CONCORD -- On Wednesday, New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan co-signed a letter to Sec. Xavier Becerra urging the Department of Health and Human Services to swiftly finalize the proposed rule for the Title X family planning program, which would reverse the Trump administration’s gag rule.
In New Hampshire, the proposed FY 22-23 state budget, as currently written, contains impossible “physical and financial separation” requirements like the requirements in the Title X gag rule, which would dismantle the New Hampshire Family Planning Program. The providers who would be defunded by this budget serve 79 percent of the patients in the entire program. The proposed FY 22-23 budget also drastically underfunds the NH Family Planning Program for at least nine months, which is why it’s critical that Title X funding is swiftly returned to states to mitigate potential interruptions in access to care. It is currently projected that federal Title X dollars will start flowing to states in spring of 2022, at the earliest.
In the letter, New Hampshire’s reproductive health champion senators highlight the harm the Title X gag rule has caused nationwide and in New Hampshire by forcing Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers out of the program. Title X ensured access to birth control, STI testing and treatment, cancer screenings, and other essential sexual and reproductive health care for more than 4 million people across the country before the gag rule. Because of structural racism and barriers to care, women of color disproportionately depend upon Title X providers for care.
Statement from Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, NH:
“We applaud Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan for sending a critical message to Secretary Becerra and the Department of Health and Human Services regarding finalizing rules to officially end the Title X gag rule. As we have always known, the gag rule is unnecessary and harmful to public health outcomes and has resulted in devastating losses for access to reproductive health care. Swiftly finalizing the proposed rule for the Title X family planning program will restore the ability for states to receive funding and ensure Granite State patients can continue to access critical safety net care.
“Despite positive federal efforts to secure funding for family planning programs, we have seen countless attacks on access here in New Hampshire, including a budget provision that would dismantle the New Hampshire Family Planning Program and defund Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The politicians pushing this budget are endangering our state’s positive public health outcomes for political purposes. We urge the New Hampshire Senate and Gov. Sununu to oppose these attacks and pass a final budget that appropriately funds family planning services.”
The Trump administration’s Title X gag rule made it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to refer patients for an abortion and instated onerous “physical and financial separation” requirements between family planning services and abortion care, even though the Title X program has nothing to do with abortion. This program was successful for 50 years, until the Trump administration's gag rule slashed the Title X funded health care network’s capacity, including here in NH. When it was imposed in summer of 2019, the majority of providers in the New Hampshire Family Planning Program withdrew from Title X.
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.