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Planned Parenthood Gears Up For New Legislative Fights In NH House

Planned Parenthood Gears Up to Protect Reproductive Health Care Access in First Legislative Fights of the 2017 Session

Bills to Ban some Abortions and Repeal the Buffer Zone Headed to the House Floor

Concord – Next House session, members will act on HB 578 and HB 589. These are the first pieces of legislation coming before House members this biennium which, if passed, would impact the landscape for accessing reproductive health in the Granite State.  Planned Parenthood opposes both measures. Earlier this week the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines (10-7) to support HB 578 and introduce new abortion restrictions into state law. In contrast, bipartisan support was achieved for a recommendation of Inexpedient to Legislation (10-7) on HB 589, the repeal of the buffer zone law. 

HB 578, both in its original form and as amended by the Judiciary Committee, restricts the right of New Hampshire women to make private medical decisions later in pregnancy and is part of a larger strategy by the bill’s proponents to chip away at abortion rights through multiple restrictions. It was opposed by leading medical organizations including the NH Medical Society and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The Committee amendment, titled the “Viable Fetus Protection Act” would introduce new limitations to abortion access in state law without protecting longstanding rights. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade held that the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of liberty protects a woman’s decision to have an abortion, limits government involvement with private medical decisions prior to fetal viability, and enables states to restrict post-viability abortions with exceptions to protect the health and life of the pregnant woman.  Support for Roe v. Wade and for access to safe, legal abortion is stronger in New Hampshire than any state in the nation. Planned Parenthood does support adopting language that would align New Hampshire law with the principles of Roe. Such an amendment was discussed at the Committee level and may be offered on the House floor.

“HB 578 is a clear attempt to begin unravelling the legal protections defined in Roe v. Wade and would ban some abortions later in pregnancy,” said Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “Planned Parenthood urges the House to defeat this restriction and uphold New Hampshire’s bipartisan tradition of protecting privacy rights and abortion access. ” 

HB 589 is a measure to repeal the Buffer Zone, which was signed into law with bipartisan support in 2014. This legislation allows for the establishment of zone of privacy and safety up to 25 feet, limiting the physical presence of protestors from the entrance to a reproductive health facility while at the same time balancing the first amendment rights of those individuals wishing to express their opinions on the public sidewalk adjacent to that facility.

“New Hampshire’s Buffer Zone law, enacted in 2014, was carefully tailored to strike a balance between public safety, free speech, and privacy rights. Planned Parenthood is committed to protecting the privacy and safety of our patients, while respecting first amendment rights. No woman should face intimidation, physical obstruction or fear of harm while seeking to access confidential medical care,” said Montgomery. 

Congresswomen Kuster And Shea-Porter Vote Against Cuts To Women’s Healthcare Access Through ‘Title X’ Funding

Yesterday, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) voted against a misguided Republican proposal to weaken the Title X national family planning program by rolling back a Title X rule designed to shield family planning clinics across the country from partisan state-level defunding efforts.

The Title X rule, which today the House voted to eliminate, prevents organizations from being barred from funding for reasons other than their ability to provide Title X services. The rule was implemented as a result of states, including the state of New Hampshire, eliminating or restricting Title X funding to providers based on the abortion or contraception services they provide. Federal funds are prohibited from being used for abortion except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

This week, Kuster join more than 160 of her colleagues in calling for an end to attacks on women’s health care.

“This is nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on the ability of low income women and their families to access comprehensive family planning services,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “We’ve seen firsthand here in New Hampshire that partisan politics can interfere with care for thousands of Granite State women, men, and their families. We should be working to expand access to comprehensive family planning services not jeopardizing care for the most vulnerable among us.”

“We should be working together on solutions to the serious challenges we face as a nation, but instead, it’s another day in Congress, another attack on women’s health,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “The protection House Republicans opposed today was developed specifically to defend New Hampshire women and families’ access to care from ideological attacks, and today’s vote makes it clear that such protection is needed now more than ever.” 

The rule House Republicans voted to roll back, clarifies that state governments must allocate federal Title X funds based on a provider’s ability to perform family planning services effectively, instead of for ideological reasons.

