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NH Executive Council Votes to Continue Funding Planned Parenthood Health Centers in New Hampshire

Bipartisan Support to Protect Essential Health Care Services
and promote Healthy Communities

Concord, NH — In a 3-2 vote today, the New Hampshire Executive Council voted to fund a contract that will allow Planned Parenthood health centers in New Hampshire to continue to provide services like  access to birth control, STI testing and treatment, well-woman exams, and cancer screenings.

Ten family planning contracts were on the agenda today, including the one for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in an amount of  $274,000 per year for a two year period (FY 2018-2019) effective retroactively beginning July 1, 2017. With 66 percent of New Hampshire patients earning incomes at or below the 150% Federal Poverty Level (or $17,820/annually) PPNNE is a critical component of the state’s health care safety net and thanks in large part to the work of PPNNE, unintended pregnancy and abortion rates have declined significantly in New Hampshire – saving the state millions in taxpayer dollars.

Statement from Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of Policy

“We are pleased with today’s bipartisan support from Governor Sununu and a majority of the Executive Councilors ensuring that thousands of New Hampshire women, men and young people can continue to access affordable preventative health care, including contraception, well-woman exams, and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers across the state. Access to family planning services is critical for healthy families and healthy communities and Planned Parenthood has been a partner with the State of New Hampshire for nearly 50 years.”

Councilors Russell Prescott (R – Kingston), Chris Pappas (D-Manchester), and Andru Volinksy (D-Concord) voted today to preserve access for the nearly 11,000 patients who rely on the care provided at Planned Parenthood’s five health centers in New Hampshire.

Outside political groups opposed to abortion and some forms of birth control had targeted the Councilors with a campaign urging that they reject contracts with any organizations that offers abortion, even though those services are privately funded.

Polls consistently show strong support for Planned Parenthood and extraordinarily strong opposition to blocking patients from care. New Hampshire has one of the lowest unintended pregnancies and teen pregnancy rates in the country.

Trump ‘Rolls Back’ Mandatory Birth Control Coverage

In their continued assault on women’s reproductive rights, the Trump administration just announced a new “roll back” of employer mandated coverage for birth control.

“The new regulations, effective immediately, would exempt all employers and insurers from covering or paying for coverage of contraceptives if they object “based on its sincerely held religious beliefs,” or have other “moral convictions” against covering such care,” wrote the Atlantic Magazine. “Employers were required to cover at least one of all of the 18 FDA-approved methods of birth control with no cost-sharing for the patient.”

The Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills in its first year alone. Thanks to this benefit, more than 62 million women now have access to birth control without copayments.

“The Trump administration just took direct aim at birth control coverage for 62 million women. This is an unacceptable attack on basic health care that the vast majority of women rely on,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood. “With this rule in place, any employer could decide that their employees no longer have health insurance coverage for birth control.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, after the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision took effect, fewer than 4 percent of American women had to pay out of pocket for oral birth control. That number was more than 20 percent before the law’s passage. Specifically in New Hampshire, 58% of women get their healthcare from their employer.

“Birth control is not controversial — it’s health care the vast majority of women will use in the course of their lifetime. Two million women rely on Planned Parenthood health centers each year for birth control. Nine out of ten women of reproductive age will use birth control in their lifetime.  This administration is carrying out a full-scale attack on birth control— eliminating insurance coverage for birth control, eliminating programs that help women with low incomes access birth control, and moving to prohibit health care providers from even giving women information about birth control or abortion. We cannot allow President Trump to roll back the progress women have made over the past century,” added Richards.

“This administration’s obsession with rolling back women’s reproductive rights and access to care is dangerous and reflects a shallow understanding of women’s health,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “This order will undoubtedly increase unwanted pregnancies and abortions, at a time when both are at an all-time low. I will continue to fight for women’s access to coverage for preventative services, including birth control, and will oppose any effort that infringes on, or compromises, their reproductive freedom. I urge the President to consult health experts and reverse this ill-considered policy shift, and work with Democrats to improve access to healthcare, which includes reproductive health services. ”

Senator Shaheen is a dedicated advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Senator Shaheen has been fighting for years to increase coverage of women’s preventative care in the annual defense authorization bill, and just last month, added an amendment to an appropriations bill that would boost funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs, and repeal the Global Gag Rule.

