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Colin Van Ostern Unveils Plan To Expand Opportunities For NH Women And Their Families

Colin Van Ostern 7-6-16Van Ostern Says He’ll Work To Improve The Health And Economic Security
Of New Hampshire Women And Their Families

NASHUA, N.H. – Today, at a roundtable discussion with community leaders active on issues that impact New Hampshire women and their families, Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern released a plan to keep moving New Hampshire forward. The plan and discussion focused on permanently expanding Medicaid and ensuring continuous access to family planning services, combating domestic violence, promoting women in technology and the sciences, and several other key areas where state government can support women’s interests.

“I’m proud to stand with community leaders to unveil a plan to improve the health and economic security of New Hampshire women and their families,” said Colin Van Ostern, Democratic candidate for Governor. “As Governor, I will work to ensure that women and their families have uninterrupted access to critical health services, live in safer communities and I’ll promote initiatives that create a more inclusive economy. Strong and successful women make a strong and successful New Hampshire.”

“From leading the charge on the Executive Council to successfully restore funding for critical medical care like cancer screenings, annual exams and family planning services to promoting a more inclusive economy, Colin has the record and experience to be a strong advocate for women as Governor of New Hampshire,” said State Senator Molly Kelly.

Van Ostern’s plan to improve the health and economic security of New Hampshire women and their families focuses on key policy priorities, including:

  • Protect Family Planning Health Services, Permanently Expand Medicaid, and Always Protect A Woman’s Right To Choose
  • Bring More Young Women And Girls Into Sciences, Technology, Engineering, Arts And Math (STEAM) Educational Program And Industries
  • Increase The State Minimum Wage
  • Ensure Full Day Kindergarten In Every Town
  • Improve Family Leave Policies and Promote Family Friendly Workplaces
  • Expand Sexual Violence Prevention Initiatives, Restore State Matching Funds For Victims Of Sexual Violence And Reduce Sexual Violence On Our College Campuses

Van Ostern is a business leader and Executive Councilor that has championed issues that affect New Hampshire’s women and their families. On the Executive Council, Van Ostern has twice successfully helped restore funds for essential health services like cancer screenings and annual exams for women and families. In 2015, he was recognized for this work by NARAL Pro-Choice NH and was named the state’s “Champion for Choice.” As a candidate for Governor, Van Ostern is supported by a majority of New Hampshire legislators and some of the state’s leading women including Congresswoman Annie Kuster. He is the first candidate for Governor of New Hampshire in 2016 to release a plan addressing women and their families.

(You can download Van Ostern’s newly release plan here)

NH Rebellion March To End Political Corruption On July 9th

July_9_2016_walk5-mile NH Rebellion March to End Big Money in Politics.

Portsmouth, NH – At 9:00 am this Saturday, July 9, dozens of committed “Granny D walkers” will set out from Portsmouth High School to raise awareness of the corrupting influence big money has on our Democracy.

Over the last two years, hundreds of reform-minded citizens have braved the elements and walked more than 40,000 miles across New Hampshire in a frigid “New Hampshire Rebellion” against big money in politics. Walkers from across NH marched from Dixville Notch in the north, Nashua in the south, Keene in the west, and Portsmouth in the east.

The July 9 Seacoast walk will kick off from Portsmouth High School at 9:00 AM. Reformers will be greeted in Market Square by a marching band, then will walk on to Fort Constitution for a rally at noon.   

Speakers will include:

  • Joe Magruder – Former News Editor, Associated Press of New Hampshire and Open Democracy Advisory Board Member;
  • John Rauh – Founder of Americans for Campaign Reform;
  • Betty Tamposi – Former Assistant Secretary of State under President George H. W. Bush, and former Republican Candidate for Congress;
  • Larry Lessig, Harvard Law professor and noted expert and author on the issue of money in politics.

“We are deeply concerned that elections are being bought and paid for by a handful of private interests looking out for themselves–not the American people,” said Olivia Zink, Executive Director of Open Democracy in Concord. “NH voters are sick and tired of outside interests spending millions to influence our elections. We’re walking to get a step closer to passing a We the People reform agenda in 2017.”

