CONCORD -- Today, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) issued the following statement regarding the Senate Finance Committee’s public hearings for the proposed state budget.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, NH:
“Today, patients, health care providers, and advocates from across New Hampshire sent a resounding message to the Senate that they oppose the callous language in the budget that would decimate our state’s Family Planning Program. This language defunds reproductive health care providers, which served 79 percent of the more than 15,000 lower-income and uninsured patients who relied on the program last year to access cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing & treatment, and other critical safety net care.
“This budget jeopardizes our state’s positive public health outcomes at a time when we’ve already seen significant disruptions to care, including fewer STD screenings and cervical cancer screenings, due to the pandemic. Granite Staters cannot afford to have their care rolled back.
“We urge the Senate and Governor Sununu to protect New Hampshire’s most vulnerable community members by removing this language from the budget and passing a final budget that appropriately funds reproductive health care for lower-income and uninsured Granite Staters.”
Background on language in the state budget that defunds reproductive health care providers:
The budget passed by the House dismantles the New Hampshire Family Planning Program in two ways:
First, it requires reproductive health centers to “physically and financially” separate their abortion services from all other health services to qualify for participation in the program, even though the Family Planning Program already does not cover abortion care. These physical separation requirements are not just burdensome, they are impossible to comply with. The impact of the separation requirement would be the immediate removal of providers who currently offer services to 12,000 patients, which is 79% of the entire Family Planning Program.
Second, for the remaining providers who would be eligible to stay in the program, the budget does not take into account the minimum 9-month gap in federal funding due to the continued effects of the Title X gag rule. The Biden administration is working to reverse this policy, but New Hampshire will likely not receive federal Title X funding until spring of 2022 at earliest.
How this Budget Could Harm Public Health:
Cervical cancer screening rates have declined during COVID-19, and sustained disruptions could lead to increased risk for cervical cancers and precancers.
Family planning providers who also perform abortion care saw nearly 12,000 Granite Staters for preventative family planning services in 2020 alone. In 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, more than 50% of PPNNE’s patients in New Hampshire were new patients. In Cheshire and Sullivan counties, PPNNE is the only family planning provider.
Background on the New Hampshire Family Planning Program:
Operated by the NH Department of Health and Human Services, The New Hampshire Family Planning Program subsidizes no-cost and low-cost reproductive and sexual health care, including well-person exams, cancer screenings, access to birth control, health counseling, and testing and treatment for STDs. The New Hampshire Family Planning Program has partnered with independent health care organizations for nearly 50 years to ensure the continuous provision of high quality family planning services across the state.
The New Hampshire Family Planning Program covers a wide range of reproductive health care and preventive services, but none of these funds are used to pay for abortion. Patients who seek access to abortion care must pay out-of-pocket or through private insurance. The New Hampshire Family Planning Program services are available to all individuals, regardless of income and residency status, at designated health care centers across the state. Because of these strategic public health investments and effective programs, New Hampshire enjoys one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the nation and ranks at the top for maternal health outcomes.
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.