“Protecting women’s rights to make their own reproductive health decisions is critical to ensuring that women can fully participate in our economy, and also in our democracy,” Senator Maggie Hassan said. “Rolling back full coverage, with no out of pocket costs, for birth control is a direct attack on women’s access to health care and on their right to make their own health care decisions. Nine out of ten women of reproductive age will use contraception at some point in their lives.  Since this benefit went into effect, women nationwide have saved over $1.4 billion on birth control, and this move by the Trump Administration would put a financial burden on hundreds of thousands of women. It is unacceptable that the Trump Administration has repeatedly worked to undermine women’s access to critical health services, and I will continue fighting back against these attacks, including working to ensure that all women have the essential preventative health services they need at no out-of-pocket cost.”

Earlier this year, Senator Hassan helped introduce the Save Women’s Preventative Care Act to ensure that coverage for preventative health care services, such as breast cancer screenings, birth control, and domestic violence screenings, can’t be revised or rolled back by the Trump Administration.

“I am outraged by the Trump Administration’s most sweeping attack yet on women’s access to health care,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “The vast majority of American women get their health insurance through an employer, and this rule will endanger their access to contraceptives, which are used by many women to treat medical conditions as well as to prevent unwanted pregnancy. We must defeat this rule and make it clear to President Trump that women and men reject this interference in access to birth control.”

“Birth control is an important medication for millions of women and efforts by the Trump Administration to limit access to contraceptives are appalling,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “The rule announced today would allow employers to deny coverage for contraceptives,  making them unaffordable for many women in New Hampshire and across the country. I will fight this misguided move by President Trump to deny access to what is truly basic health care.”

Legislators Put Government Between Women And Their Doctors With 20 Week Abortion Ban

(Image John Ted Daganato Flickr)

Last night, the US House voted 237-189 to approve HR 36, a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks and to criminalize doctors with up to five years in prison for conducting the procedure.

Both Congressional Representatives from New Hampshire voted against the legislation that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly opposed, stating, the bill “attempts to ban abortions through medically unnecessary cutoff points.”

“This legislation is dangerous to the rights, health, and safety of American women,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, “This bill attempts to put the government between women and their doctor based on inaccurate and unscientific claims. Pregnancy is usually a joyful time, but for some families it poses dangerous health risks and extremely difficult decisions that should be made between a woman, her doctor, and her loved ones, not politicians.”

“As an adoption attorney for 25 years, I understand that the decision to end a pregnancy is deeply personal and difficult and should be made in consultation with one’s family and doctor, not the government,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “The fact of the matter is that abortions occurring after 20 weeks are exceedingly rare and this legislation would endanger women who are seeking such services for serious medical reasons. This bill is nothing more than an attempt to rollback women’s access to comprehensive reproductive services.”

ACOG added, “The clear consensus by leading medical groups is that a ban on abortion after 20 weeks would interfere with the physician-patient relationship at a time when women are in need of empathetic, respectful and evidence-based care. These medical decisions should be made solely by each individual woman in consultation with those she trusts the most, including her obstetrician-gynecologist – not politicians.”

Abortions after 20 weeks are extremely rare.  Planned Parenthood notes that 99% of all abortions occur before the 21st week. Late term pregnancy complications such as severe fetal anomalies, pose a serious risk to the health of the mother and create a very complex situation.

In an online post, Planned Parenthood called the legislation,  “dangerous” and “out-of-touch” saying it is “nothing more than yet another attempt to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion.”  They also note that attacking women’s reproductive rights and banning abortion after 20 weeks is not what the American people want, regardless of party affiliation.

Image from Planned Parenthood (link)

Ilyse Hogue, President of NARAL Pro-Choice America says that politicians should not be interfering between a woman and her doctor.

“Abortion after twenty weeks of pregnancy is rare and almost always medically complicated. There is no place in these conversations for politicians pursuing an ideological agenda with no knowledge of the medical specifics of each case. Women making these difficult decisions need medical professionals, not tone deaf legislation.”

In their statement after HR36’s passage, The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) said,”The bill as passed attacks women’s moral and religious autonomy and handcuffs doctors under the threat of imprisonment from practicing medicine in their patients’ best interest…HR 36 seeks to intimidate medical professionals by criminalizing care — threatening up to five years in federal prison if the law is somehow violated.”