“The growth of this movement in New Hampshire shows that people across the state from every political background are taking a stand to stop systemic corruption in politics,” said Jazmine Langley, Democracy Fellow of the NH Rebellion. “The demand on candidates to spend the majority of their time raising money from narrow interests increases polarization, and leads to the dysfunction of Congress, and continuing its historically low level of public approval.  It is time we take on this root issue.”

Founded by scholar-activist Lawrence Lessig, the NH Rebellion march is inspired by the “rebellion clause” of the New Hampshire Constitution, which calls on citizens “to reform the old or establish a new government” when laws serve a privileged few rather than “the common benefit, protection, and security of the whole community.”

Reformers continue the work of the late New Hampshire activist Doris “Granny D” Haddock, whose historic cross-country walk for campaign finance reform at the age of 90 helped spark a citizens movement to pass the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

NH Rebellion is part of Open Democracy, the Concord-based nonpartisan reform organization founded by legendary NH hero Granny D. To learn more about the NH Rebellion, please visit: www.nhrebellion.org. To register for the walk please visit: walk.nhrebellion.org. To see details about the planned events,  follow us on Twitter @nhrebellion and on Facebook at: facebook.com/nhrebellion.

Kelly Ayotte’s Lonely Fight Against Planned Parenthood

Dont Take Away My Breast Exams - Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Don’t Take Away My Breast Exams – Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Concord, NH –– Last week, the Republican-controlled Executive Council in New Hampshire voted to restore funding for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England with bipartisan support. The vote isolated Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire as one of the only legislators still holding steadfast in her campaign to eliminate patients’ ability to access services at Planned Parenthood health centers. 

The Republican-controlled Executive Council followed the lead of Governor Hassan and the Republican controlled House and Senate state legislature –– which this year killed 16 bills that would have restricted access to reproductive health care –– in rejecting efforts to block care at Planned Parenthood health centers. It’s not just elected officials: 66 percent of New Hampshire voters support access to Planned Parenthood.

Statement from Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:

“Kelly Ayotte is fighting a lonely battle against Planned Parenthood. New Hampshire has spoken loud and clear –– voters and elected officials have totally and completely rejected attempts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers. Yet, Kelly Ayotte continues to prioritize defunding Planned Parenthood –– voting six times to block New Hampshire women from birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood. New Hampshire voters understand that Planned Parenthood provides essential health care that women depend on. Inexplicably, Ayotte continues to try to take that away. New Hampshire women can’t afford another six years of Kelly Ayotte.”

Senator Kelly Ayotte has voted six times to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood health centers. A survey conducted by Hart Research shows that voters in New Hampshire strongly support Planned Parenthood, and oppose Ayotte’s position to “defund” the organization. Key findings from the survey includes:

  • 66 percent of New Hampshire voters oppose blocking patients from accessing Planned Parenthood’s preventive health services, including 72 percent of Independents.
  • By a two to one margin, voters in battleground states including New Hampshire are less likely to vote to re-elect their senators if they vote to block patients from accessing care at Planned Parenthood.

Furthermore, Kelly Ayotte won’t protect access to birth control coverage. Ayotte even proposed a plan that would make more women pay for birth control by undermining the health law that gave nearly 300,000 New Hampshire women access to no-copay birth control.

Asylum Seekers File Class Action Lawsuit Against DHS Over One-Year Filing Deadline

Department of Homeland Security (AFGE FLICKR)

Department of Homeland Security (AFGE FLICKR)

Washington D.C. – The U.S. Government has placed unnecessary hurdles in front of asylum seekers who are attempting to file asylum applications within the required time period. In fact, bureaucratic obstacles, a well-documented court backlog, and jurisdictional disputes between agencies often make it impossible for individuals to file their asylum applications by the deadline, leaving them ineligible for asylum and subject to deportation. 