For more than 40 years, Title X has served as a cornerstone of safety-net care. As the only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning, Title X allows a diverse network of providers to deliver high-quality care to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured individuals and to those seeking confidential care. Title X also supports critical infrastructure needs for health centers, including new medical equipment and staff training that are not reimbursable under Medicaid and commercial insurance. This infrastructure is vital to ensuring safe, quality care at health centers which serve and provide basic health services to high-need populations.

In 2016, Title X funding helped nearly 4 million Americans get access to healthcare services including cancer screenings, birth control, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

The independent, nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences states that Title X family planning can prevent unintended and high-risk pregnancies, thereby reducing fetal, infant, and maternal mortality and morbidity. IOM also stated that the appropriate use of contraception reduces abortion rates and cites “ample evidence that family planning services are cost-effective.”

In 2014, Title X family planning services helped avert an estimated 171,800 unintended teen pregnancies. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that without Title X clinics’ services, the 2014 U.S. teen pregnancy rate would have been 30% higher.

The Obama administration developed the protection in response to several states’ ideologically motivated attacks on women’s access to care and attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, including the New Hampshire Executive Council’s 2011 cancellation of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s contract. That vote denied women in several regions of the state access to crucial preventive care, leaving them with zero providers for several months.

In 2015, more than 17,000 people in New Hampshire accessed family planning services through Title X programs. Of those receiving services, nearly half were individuals under the poverty level.

Trump Attempts To Ban Muslims, People And Leaders React, And The ACLU Hails Victory

With the stroke of his pen, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to ban refugees and citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. The order also prevents Iraqis who supported the U.S. mission and face threats as a result, from coming to the United States.

This order was the fulfillment of one of Trump’s most divisive campaign promises blocking all “Muslims” from entering the United States as Trump portrayed all Muslims as terrorists.  Many fear that this ban is only the first step in the Trump administration agenda against Muslims as he repeatedly called for a national registry of Muslim’s living in the US.

“This executive order is un-American and grossly inhumane,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “We are a nation of immigrants and should remain welcoming to all nations and faiths, particularly those who are fleeing violence and oppression. Refugees, from Syria in particular, are fleeing unspeakable terror and hunger, and it’s unconscionable that the United States will no longer provide any of these refugees a safe haven.

“This order also endangers our troops and diplomats. Discriminating based on religion and nationality severely undermines the local alliances and trust established by our troops and diplomats in the field. This order is so ill-considered that it is even barring Iraqi civilians who have provided essential assistance to the U.S. mission. We owe a tremendous debt to the brave Iraqis who have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans in the field, putting themselves and their families at risk to help our soldiers and diplomats accomplish their mission and return home safely. To abandon them now would be a stain on our national honor,” Shaheen concluded. 

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) also spoke out against Trump’s “religious test” saying it goes against “the fundamental values that makes America the greatest country on earth”.

“President Trump’s executive action imposing a religious test on entry into the United States runs counter to the fundamental values that make America the greatest country on earth. It will also make us less safe. We must always be working to strengthen the vetting process for all entryways into the United States, but discriminating against individuals on the basis of their religion will only harm our national security interests.” 

“It is also disgraceful that these executive actions would turn away the brave men and women who have risked their lives to serve as interpreters for our military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is both our moral obligation and a national security imperative to assist those who have helped us, and I will support efforts by Senators Shaheen and McCain to authorize visas for these interpreters,” Hassan added. 

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH01) also condemned Trump’s executive order.

“I condemn President Trump’s decision to reject fundamental American values. Our nation’s founders built this nation on dreams of a better, more tolerant society, and now we must stand together and defend and preserve those ideals. I call on President Trump to immediately reverse his actions, and I invite all Granite Staters to join me in letting our refugee and immigrant neighbors know that we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them as one community.”

Ray Buckley, Chair of the NH Democratic Party, and candidate for Chair of the Democratic National Committee, called Trump’s move, “un-American”.

“President Trump may have set a record today in receiving a stunning blowback to his latest executive order restricting travel from Muslim countries. As a candidate for Chair, a member of the Democratic Party, and a patriotic American I condemn this disgrace in the strongest possible terms. It is illegal, reprehensible, and the very definition of un-American. I call upon President Trump to rescind this order, and I call upon lawmakers of both parties to resist this atrocity and remind the President of just what it means to be an American.”

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, takes pride in the fact that Planned Parenthood offers “high-quality care to everyone regardless of faith, country of origin, immigrant or refugee status,” lashed out at President Trump decision.  