“The House bill is not a sincere effort to protect women but is rather yet another battle in the campaign to dismantle abortions rights — a campaign that has lasted nearly 45 years since Roe v. Wade, the year that the Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to choose abortion. If the bill becomes law, it would certainly have a chilling effect on the provision of abortion care in the US, which is exactly what its extreme, anti-abortion supporters intend,” NCJW concluded.

President Trump, who claimed to be pro-choice prior to running for President, said he would sign this legislation.

The Link Between Intimate Partner Violence And Reproductive Health

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Highlights Link Between Intimate Partner Violence and Reproductive Health

A special message from Planned Parenthood of New England

Concord, NH — For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is bringing attention to the impact that intimate partner violence (IPV) can have on reproductive health. About one in four women and one in nine men experience IPV, a pattern of abusive behavior within a relationship in the form of physical violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking. Reproductive coercion is another way that someone may try to exert control over their partner, and can include interfering with birth control methods, coercing a partner into having unprotected sex, impregnating a partner against their wishes, or controlling the outcome of a pregnancy.

At Planned Parenthood, our staff, volunteers, activists, and providers are proud to support survivors and work toward preventing intimate partner violence through providing education on consent and healthy relationships, screening for IPV at more than 600 health centers nationwide, and offering vital health care services and resources for survivors.

Statement of Molly Cowan, Communications Manager, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England:

“Health care providers see firsthand how intimate partner violence harms individuals and can threaten their reproductive health and autonomy. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England believes that every person deserves to have safe and healthy relationships. Our staff is trained to screen for abuse and can make referrals in a safe setting. We are committed to connecting our patients to the resources and care they need to take control of their health and recovery.”

Women who experience IPV are also more at risk for HIV, often because abuse makes it difficult or dangerous for them to negotiate boundaries, including around condom use. In addition, more than half of women with HIV have experienced IPV; for many, abuse comes after they reveal their status. IPV can also be a barrier to accessing regular treatment, putting these women’s health at even greater risk. The clear link between HIV and IPV makes it imperative that health care providers are equipped to recognize IPV and address a full range of reproductive health issues.

PPNNE’s five health centers in New Hampshire provide STI testing and treatment, HIV testing and treatment, emergency contraception, birth control, pregnancy tests, and options counseling in a compassionate, nonjudgmental environment. Survivors and those experiencing IPV deserve access to these critical health services from a supportive and expert provider. Visitplannedparenthood.org to find a health center near you.

Planned Parenthood: Women Were Key To Killing Trumpcare

Image by Sarah Mirk (FLIKR CC)

In a tremendous victory for women’s health, the Senate failed to pass Trumpcare.

The bill was defeated by a bipartisan vote, with every Senate Democrat voting against the bill as well as Republican Senators Collins (R-ME), McCain (R-AZ) and Murkowski (R-AK), who stood with the women of this country.

  • Trumpcare was the worst bill for women in a generation and would have cut off access to vital health care services, disproportionately impacting women who already face unfair barriers to care, especially low-income women and women of color.
  • Trumpcare would have blocked millions from accessing birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers, increased premiums by 20% and taken away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans.

That’s why Planned Parenthood supporters have been vocal and persistent in their opposition to Trumpcare from day one. In recent months, an army of pink-clad Planned Parenthood patients, supporters, and advocates organized thousands of actions from coast to coast — including rallies, speak-outs at congressional town halls, lawn signs, phone banks, petition deliveries to congressional offices, and field hearings.

Over the last several months, Planned Parenthood supporters have:

  • Made more than 200,000 phone calls to members of Congress
  • Organized more than 2,200 events across the country, including rallies, petition drops, phone banks, and marches
  • Delivered over one million petition signatures to members of Congress in opposition to  “defunding” Planned Parenthood.

All told, Planned Parenthood grassroots organizing and community support was a driving force in the successful, bipartisan effort to stop Trumpcare and protect people’s access to Planned Parenthood health services.

“Women stopped this bill in its tracks. Since day one, women have led the opposition, from organizing rallies and marches to flooding congressional town halls and hosting weekly phone banks,” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Against all odds, grassroots organizing defeated Trumpcare. We know this is the beginning, not the end, of fighting for what we believe in — but it’s a big step forward.”

“It’s time politicians learned that they cannot attack women’s health and rights and expect to get away with it. This Congress — and this country — witnessed a never-before-seen groundswell of activism in response to politicians’ efforts to jam through the worst bill for women in a generation,” added Richards.  

