In a 3-2 vote today, the New Hampshire Executive Council reinstated a contract that will allow Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire to provide services like STI tests, well-woman exams, and breast cancer screenings as well as alleviate patient wait times that increased after the contract was cut last August. Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire provide nearly 20,000 sexually transmitted infection tests, over 10,000 well-women exams and cancer screenings, and almost 1,500 clinical breast exams annually.
Republican councilor and gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu, who cast the deciding vote on the 2015 cut, changed his vote today. Last August, Sununu voted against providing resources for the 12,000 patients who rely on Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, citing widely debunked lies about the organization as well as citing a personal vendetta against the women’s health provider.
The vote comes one day after the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that struck down laws passed by politicians falsely claiming to keep women safe.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Today’s Executive Council vote shows what New Hampshire women have known all along: Planned Parenthood is an essential, much needed health care provider in communities across the country, serving over 2 million patients every year.
“It’s nice to see that New Hampshire politicians who gladly threw reproductive health under the bus in the past have joined the rest of the state and country in realizing this simple fact: attacking women’s health care is wildly unpopular.
“Reproductive health care is not a political football and shouldn’t be subject to the whims of politicians who aren’t doctors - a fact confirmed by Monday’s landmark Supreme Court decision that cried foul on laws falsely claiming to make women safer and healthier.
“Make no mistake: we are going state by state, and law by law to undo efforts by local politicians that have wrongly blocked medical care across this country.”
Just this morning, Hillary Clinton penned an op-ed in Concord Monitor pointing to the critical services provided by Planned Parenthood, writing: “Every single day, all across America, the staff at Planned Parenthood is doing extraordinary things, often under enormous stress and pressure. When a clinic in Claremont was vandalized – the staff cleaned up quickly, and got back up and running. When a man killed three at Planned Parenthood in Colorado – the very next day, employees across America got up and went to work, providing birth control, STD testing, cancer screenings, and abortion services.”
Councilor Sununu - the deciding Council vote - provided misleading and confusing statements over the past year about his previous vote to cut access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire, repeating lies perpetrated by individuals who have been indicted by a Grand Jury and are currently under investigation in California. Investigations in 13 states have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing. Sununu made clear his opposition to the Planned Parenthood contract was partially out of personal retribution, calling women’s health care providers “bullies.”
Despite Planned Parenthood’s frequently cited popularity in the state, Sununu voted to slash the contract last August, a move in line with the record of New Hampshire U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte who has voted to defund Planned Parenthood six times.