Immigration Policy Center logoIn an attempt to bring order and fairness to what has become an overly bureaucratic and chaotic process, today, 4 asylum-seekers filed a class action lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) failure to advise them of the deadline for filing their asylum applications, as well as both DHS’s and the immigration courts’ failure to adopt procedures which would ensure that an individual is able to file an asylum application by the deadline.  

Plaintiffs, represented by the American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Dobrin & Han, PC, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, sue on behalf of themselves and all other individuals in the United States who are in the same situation.

The immigration statute imposes a one-year deadline within which an asylum seeker must apply for asylum. With very limited exceptions, an individual who misses this deadline becomes ineligible for asylum. Despite these dire consequences, DHS agents and officers do not notify asylum-seekers of the one-year deadline for filing. Additionally, neither DHS nor the immigration courts have adopted procedures to ensure that an individual is able to file an asylum application within one year. Many applicants and their attorneys take extraordinary steps to attempt to file, but even then have no guarantee that DHS or the immigration will find that the deadline was met.  

“It is inexcusable that DHS and EOIR—fully aware that their own case backlogs and bureaucratic stumbling blocks prevent many asylum-seekers from filing on time—have not adopted national, uniform procedures to remedy the situation,” said Mary Kenney, Senior Attorney with the American Immigration Council.

“In many cases, trying to comply with the one-year filing deadline is nothing but a wild-goose chase; timely filing an asylum application in open court is simply impossible when court hearings are routinely scheduled a year or more after the person’s arrival,” explained Trina Realmuto, Litigation Director of the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.

“Our Constitution and immigration laws require a fair process,” said Matt Adams, Legal Director for Northwest Immigrant Rights Project.  “The government must make the rules clear, ensuring that those who qualify for asylum have a genuine opportunity to apply.”

“The United States must continue to be a place of refuge for those fleeing harm in their home countries,” said Hilary Han, a partner at Dobrin & Han, PC.  “The government has failed to honor our obligation to genuine asylum seekers by making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for them to file their asylum applications in a timely manner.”

The complaint can be viewed here

The Brady Campaign Launches Provocative New PSA On Dangers Of Guns In The Home

As Americans gather for the 4th of July, Brady Center launches TalkAboutGuns.org, a resource for families to start conversations about the hidden risks of guns 

More than 1.7 million American children live in homes with unlocked, loaded guns that put their lives at risk 

Washington, DC – As Americans gather for the 4th of July, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is releasing a new public service announcement and website designed to spark conversations among families and friends about the unknown dangers of guns in the home.

TalkAboutGuns.Org is a resource to help parents and families—whether they own guns or not—strike up conversations about the risks of a gun in the home, and make informed decisions that save lives. 

And on a holiday when some Americans celebrate with gunfire, the risks are even greater. In fact, last 4th of July at least two Americans were killed by celebratory gunfire.

But guns in the home actually pose a risk all year long. The reality is, a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to be used to kill or injure in a domestic homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense. A gun in the home simply makes families less safe.

With a quiz and tips for keeping families safe, TalkAbouGuns.org is designed for the millions of families who own guns and anyone who visits or plays in a home with a gun. With a provocative PSA and helpful discussion guides, it’s intended to help gun owners and non-gun owners alike strike up conversations and make informed decisions that save lives. 

“While the corporate gun lobby irresponsibly peddles the myth a gun in the home makes you safer, the data is clear: the opposite is true,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “As more Americans buy into the myth that a gun makes their home safer, gun deaths from suicides and accidental shootings continue to rise. We know the health and safety risks of keeping a gun in the home. Now it’s time to do something about it—and that starts with talking about it.”

Gun ownership substantially increases the risk of suicide and accidental shootings. In fact,

  • 60 percent of all youth gun deaths occur in the home,
  • 82 percent of youth firearm suicides use a gun belonging to a family member, usually a parent,
  • And an alarming 68 percent of school shooters acquired the guns they used from home.

With 1.7 million American kids living in the same house as a loaded, unlocked gun, Americans can’t afford to ignore these dangers.