“President Trump’s executive order signed today effectively restricts the ability of immigrants and refugees to enter this country based on their country of origin and religious background. This is an appalling attack on refugees and Muslims, designed to sow fear. The Planned Parenthood community is made up of people from all walks of life — including immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds and faith communities, including Muslims.

“Refugees, who have left everything behind and are forced to negotiate their safety in unfamiliar countries and language, also face unique barriers to care. We’ve seen this firsthand through our health centers in the U.S. – many of which proudly serve refugee communities – as well as through Planned Parenthood Global’s community-based partners in Africa and Latin America, who help so many women and families overcome unimaginable barriers to health including poverty, conflict and violence. These policies single out and target those most in need of access to care, and will only make it more difficult for these communities to access the health care they need.

“At Planned Parenthood we believe that health has no borders: the ability to live and thrive without fear of deportation, surveillance, or having your family torn apart, and the ability to access health care, are basic human rights. Planned Parenthood health centers are proud to provide high-quality care to everyone regardless of faith, country of origin, immigrant or refugee status, or to those who may otherwise have nowhere else to turn for health care. We are committed to standing with immigrants and refugees, in the U.S. and in many of their countries of origin, through our global partnerships.  

“These policies hurt the most vulnerable in the world, people fleeing in terror for their lives, or people simply coming from a different faith, just when they need our help the most. The United States was founded on values of refuge and compassion, which is why we are prepared to stand alongside our partners to fight back against this hate and discrimination,” Richards concluded. 

Immediately after the order was signed, outraged Americans took to the streets in protests.  They packed into airports across the country as immigrants were detained and refused entrance into the US even though they had legal visa’s.

The same thing spontaneously happened in Houston, Texas.

By far the largest was in New York and JFK’s international terminal where thousands showed up to protest. Protesters were joined by the NY Taxi Cab Alliance, a union of taxi drivers, who refused to pick up anyone at the airport during the protest.

AND IT WORKED! Last night, a federal judge granted the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for a nationwide temporary injunction that will block the deportation of all people stranded in U.S. airports under President Trump’s new Muslim ban. The ACLU and other legal organizations filed a lawsuit on behalf of individuals who were subject to the ban.  The lead plaintiffs have been detained by the U.S. government and threatened with deportation even though they have valid visas to enter the United States.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project who argued the case, said:

“This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil.”

ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, had this reaction to the ruling:

“Clearly the judge understood the possibility for irreparable harm to hundreds of immigrants and lawful visitors to this country. Our courts today worked as they should as bulwarks against government abuse or unconstitutional policies and orders. On week one, Donald Trump suffered his first loss in court.”

(The stay order is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/darweesh-v-trump-order)

Planned Parenthood Supporters on the Seacoast Launch “I Stand with PP” Lawn Signs

Hundreds Publicly Show Their Support  for Women’s Health and the 12,000 Granite Staters who Rely on Planned Parenthood 

CONCORD, NH—This weekend, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund members hosted an ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’ lawn sign drop on the Seacoast. More than 200 Granite Staters placed signs outside their homes to publicly stand in solidarity with the state’s largest women’s health provider as it faces political attacks in Washington. Activists in other regions of the state have similar community based lawn sign campaigns underway in their areas.

“Planned Parenthood supporters want politicians in Concord, and in Washington, to understand that defunding Planned Parenthood by stripping access to preventive health care and birth control would have far reaching consequences”, said Kayla Montgomery, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “Supporters are embracing the “I Stand with Planned Parenthood” campaign in record numbers to make sure that sure that we don’t turn back the clock on reproductive health and rights.”

 “I am extremely proud to publicly support Planned Parenthood. It terrifies me to think we could go back to an era where low-income women and families had nowhere to turn for their care. Given how many NH residents rely on Planned Parenthood, it’s no wonder why the roads from here to the capital are lined with pink ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’ signs,” said Jess McGondel, a supporter from Portsmouth.  

The #IStandWithPlannedParenthood national grassroots campaign includes 300 events in 47 states across the country. Speaker Ryan recently pledged to defund Planned Parenthood health services – a measure that would leave thousands of Granite Staters without care. The measure would prohibit the health care provider from receiving reimbursement for services, like cancer screenings and birth control, provided to patients insured by federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare. In effect, this blocks patients from accessing reproductive health care. Federal insurance programs do not cover abortion.