“Women played a critical role in defeating Trumpcare and protecting access to critical care for millions of American families,” saidJennifer Frizzell, Vice President for Public Policy, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “Since day one, women have led the opposition, from organizing rallies and marches to flooding congressional town halls and hosting weekly phone banks. Americans across the country joined the rallying cry against this dangerous bill, rose up in opposition, and never let up.”

“Tens of millions of people whose health care was threatened can rest a little easier today. And the more than one million people with Medicaid coverage who rely on Planned Parenthood will still be able to come to our health centers for care. 8,118 patients will walk through Planned Parenthood health center doors again today because millions of others stood firm in this fight. Today, tomorrow, and every day after we will continue to protect their care.”

“The worst bill for women in a generation was defeated thanks to a never-before-seen groundswell of activism. We know this is the beginning, not the end, of fighting for what we believe in — but it’s a big step forward,” Frizzell concluded.

GOP Healthcare Plan Looks To Strip Low Cost, Preventative Care Away From 13 Million Women

Image by Gage Skidmore FLIKR

As President Trump says, “Healthcare is complicated.” The fact is that creating a national healthcare program takes careful consideration as every part of the legislation effects millions of Americans.

For weeks now the mostly white men of the US Senate have been crafting their own version of the “repeal and replacement” for the Affordable Care Act. Until earlier this week we had no idea what these men were going to propose.  The “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” is already being deemed a disaster and outright mean.

For women, specifically low income women and women of color, this new bill is a train wreck as it will strip away healthcare providers as well as preventative care options.

Republicans in the Senate are using the proposed “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” to push their ideological, partisan agenda to destroy Planned Parenthood.  The GOP hatred of Planned Parenthood stems from the fact that Planned Parenthood provides abortion services, even though abortions are not paid in any part through taxpayer funds, and is only 3% of what Planned Parenthood does every day.

The new “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” continues this attack on Planned Parenthood by attempting to “defund” Planned Parenthood. This Republican talking point has become a staple for many Congressional Republicans even though they do not seem to grasp exactly what Planned Parenthood actually does.

Congress wants to “defund” Planned Parenthood by refusing to fund them with money from the federal budget, when in fact Planned Parenthood is not a budgetary item that can be removed.  Planned Parenthood is a medical service provider, like any other doctor’s office or hospital, and receives an insurance reimbursement through Medicaid.

Over 2.4 million women a year visit Planned Parenthood for their preventative health care services at little to no cost to the patient.  Nearly 1 in 5 women have utilized the services provided by Planned Parenthood. This is 97% of what Planned Parenthood does: annual exams, birth control, cancer screenings, and disease testing and treatment.  Once again, in case it was not clear before, Medicaid cannot reimburse patients for abortion services except in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother is in danger.

“This bill would be a disaster for women. It prevents patients who rely on Medicaid from accessing care from their established and trusted provider including annual exams, birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment,” said Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “It reduces access to no-cost preventive services, including birth control. In addition to “defunding” Planned Parenthood and slashing Medicaid; the Senate bill guts Essential Health Benefit protections, including maternity coverage and prescription drugs.  This bill would disproportionately impact women who already face unfair barriers to care, including low-income women and women of color.”

The new “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” further diminishes care for 13 million women, the majority are low income and women of color, as the proposed legislation repeals maternity coverage and prescription drugs like birth control pills.  These cuts have been opposed by the American Public Health Association, the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

As if the Republican healthcare plan was not unpopular enough already, taking away women’s access to Planned Parenthood health centers is completely against the will of the people.  Polling from Quinnipiac shows that 80% of voters oppose “defunding” Planned Parenthood and blocking access to Planned Parenthood health centers.

Yesterday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan held an emergancy field hearing on the newly released, “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017,” at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

At the hearing, Planned Parenthood advocate Ruthie Redmond praised both Senators Shaheen and Hassan for their commitment to the life-saving and life-changing health care provided at Planned Parenthood health centers. With such strong support for stopping Trumpcare from the federal delegation, patient advocates expressed disappointment in New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, and his silence thus far during the healthcare debate.