The mission of the Brady organization and its Million Mom March is to create a safer America by cutting gun deaths in half by 2025. For more insight on gun violence prevention, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BradyBuzz. 

About Us: The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of more than 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history – The Million Mom March, Mother’s Day 2000

Dan Weeks Completes 33-Town “Handshake Day” Tour of District 5

243-mile, 15-Hour Tour Highlights Executive Council Candidate’s Commitment to Public Service


Dan meets with locals at the Hollis Diner

NASHUA – On National Handshake Day, Thursday, June 30th, Executive Council candidate and Open Democracy leader Dan Weeks traveled 243 miles over 15 consecutive hours visiting all 33 towns in District 5. The #HandshakeDan tour, a first in Executive Council politics, featured hundreds of handshakes and countless conversations with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents about issues of concern in the fall election. 

“Although I’m proud of my New Hampshire heritage and was fortunate to grow up here in District 5, I cannot take my prior knowledge of the towns and their people for granted,” said Weeks, whose family roots go back to the first generation of English settlers in Portsmouth and Lancaster, NH. “As a candidate and public servant, my job is to reach out to my constituents, listen to their concerns, and faithfully represent their interests in Concord. This tour is just one of many ways I am working to earn the people’s trust.”

Weeks began the day at 7am by serving breakfast at the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, where he regularly volunteers. He then met with Nashua First Lady Vicki Donchess and other supporters in front of Nashua City Hall to launch his Handshake Day tour. The day-long tour took Weeks and campaign assistant Julia Murray and Abby Scheetz to numerous town halls, diners, libraries, country stores, farms, and police and fire stations where the candidate shook hands with citizens and asked what issues matter most to them in the upcoming election. Weeks was greeted at several stops by campaign supporters with signs and $5 donations, who were tracking the tour online in real time. A full itinerary and GPS tracker are available at www.danielweeks.com/handshakedan

“More than anything else, I want to know that my elected officials are representing me, that they’ll listen to what I have to say and return my call,” said Catherine Sofitikis, a resident of Nashua who met Weeks yesterday outside Nashua City Hall with her dog. “Dan knows this District like the back of his hand and will stop at nothing to hear what other people have to say, even people he doesn’t agree with. He is setting a positive example of how campaigns should be run.”

Weeks recently drew attention for his unprecedented #DanOnBallot petition campaign, in which he and his many volunteers collected nearly 700 petition signatures from voters in every District 5 town to support his candidacy – a grassroots alternative to the standard practice of candidates paying a fee to appear on the ballot.

“I have dedicated my life to making government more open and accountable to the needs of ordinary citizens, instead of wealthy special interests,” said Weeks, who recently stepped down as Executive Director of Open Democracy and the NH Rebellion. In these times of deep-seated political division, public service demands we shake hands with allies and adversaries alike and work to build trusting relationships across the aisle to get things done,” Weeks concluded. “I encourage my opponent to join me in visiting every District 5 town during this campaign and openly debating the important matters facing our district and state.”

Click Here to see more pictures from #HandshakeDan tour. 


For more information on Weeks’ campaign and the #HandshakeDan tour, visit www.danielweeks.com/handshakedan.  

New England Protesters Call Out Donald Trump’s Outsourcing Record and Divisive Rhetoric

Concord, N.H. — Donald Trump’s visit to New England concluded with a stop in Manchester yesterday. Protesters were on hand at every turn to stand against his divisive rhetoric and his businesses outsourcing jobs overseas, despite his claims of favoring American workers.

“Donald Trump’s claims of being for American jobs are utterly disingenuous,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “His companies employ low-wage workers in China, Bangladesh and Honduras, among others, because it means more money in his pockets. It is has been clear that throughout his career and his presidential campaign, he is only out for himself.”

Protesters also sounded the alarm on Trump’s racist and insulting rhetoric on Latinos and Muslims. At the Manchester event, Trump joked that a “Mexican plane” was flying overhead, “ready to attack,” and suggested that he was “looking into” banning TSA workers from wearing hijabs.