Volunteers Meredith and Meghan deliver signs to a supporter in Exeter

On January 21st, PPNHAF will cohost a ‘NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity’ in Concord, NH. The ‘NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity’ will include a morning rally and afternoon advocate training. Hundreds of New Hampshire residents have RSVPed to attend and are eager to voice their support for women’s health, equity, and justice in an era of uncertainty for Planned Parenthood and abortion access.

PPNHAF also plans to host three open mic “story slams” in coffee shops in Manchester, Portsmouth and Keene where women, men, and families can share the important role Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care access has played in their lives. The events will take place on January 26th and 27th at Book & Bar in Portsmouth on Thursday January 26th from 7-9pm, Brewbakers in Keene on Friday January 27th from 6-8pm and Studio 550 in Manchester on Friday January 27th from 7-9pm.

In the past two months, hundreds of people have signed up to volunteer in New Hampshire, mobilizing supporters to fight back against this effort to restrict access to health care. The events coincide with the launch of a new website, istandwithpp.org, directing supporters to take action by sending letters to their members of Congress, volunteering for Planned Parenthood, sharing their story, finding an event, or calling their senator. Since Friday, 179,000 people signed a petition asking Congress to stand with Planned Parenthood against the attacks. 

The American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. Sixteen separate nationwide polls and nine polls in key swing states show strong favorability for Planned Parenthood and strong opposition to efforts in Congress to block patients from accessing high-quality, often lifesaving care at Planned Parenthood. Additionally, a recent Politico-Harvard poll showed overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood, including from nearly half of self-identified Trump supporters. 


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.

Planned Parenthood Of NH Pushes Back On Washington’s Attack On Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund Launches #IStandwithPP Statewide Grassroots Campaign to Protect Women’s Health in Granite State

Activists Gird for Negative Impact on 12,000 Granite Staters, State’s Five Planned Parenthood Health Centers If Extreme Politicians in Washington Act to Restrict Women’s Health 

From Planned Parenthoot FLIKR

CONCORD, NH— Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund has joined the #IStandWithPlannedParenthood national grassroots campaign that includes 300 events in 47 states across the country.  Just last week, Speaker Ryan’s pledged to defund Planned Parenthood health services – a measure that would leave thousands of Granite Staters without care. The measure would prohibit the health care provider from receiving reimbursement for services, like cancer screenings and birth control, provided to patients insured by federal programs like Medicaid and Medicare. In effect, this blocks patients from accessing reproductive health care. Federal insurance programs do not cover abortion.

As a part of these efforts, Senators Shaheen and Hassan made their first joint New Hampshire appearance on Monday morning at a Planned Parenthood health center in Exeter, where they spoke with local patients and volunteers signaling their unwavering efforts to protect health care access for the 12,000 Granite Staters who rely on Planned Parenthood health centers for their care, and the 2.5 million women, men, and  young people across the country.

“Planned Parenthood’s patients are anxious about how they will get affordable reproductive and sexual health care if extreme politicians in Washington block access to birth control and preventive care at our health centers,” said Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “New Hampshire has among the lowest teen pregnancy and STI rates in the country and taking away access to birth control, cancer screenings, and reproductive health care will have dangerous consequences for the health of our citizens and for the well-being of our communities. We are grateful that our federal delegation knows how essential the services Planned Parenthood provides is and will fight to ensure women’s health care access is protected.” 

“The fundamental right of women to access health care is integral to the economic security and vitality of our families and communities, and Planned Parenthood provides critical primary and preventative health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including preventative care, birth control and cancer screenings,” Senator Hassan said. “It is outrageous that Speaker Ryan and Republicans in Washington would try to take away access to basic health services for women in New Hampshire and across the country, and I will continue fighting against any proposals that defund Planned Parenthood and undermine Granite Staters’ access to quality, affordable health care at providers they trust.” 

“Thousands of women in the Granite State rely on Planned Parenthood for vital preventative and primary health care services like breast cancer exams, diabetes screenings, and birth control services,” Senator Shaheen said. “Defunding Planned Parenthood would leave these women without access to critical preemptive care that they need in order to live healthy lives, care for their families, and lead in the workforce. This effort is another politically-motivated attack on women in New Hampshire and across the country, and I will not stand for it. Republican leadership in Congress does not have a mandate to take away women’s healthcare.” 

