw nearly 11,000 patients at these sites.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.