During the event, Planned Parenthood patient Ruthie Redmond called on Governor Sununu to stand up for women. “Sununu’s tepid support for the AHCA and his silence on the devastating impact of defunding Planned Parenthood leads me to believe he’s quickly forgotten the campaign promise he made to the women of this state – to “stand up to his party and protect access to women’s health,” said Ruthie Redmond, of Manchester, NH.

“We thank Senators Shaheen and Hassan for being champions for women’s health in the US Senate, and always standing up for the 11,000 NH patients who rely on Planned Parenthood’s services. In order to keep Granite State women and families healthy, we must all work together to stop this dangerous bill,” added Montgomery.

We must make our voices heard and stand in opposition to the ideological, partisan attacks on the premier low-cost health care provider in the country.  Call your Senators today (202-224-3121) and tell them to oppose the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” and that you specifically oppose the cuts to Planned Parenthood.

NH Executive Council Awards Contract for HIV Early Intervention/Prevention Services to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Funding Will Address the Latest Risks of HIV As Exacerbated by Opioid Crisis

Concord, NH –  Earlier today, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) was awarded a contract to provide early-intervention, prevention and treatment services for populations at-risk for HIV across the state. Services will be available at PPNNE health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene and Manchester. The vote by the Executive Council was 4 – 1 and will provide a total of $275,000, over 30-months to deliver a comprehensive set of services to combat the spread of HIV and prevent and treat other sexually transmitted diseases in New Hampshire. Executive Councilors voting to support the measure were Joseph Kenney, Andru Volinsky, Russell Prescott, and Chris Pappas. Councilor David Wheeler, who originally joined with the majority in a voice vote, later described his earlier vote as erroneous and voiced his opposition into the record.

Statement from Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President for Public Policy, PPNNE:
“We welcome the chance to partner with the State of New Hampshire to address the state’s emerging public health needs and to keep our communities healthy. Providing these targeted resources for enhanced outreach, testing, treatment and prevention measures will help reduce transmission of HIV, maintain the health of people currently living with HIV, provide early intervention to people just diagnosed to better manage and treat HIV. These interventions will help mitigate the costs of HIV on patients, families and on communities and ultimately save lives.”

Statement from Richard Wagner, Executive Director of AIDS Response Seacoast:
“I am pleased to see these important health care and outreach funds awarded to treat patients and identify and educate those at risk for HIV throughout the state of New Hampshire and here in the Seacoast region”.

Needle-based drug use is directly linked to increases in HIV infection. New Hampshire is currently experiencing an opioid crisis, which has spiked an increase in hepatitis C diagnoses. Seacoast doctors worry that HIV infections will follow. Today’s Executive Council vote recognized that PPNNE is uniquely prepared to put in place proactive testing, treatment and prevention measures that will help New Hampshire to get ahead of any predictive HIV trending.

The Equality Health Center also received a contract to provide similar services in the greater Concord health service area.


Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and teens 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 more than 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.

NH Senate Battles Over State Budget, Slashes Funding For DCYF, Drug Treatment And Kindergarten

Last night, the New Hampshire State Senate was burning the midnight oil as Senators battled over the State’s budget.  After 11pm last night, the Republicans pushed through their budget along party lines (14-9).  Along with cuts to drug treatment programs, funding for full day kindergarten, and DCYF, the budget is a massive tax giveaway to the wealthiest in our state.  Republicans also rejected a budget amendment to ensure low-income families would still be able to access healthcare through low cost options like Planned Parenthood.

“This budget creates an artificial, trumped-up surplus to sell the biggest Republican ruse of all, that slashing taxes for the rich will grow revenues and improve the lives of poor, middle-class people,” said Democratic Minority Leader Sen. Jeff  Woodburn (D-Whitefield). “The reality is that this budget props up the wealthiest 1% in our state and kowtows to the most conservative 5% in the House.

“Throughout every step of this process, Senate Democrats have been clear that we are willing to work with our Republican colleagues toward a bipartisan, fiscally responsible budget that works for everyone, not just those at the top. But the right-wing budget passed this evening is purely a political document and fails to adequately address the challenges and needs of our state,” added Woodburn.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley told the Concord Monitor, “We find ourselves doing as much as we can while protecting taxpayers and growing our economy.”  This is essentially the same argument the Trump administration is using to justify massive cuts to the Federal Budget and to justify cutting taxes on the people who pay the most in taxes.