Image by Sarah Mirk (FLIKR CC)

 

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund has many grassroots events planned in January to highlight the support for Planned Parenthood in the state and nationally.

Later this week, PPNHAF will kick off an ‘I Stand With Planned Parenthood’ statewide lawn sign drop. As of today, more than 200 Granite Staters have signed up to stand in solidarity with the state’s largest women’s health provider by placing a sign outside their homes. All weekend PPNHAF will be dropping signs off to supporters around the Seacoast area. 

On January 21st, PPNHAF will cohost a ‘NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity’ in Concord, NH. The ‘NH Women’s Day of Action & Unity’ will include a morning rally and afternoon advocate trainings. Hundreds of New Hampshire residents have RSVP’d to attend and are eager to voice their support for women’s health, equity, and justice in an era of uncertainty for Planned Parenthood and abortion access.

PPNHAF also plans to host three open mic “story slams” in coffee shops in Manchester, Portsmouth and Keene where women, men, and families can share the important role Planned Parenthood and reproductive health care access has played in their lives. The events will take place on January 26th and 27th at Book & Bar in Portsmouth on Thursday January 26th from 7-9pm, Brewbakers in Keene on Friday January 27th from 6-8pm and Studio 550 in Manchester on Friday January 27th from 7-9pm.

In the past two months, hundreds of people have signed up to volunteer in New Hampshire, mobilizing supporters to fight back against this effort to restrict access to health care. The events coincide with the launch of a new website, istandwithpp.org, directing supporters to take action by sending letters to their members of Congress, volunteering for Planned Parenthood, sharing their story, finding an event, or calling their senator. Since yesterday, 168,000 people signed a petition asking Congress to stand with Planned Parenthood against the attacks. 

The American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood. Sixteen separate nationwide polls and nine polls in key swing states show strong favorability for Planned

Parenthood and strong opposition to efforts in Congress to block patients from accessing high-quality, often lifesaving care at Planned Parenthood. Additionally, a recent Politico-Harvard poll showed overwhelming support for Planned Parenthood, including from nearly half of self-identified Trump supporters.

Senators Hassan And Shaheen Stand Opposed To Attacks On Planned Parenthood In Washington DC

WASHINGTON — Today, Senator Hassan joined SenatorsShaheen (D-NH), Murray (D-WA),  Gillibrand (D-NY), Booker (D-NJ), Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Harris (D-CA) to voice her strong opposition to Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. Calling Speaker Ryan’s announced plan to try to defund Planned Parenthood through the budget reconciliation process an “outrage,” Senator Hassan discussed the story of a constituent from Rollinsford, New Hampshire who was able to seek medical care from Planned Parenthood when her father passed away and she lost her health insurance. 

“Let me make one point very clear: Republicans in Congress do not have a mandate to defund Planned Parenthood,” said Senator Shaheen. “The American people want to see their elected leaders working together to expand healthcare opportunities, not undermining vital healthcare coverage that women in New Hampshire and across the country depend on. Defunding Planned Parenthood would leave thousands of women and families in New Hampshire without access to vital preventative care services that they need in order to live healthy lives, care for their families, and lead in the workforce. This is a dangerous, politically-motivated attack on women and I will not stand for it.”

Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire serves nearly 13,000 patients and ninety-four percent of services provided at NH Planned Parenthood health centers are prevention related, including services such as breast exams, cancer screenings, birth control services, and tetanus shots.

“I just want to echo what my colleague from New Hampshire said. I join with the women in the Senate. I join with constituents across New Hampshire and with women across our country and with men who support women across our country as well in being absolutely outraged,” said Senator Hassan.

“There was no mandate in this election to take away basic healthcare from 51% of the population. Women in my state depend on Planned Parenthood for all the healthcare services that you just heard described: preventive care, cancer screenings. They provide – they depend on it for emergency services too, like a constituent of mine in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, who was on her father’s health insurance – a young woman – her father unexpectedly died.”

She lost her health insurance that day along with her father. And then she had an emergency health event. She turned to Planned Parenthood for that health care.” 

