CONCORD – The New Hampshire House and Senate voted Thursday to support the FY 2020-21 budget, sending it to Gov. Sununu. Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund urges the governor to sign this budget into law because it protects funding for reproductive health programs during a critical time.
Last week, the Title X gag rule went into effect, effectively dismantling the Title X program in New Hampshire. Title X, the national family planning program, is designed to help low-income people access basic reproductive health services.
Supplemental family planning funds have been included in the budget as contingency funding to allow New Hampshire patients to continue accessing essential health care, including birth control, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings, as long as the gag rule remains in effect.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing, Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund:
“PPNHAF is pleased that the budget ensures funding for Title X health centers across our state that have been adversely affected by the Title X gag rule. We urge the Governor to sign this budget, so that these contingency funds can go into effect and help alleviate this unnecessary hardship that affects over 16,000 New Hampshire patients. Every day the gag rule is in effect, public health in New Hampshire is in jeopardy – but our doors stay open and we will continue to serve patients, regardless of income or zip code.”
For six months, budget writers have worked hard to ensure that the nearly 16,000 New Hampshire patients who rely on Title X services in New Hampshire are able to maintain continuity of care when the Title X gag rule when into effect. By incorporating additional contingency family planning funding in the budget, they have maintained the state’s long-standing support for ensuring preventive care and reducing unintended pregnancy.
The NH budget also repeals an unnecessary and redundant amendment (this amendment refers to section 156:211) prohibiting the use of state funds for abortion services, often referred to as a ‘state Hyde amendment.’ The removal of this language from the budget does not change the status quo in New Hampshire: the federal Hyde Amendment still applies, and Medicaid does not cover abortion services in New Hampshire. Put simply, it’s false to state the budget allows for publicly-funded abortion. This repeal is not related to the contingency Title X funding that has been included in the budget.
Additionally, the budget fully funds the state STD/HIV prevention program, which was eliminated in the 2012/2013 budget. Since the elimination of this program, STD rates have increased across the state – gonorrhea and syphilis are both in outbreak status. It’s critical these funds are restored to address this alarming uptick in STDs.
- Title X, the national family planning program, was established in 1970 under the Nixon administration to help low-income people access basic reproductive health services.
- Title X serves 4 million people each year, including approximately 16,000 people in NH. It is intended to ensure that every person – regardless of where they live, how much money they make, their background, or whether they have health insurance – has access to basic, preventive reproductive health care, including birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and annual exams (Title X dollars cannot be used to cover abortion services).
- Last week, changes to the Title X program (the gag rule) went into effect, dismantling the program in New Hampshire and nationwide.
- The gag rule makes it impossible for providers to offer complete ethical, quality care, prohibits referrals for safe, legal abortion, and imposes costly and unnecessary requirements on health centers that provide abortions. That’s why most New Hampshire Title X providers, including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, have decided not to participate in the Title X program as long as the rule is in effect, regardless of whether they provide abortion care or not.
- $3.2 million (over two years) in supplemental family planning funds have been included in the budget as contingency funding – funding which is now necessary. This contingency funding will be used to help low-income or uninsured people access essential health care, including birth control, STD testing and treatment, and cancer screenings.
- These contingency funds will be available to any Title X health center who chooses not to or cannot accept Title X dollars, including health centers that do not provide abortion services.
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. Last year we saw nearly 14,000 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. The Action Fund makes independent expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to targeted candidates for public office. Follow us on Twitter. PPNHAF maintains a separate, segregated political committee and fund to make direct campaign contributions to endorsed candidates (the PAC)