Highlights of the protests

New Hampshire



Eagle Tribune: Trump talks trade in NH visit

Trump and his trade remarks came under fire from the Clinton campaign and Democratic leaders, including New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley.

“New Hampshire, and the United States, deserve a president who will fight for workers and their families, not a fraud who will do anything to get ahead and cares only about himself,” Buckley said. “Donald Trump is unfit to serve as president of the United States, and voters across America will make that quite clear come November.“




Portland Press Herald: Trump takes aim at Clinton during raucous rally in Bangor

[Maine Attorney General Janet Mills] said Trump and his companies represent the outsourcing of jobs that has hurt manufacturing in Maine and other states. None of the products he touts or wears is made in the United States, she said.

“Donald Trump has nothing in common with the working men and women of Maine and no interest in helping them,” Mills said. “He has lined his pockets with cheap foreign labor at the expense of Maine workers and American workers. The ‘King of Debt,’ so-called, who says wages are too high, will be no help to the people of Maine.”



CBS-Boston: Donald Trump’s Private Boston Fundraiser Target of Protestors

A group of about 100 protesters that included Congressman Michael Capuano and Ayanna Pressley held signs and chanted across the street from the hotel in Post Office Square more than an hour before Trump’s arrival.

NECN: Protesters Gather Outside Trump’s Closed Fundraiser in Boston

“Donald Trump needs to know that his disastrous message on the economy and is bigoted hate speech is not welcome in Boston, it’s not welcome in Massachusetts and that’s what people here want to let him know,” said Dan Hoffer of the Service Employees International Union Local 888.

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano was among those protesting the real estate mogul outside the Langham.

“This is his welcome to Boston,” the Democrat said of Trump.

AFL-CIO Launches Online Ads Targeting Senators On A Variety Of Issues Including The TPP

Ads to Target Senate Candidates in Six States

To view ads click here: http://bit.ly/293dN2i

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Washington, DC) – Today the AFL-CIO launched the first round of ads in six key battleground states: Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Florida and Wisconsin. The ads are uniquely targeted to reach working people and draw attention to Senate candidates whose policies are against the interests of working families.

“Working people will be a force in this election,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “These ads are just one of the many tools we will use to speak to our members and the community about what’s at stake. Our job is to educate working families on the candidates who aspire to lead America. We will stand together with politicians who share our values and oppose those who do not.”

The ads will run initially on Facebook and drive traffic to specific petitions on issues that matter to working people, including restoring the Voting Rights Act, comprehensive immigration reform, infrastructure investment and opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Granite Staters Rejoice As Planned Parenthood Funding Is Restored.

Image courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Image courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Thousands of Granite Staters are rejoicing today as the New Hampshire Executive Council voted 3-2 to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.

Going into the vote, Councilors Colin Van Ostern and Chris Pappas were firmly supporting restoring the funding as they also voted against defunding Planned Parenthood last year. On the other side, Councilors David Wheeler and Joe Kenny were staunchly against it.

This left Councilor Chris Sununu to cast the truly deciding vote.

Ahead of the vote, more than 1,500 voters signed a petition urging the Executive Council to fund Planned Parenthood and a crowd of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund supporters watched as the vote took place.

To the surprise of many, Chris Sununu voted “yes” to approving the contract, restoring funding to Planned Parenthood.

Sununu said in a statement after the vote that he originally voted against funding of Planned Parenthood last year because they “under investigation.” He said that now that Planned Parenthood has been cleared of any wrongdoing, “they should be treated like any other organization that comes before the council.”

Image curtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Image curtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“Today’s vote is a victory for women in New Hampshire,” said Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “Restored funding to PPNNE will increase Granite Staters’ access to birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment. We are pleased that a bipartisan majority of the Council listened to their constituents and the majority of New Hampshire voters and chose to reverse course from last year’s vote. Blocking access to health care at Planned Parenthood threatened the wellbeing of Granite State citizens.”