The Governor’s budget undercuts the alcohol fund which is key in combatting the opioid crisis. Tym Rourke, Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse, said yesterday that the additional dollars directed toward the alcohol fund are deceptive, and could be diverted elsewhere, forcing treatment and prevention programs to scramble for resources. Sununu’s uprooting of opioid funds is similar to the Trump budget, which cuts money from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, slashes drug prevention funding by 11%, cuts Medicaid funding in half, and cuts $400 million in substance use disorder and mental health funding.

In addition to underfunding the fight against opioids, Sununu’s Senate budget does nothing to avoid tuition hikes at community colleges and state universities, dedicates no funding toward job training of Community Mental Health Centers, and stops short of providing adequate funding to the Department of Children, Youth & Families and the developmental disability program. Most surprisingly, the Senate Republicans refused to spend even a dollar in the budget on the popular full-day kindergarten program.

The underfunding of key programs for New Hampshire’s working families and most vulnerable citizens are designed to make room for $216 million in business tax cuts in the next 4 years. After 12 years of Democratic leadership in the corner office, New Hampshire has the third-lowest unemployment rate in the country and was rated the number one state in America for economic opportunity by US News.

“What it comes down to is that budgets are about priorities and the priorities laid out in the Senate Republican budget do not match those of hard working Granite Staters,” added Sen. Dan Feltes (D-Concord). “This budget fails to include job training programs that would boost our workforce and close our skills gap, breaks promises made to our retirees and increases health care costs for our seniors, and doesn’t invest in full-day kindergarten, something necessary to closing the opportunity gap and attracting and keeping young working families in New Hampshire. The budget fails to adequately address DCYF and child safety. It also fails to adequately address our mental health crisis in the short-term, nor does it make the cost-effective investments that will prevent the crisis from expanding; including in childhood mental health. Quite simply, this budget fails to meet the critical and time-sensitive challenges we face.”

“A budget based on incorrect, deflated revenue estimates is one that needlessly discards invaluable resources for New Hampshire’s most needy. The budget is the bill that impacts every person in New Hampshire and is the most important piece of legislation that we vote on. While the budget approved today makes steps in the right direction, it simply leaves too many needs unmet,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester). “This budget fails to fully fund full-day kindergarten, fails to fully fund our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and fails to adequately meet the needs of those suffering from mental illness. The people of New Hampshire deserve better than what was passed in the Senate today.”

Among the highly contested sections of the budget was severe cut to Planned Parenthood funding. The Senate ultimately rejected an amendment to keep Planned Parenthood’s doors open in the event of a federal “defund.” A federal “defund” of Planned Parenthood, as proposed by the Trump Administration, would block Medicaid patients from receiving care. This move, if passed in Washington, would be immediate, giving no time for budget writers to come back to the table to find a New Hampshire solution to funding.

The amendment was proposed by Senator Feltes (D-Concord), and was an opportunity to ensure that there is continuity of care for patients if Planned Parenthood is “defunded” at the federal level. Currently,  New Hampshire consistently ranks one of the top healthy states in the nation, with one of the lowest teen pregnancy and STI rates in the country, and excellent maternal health outcomes. This contingency amendment aimed to keep that enviable status by using state Medicaid dollars to protect federal losses in the event of a federal “defund”.  Also speaking on behalf of this amendment were Senator Soucy and Senator Hennessey.

“The Congressional Budget Office estimated that most of the federal savings from eliminating Planned Parenthood would be offset by the high-risk, high-cost of unintended pregnancies which would result in additional Medicaid births. Because many of those patients won’t be able to find another provider, taking away cancer screenings and preventive care will only drive the costs up in other parts of our health care spending. Furthermore, since our state currently uses Medicaid funds to purchase coverage through Medicaid managed care and premium assistance – there wouldn’t be any additional cost for these capitated rates, while there would be the very important benefit of maintaining continuity of care for thousands of Planned Parenthood patients,” said Senator Dan Feltes.

In addition to providing quality care for many Granite Staters, Planned Parenthood’s services are also extremely cost effective, as every dollar spent on publicly-funded contraception saves more than $7 in other costs. Ensuring that Planned Parenthood stays part of New Hampshire’s health care system helps prevent unintended pregnancies and STI occurrences.

The amendment was rejected by a partisan vote of 14-9.