“Finally, after nearly a year of New Hampshire women having less access to birth control, cancer screenings, and annual exams, today’s vote was a big win for the people of our state,” said Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern. “I’m proud of the thousands across New Hampshire who brought the grassroots pressure needed to flip this vote, and I promise to keep fighting — and to keep winning — for better access to health care for women and families every day.”

“Today’s vote was a victory for the thousands of women and men who receive care at Planned Parenthood health centers across the state,” said Executive Councilor Chris Pappas. “I’m hopeful we’ve put the divisive politics of the past behind us and will keep ideology out of the Council chamber on women’s health.”

“We must always promote health and economic security in our communities, and I will continue to speak up for the thousands Granite Staters who depend on basic access to life-saving health care,” added Pappas.

“Today’s vote is a critically important step forward for the health and economic well-being of thousands of Granite Staters,” said Governor Maggie Hassan.

“The fundamental right of women to access health care is essential to the economic security and vitality of our families, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides critical primary and preventive health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including cancer screenings, birth control and STD testing. This contract reflects our bipartisan agreement with the legislature to fund these critical family planning services through the budget this biennium, and I am pleased by today’s vote to support access to these critical health services for women and families across the state,” added Hassan.

Image courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Image courtesy of Planned Parenthood Action Fund

“It’s troubling that women’s access to reproductive health care is still the subject of ideological and political attacks, and we must not let up in our fight to ensure that women and families have access to the important health services that are essential to the economic security and vitality of our families,” Hassan concluded.

“This is an important victory for the women and families of New Hampshire,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “Despite threats and intimidation, Planned Parenthood of New England provides critical health care services to almost 13,000 women in the Granite State. Many of these women rely on the full range of health services offered at Planned Parenthood to get the care they need. Women in every part of our state deserve access to affordable reproductive health services and vital preventive care. After last year’s destructive vote to defund Planned Parenthood, I’m very relieved that the New Hampshire Executive Council has voted to right a wrong and prioritize women’s health.”

Some of the Democratic candidates for Executive Council used this opportunity to highlight the differences between themselves and their Executive Councilor opponents.

“Quality, affordable health care is the building block of a successful life and should never be subject to partisan politics,” said Dan Weeks, former Executive Director of Open Democracy and Democratic candidate for Executive Council in District 5. “I congratulate Republican Councilor Chris Sununu on joining Democratic Councilors Chris Pappas and Colin Van Ostern to return our state to its longstanding bipartisan tradition of investing in women’s health, even as my opponent Councilor Wheeler decided to again prioritize his personal ideology over the needs and wishes of his constituents. If I am elected Councilor in District 5, I will ensure that New Hampshire continues the vital tradition of supporting women’s health.”

“If our goal is protecting women’s health, reducing abortions and teenage pregnancies, and saving taxpayer money, this contract is a no-brainer,” Weeks said. “My opponent espouses a ‘pro-life’ and ‘fiscally-conservative’ position but his actions do not appear to bear it out, nor do they represent the wishes of his constituents. I urge Councilor Wheeler to stop playing politics with women’s health through his rejection of routine Planned Parenthood contracts and other gender-equity reforms.”

“Women shouldn’t have to beg those in power to place their needs before partisan political considerations,” said Beth Roth, candidate for Executive Council in District 3 seeking to succeed Chris Sununu. “Councilor Sununu made a reckless, foolish choice last year in voting down the Planned Parenthood contract. He made critical health care services inaccessible to thousands of women in New Hampshire.”

“Now that he’s felt political pressure from people in his district and around the state, he made the political calculation it is expedient to approve the contract. I applaud the fact he found it in his heart to reinstate these services, but NH women have the right to expect better from their Councilor. This kind of power politics has no place in a body such as the Executive Council, and underscores the reason I chose to seek the seat Councilor Sununu is vacating. We need people on the Executive Council who are serious about governance and understand what real New Hampshire women and families are going through,” Roth concluded.

Van Ostern Highlights That Texas Is Not The Only State Fending Off Attacks On Women’s Health

Dont Take Away My Breast Exams - Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Don’t Take Away My Breast Exams – Image by Charlotte Cooper FLIKR CC

Anti-Choice Legislators In New Hampshire Have Attempted To Pass Similar “Trap Laws” To Those Rejected By The Supreme Court Today 

Van Ostern Applauds U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Whole Woman’s Health, Says New Hampshire Shouldn’t Interfere With Family Planning

CONCORD, N.H. – Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States made a ruling in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that challenged a Texas law designed to restrict a woman’s right to choose.  Legislators in Texas attempted to pass restrictive legislation that would have forced many women’s health centers to close down.  

More commonly known as Trap Laws, this type of  legislation specifically targets clinic doctors and the clinics themselves. In Texas, they mandated that doctors in a clinic that provided abortion services have admitting privileges at a local hospital.  Hospital executives then refuse to give doctors admitting privileges thereby forcing the clinic to shut down.

Colin Van Ostern for Governor campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Colin Van Ostern for Governor campaign event in Concord, New Hampshire on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.
Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

Executive Councilor and Democratic candidate for Governor, Colin Van Ostern praised the Supreme Court’s ruling and spoke out against the attacks by Republicans in the NH Executive Council who are attempting to close women’s health centers in New Hampshire by defund Planned Parenthood. 

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court reminded us once again that a woman’s right to her own health care decisions should be left to her and her health care provider, without politicians getting in the way,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. “On Wednesday, New Hampshire’s Executive Council now has the chance to follow the Supreme Court’s lead by restoring state funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and annual exams that was shut off last summer by Chris Sununu and two other men despite its broad bipartisan support. It’s time to right this wrong and restore these funds.”

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Executive Council will consider whether to restore funding for essential and lifesaving health services for 13,000 families.

Van Ostern has pledged to vote to restore funding for these critical health services made available through Planned Parenthood and other providers. In 2015, he was recognized for his leadership on women’s health issues by NARAL Pro-Choice NH and was named the state’s “Champion for Choice.”

Most recently, Van Ostern and Councilor Chris Pappas sent a letter to the three Republican Councilors urging them to reconsider their opposition to women’s health services.

Mark Connolly, also a candidate for Governor, sent an open letter to Councilor Sununu urging him to support the upcoming Planned Parenthood contract.

While the vote in the Executive Council tomorrow is specifically about funding Planned Parenthood health centers, it is only one of the many attacks on women’s health and reproductive rights in New Hampshire.

In recent years, an extreme group of New Hampshire legislators have repeatedly introduced legislation that mirrors the unconstitutional provisions in the Texas law struck down today, including burdensome clinic regulations, waiting periods and admitting privilege requirements. There were sixteen (16) bills filed in the 2016 legislative session to restrict access to safe, legal abortion and other reproductive care. All of these bills faced bipartisan defeat in either the New Hampshire House or Senate.

Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of NH Planned Parenthood Action Fund, praised the Supreme Court decision while highlighting how legislators right here in New Hampshire are passing legislation similar to HB2 in Texas to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortions.

“Today is a great day for women’s health. The Supreme Court has made it clear that politicians cannot pass laws which block access to safe, legal abortion,” said Frizzell. “An extreme group of New Hampshire legislators has been attempting to punish women and doctors for receiving or providing essential medical care by introducing legislation we now know to be unconstitutional.”

“We will continue to fight restrictions on safe, legal abortion on behalf of our patients in New Hampshire,” Frizzell added.

A PerryUndem poll commissioned by Vox found that the majority of Americans oppose restrictions meant to shutter health centers or make it more difficult for women to access abortion, and that 70 percent of Americans don’t want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be hosting a “rally in pink” to urge Councilors to restore funding to Planned Parenthood prior to the Executive Council meeting on June 29th at 9am.
(More details on PPAF’s Facebook Event)

Also take a few seconds to sign the petition urging Executive Councilor to restore funding for Planned Parenthood health centers.


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