“We’re grateful for the efforts of State Senators to protect the health of people who rely on Planned Parenthood for lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control and other needed health care in New Hampshire. However we’re deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans took a partisan approach which could result in disruption of access to reproductive care. We will continue to strive for a bipartisan approach to protecting women’s health and rights,” said Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President for Public Policy for Planned Parenthood of New England.

“Last night’s vote comes as politicians in Congress are threatening the health and lives of millions of people across the country who rely on Planned Parenthood. We applaud the efforts of our state legislators to help shield  our patients in New Hampshire, yet the health and well-being of millions of people across the country still hangs in the balance. If members of Congress do not abandon this attack, it will be nothing short of a health care disaster,” Frizzell added.

Senate Democrats added their distain for this attack on women’s health providers.

“It’s a disturbing reality that in 2017, women in the United States, and now in New Hampshire, continue to play defense against constant efforts to restrict access to the healthcare services that women need to lead safe, healthy and independent lives,” said Senator Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth). “As Republicans in Washington explicitly target major women’s healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood for elimination, there is significant, substantiated anxiety that women are in imminent danger of losing access to the affordable, high quality and preventative health services that clinics like Planned Parenthood provide.”

“When Republican members of the all-male, Senate Finance Committee introduced an amendment on the final day of deliberation in executive committee, without first holding a public hearing, to codify a state-level version of the Hyde amendment to prohibit the use of state funds for diversion to reproductive healthcare clinics, they made clear their intent to promote their personal and political ideology at the expense of women’s health,” said Senator Martha Hennessey (D-Hanover). “This is especially clear given that it is already established in practice that no federal or state funds in New Hampshire are used to cover abortion services. The ulterior intent of the amendment is clear: it is to send a message that Senate Republicans do not value or intend to preserve the lifesaving services that Planned Parenthood provides to the women of New Hampshire.”

“These efforts to defund and restrict access to Planned Parenthood are not only unconstitutional, they also disproportionately impact low income women, women of color, young people and immigrants who rely on Medicaid for their healthcare coverage,” added Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester). “In Manchester alone, upwards of 5,000 women utilize Planned Parenthood’s services, including physical exams, cancer screenings, family planning resources and STI testing and treatment. These clinics are invaluable to New Hampshire families and our communities. Given the uncertainty in Washington, we should be doing all that we can to assure the thousands of women who rely on these services that their care will not falter.”

“We find it disturbing that our Republican colleagues not only doubled down on their efforts to deny women’s healthcare coverage, they triple and quadrupled down on it with every subsequent amendment to restrict access,” said Senator Bette Lasky (D-Nashua). “While I respect that this is a contentious issue open to debate and disagreement, these amendments should have gone through the proper, public process, not introduced in the late hours of the night as we take our final votes on the budget.”

Trump Budget Singles Out Planned Parenthood, Cutting Them Entirely Out Of Budget

Budget Writers in New Hampshire Must Step Up and Protect Critical Programs for Patients Who Depend on Planned Parenthood Services

CONCORD – Last night, the Trump administration unveiled an overview of its Fiscal Year 2018 Budget, revealing sharp cuts and draconian changes to essential programs, such as Medicaid, SNAP, TANF and more, that women disproportionately rely on — and for the first time in history singling out an individual health care provider — Planned Parenthood — by prohibiting it from participating in any program funded through Congress’s annual Labor-HHS bill.

The Trump administration’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood entirely from its budget highlights the critical need for New Hampshire to put in place a contingency plan to protect the 11,000 patients who depend on Planned Parenthood’s services each year.

Statement of Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President for Public Policy:

“The Trump budget singles out Planned Parenthood and guts programs designed to help women and their families put food on the table, get the medical care they need, and make ends meet. This policy is bad for the country and offends the bipartisan New Hampshire values that have long protected women”s health programs.

Budget writers in New Hampshire now have the opportunity to stand with New Hampshire women and protect continuity of access and care at Planned Parenthood health centers. ”

New Hampshire leaders have the opportunity to protect the people targeted under the AHCA, which would prohibit people with Medicaid coverage from accessing preventive health care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including birth control, cancer screenings, and STD testing and treatment. Many of these patients would have nowhere else to go for care. Those who already face barriers to accessing health care – especially people with low incomes, and people who live in rural areas – would be hardest hit.

Never has a President’s budget made such extreme and callous cuts to programs that so many people in the United States rely on. Remarkably, as a candidate, President Trump promised “there will be no cuts” to Medicaid – a promise he has broken in spectacular fashion, proposing to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the Medicaid program, which will result in millions of people losing insurance coverage. More than 70 million Americans, including women, mothers, children and seniors, depend on Medicaid for their health coverage.

The budget summary also, for the first time in history, singles out Planned Parenthood on page one, stating:

“The Budget also follows through on a campaign promise and prohibits any funding in the Labor-HHS appropriations bill for certain entities that provide abortions, including Planned Parenthood. This prohibition applies to all funds in the bill, including Medicaid.”

Governor Sununu Praises New Healthcare Bill That ‘Defunds’ Planned Parenthood

Amid Federal Uncertainties, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Marks National Women’s Health Week by Emphasizing Importance of Wellness Visits and Preventive Care

“May 15-21 is National Women’s Health Week, Our Doors Remain Open”

Concord, NH — During National Women’s Health Week (May 15-21), Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is highlighting the need for regular wellness visits and preventive health care as a critical part of staying healthy for women of all ages. Regular checkups and screenings are essential to good health; and early detection and treatment of illnesses could save your life. A survey released last year, however found that the vast majority of women do not know when or how frequently they should be screened for breast and cervical cancer, and many — especially women of color — aren’t getting screened often enough.

However, Women’s Health Week comes two weeks after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the worst bill for women’s health in a generation. This legislation “defunds” Planned Parenthood, which will block Medicaid patients in New Hampshire from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing at Planned Parenthood. This disastrous legislation will make it harder for women in New Hampshire to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy, and harder to raise a family.

Yesterday, during an interview on NHPR’s The Exchange, Governor Sununu proposed that states should be able to opt out of covering women’s health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment. Referring to the opt out as “flexibilities” for the states, Sununu rationalized his stance on substance abuse treatment and women’s health by saying flexibility is needed because those issues may not be as important in other states as they are in New Hampshire.

“As the nation’s leading provider and advocate of women’s health care, Planned Parenthood encourages all women to make their health a top priority by scheduling a checkup and getting regular screenings,” said Molly Cowan, Planned Parenthood of Norther New England’s Communications Manager. “Annual well-woman visits help providers learn more about your health and family history to help you stay healthy, and are an opportunity to make sure that you’re getting the screenings you need, as well as using the birth control method that best fits your needs.”

“In New Hampshire, Planned Parenthood is calling on our leaders: Governor Sununu, and budget writers in the House and the Senate to fund reproductive health programs and ensure New Hampshire’s quality public health outcomes, such as low teen pregnancy rates and strong maternal health outcomes, remain enviable.These results are no accident, and we urge our leaders stand with women, and put their votes where results clearly are. Planned Parenthood is an expert and cost-effective source of preventive care for women, and our doors remain open to answer any questions that women and young people may have about their health,” Cowan added.

Sununu’s support for allowing New Hampshire and other states to opt out of women’s health coverage would undermine coverage for those with preexisting conditions, maternity care, and reproductive rights. This continues Sununu’s tenuous relationship with women’s health, as he voted to defund Planned Parenthood as an Executive Councilor in 2015 before being pressured to vote for it in the midst of his run for Governor.

“It’s outrageous that Governor Sununu would support allowing New Hampshire and other states to deny coverage for women’s health care, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment,” said NH Democratic Party Chair, Raymond Buckley. “His excuse is pathetic, saying that different states have different needs, but no one should be denied coverage because of their gender. Just because a lower volume of people suffer from substance use disorder in other states doesn’t mean those who are suffering don’t deserve care. And just because Governor Sununu is a man doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to worry about women gaining the coverage they need. New Hampshire needs a governor who stands up against Trumpcare, not one who supports outlandish proposals that would undermine a promise to provide affordable health insurance to those with preexisting conditions.”

For those who may be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with a well-woman visit, Planned Parenthood’s online resources walk through the process and provide a clear sense of what to expect.

One in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for affordable, high-quality health care and compassionate, confidential information and advice. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act strengthened women’s preventive health  coverage; the ACA requires 100 percent coverage of cancer screening costs, with no copay for insured women.

Last year, Planned Parenthood saw 11,000 patients in New Hampshire alone.

Planned Parenthood health centers provide high-quality, confidential, affordable health care and our doors are open to everyone. Visit plannedparenthood.org to find a health center and make an appointment.

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