“Now the Republicans in the House tell us they want to take that option away from constituents like my constituent in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. They want to take healthcare away from women. They want to take away our opportunity to control our own destinies, to make our own decisions about whether and when to have a family for instance, how to participate in the economy. It’s also part of their strategy to make healthcare more expensive for women in repealing the ACA.” 

“So, this is an outrage. It’s long past time that we stop trying to relegate – that Republicans stop trying to relegate – women to second class status in the United States of America. We are full participants in the economy. We are full participants in our society and our democracy. We deserve to be treated the same,” Hassan concluded.

Ayotte Backs Away From Trump But Critics Still Blast Her For Ever Supporting Him

It is official. After a whirlwind day of statements and calls for Ayotte to disavow Donald Trump following his lewd offensive comments about women were released by the Washington Post, Ayotte has finally said she will not vote for Donald Trump.

However Ayotte’s delay in removing her “support” for Donald Trump drew a lot of criticism.

Governor Maggie Hassan, the Democratic candidate for US Senate was the first to criticize Ayotte’s backtracking on Trump.

“Kelly Ayotte today simply reinforced that everything she does is based on cold, political calculations about what is in her personal best interest. After spending 24 hours running the political math, Ayotte has made a decision that is a transparent, craven attempt at political self-preservation.  For months, Kelly Ayotte stood by Trump as he demeaned women, minorities, people with disabilities, Gold Star families, and was deemed a danger to our national security, even going so far as saying he should ‘absolutely’ be a role model for children. What Kelly Ayotte doesn’t seem to understand is the chance to show courage has long past, and her hollow words today reveal as much about her own character as they do Donald Trump’s. Her words are far too little and far too late.” 

Maggie for NH also released a new version of their wildly popular “absolutely” video.

This new ad will be part of Maggie for NH’s efforts to continue to hold Ayotte accountable for her craven political calculation to stand by Donald Trump for months, including her statement on Monday that Trump should “absolutely” be a role model for children.

“Try as she might, Kelly Ayotte cannot run from the fact that she stood by Donald Trump’s anti-woman and dangerous campaign for months, even saying less than a week ago that Trump should ‘absolutely’ be a role model for children,” said Maggie for NH Press Secretary Meira Bernstein. “Ayotte long ago missed her opportunity to show courage, and Granite Staters will not be fooled by her craven political calculation to try to save her Senate seat.” 

“Kelly Ayotte’s statement today is a cowardly calculation and desperate attempt to save her own skin after she determined supporting Trump would no longer be politically survivable,” said NHDP Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Speaking out against Trump only now and only after intense political pressure tacitly approves of all of the vile and disgusting things he has said and done before yesterday. Mocking a reporter with a disability, fat shaming women and attacking a Gold Star mother were not disqualifying to Kelly Ayotte. The only disqualification she recognizes is Trump’s damage to her own electoral odds.”

“Kelly Ayotte’s cowardly pivot today is too little too late. New Hampshire voters have seen her for the callous and calculating politician she is and will reject her for it in one month,” added Miller.

Throughout the election, Ayotte has faced harsh criticism for her votes on women’s health issues and Planned Parenthood.

“By throwing her support to Mike Pence, Ayotte is doubling down on the same extreme anti-women agenda that voters despise about Trump,” continued Miller. “Not only did Ayotte and Pence work together in Congress on a bill to allow hospitals to deny lifesaving medical care to women and efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, but Pence has actually said that working mothers emotionally stunt their children and as Governor of Indiana has signed some of the most anti-choice and anti-women’s health legislation in the country into law.” 

“Kelly Ayotte may be in full panic mode, but trading a candidate who boasts about attacks on women for someone who legislates them is cowardice, not courage,” said Dawn Laguens, head of Planned Parenthood Votes.  “Ayotte supported Trump as he made numerous offensive statements, and as he advocated legislation that would strip away women’s health and rights. Now she’s saying she’ll support Mike Pence, who has made a career out of attacking women’s health and rights. Kelly Ayotte can’t fool us, and she can’t fool voters: They both have spent their careers blocking access to women’s health care. This move is too little, too late.”

“Women in New Hampshire should not be fooled by Kelly Ayotte’s last-ditch effort to distance herself from Donald Trump,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock. “She spent months standing by Donald Trump as he body shamed women, called them ‘fat pigs’ and ‘dogs,’ said that Mexicans were ‘criminals’ and ‘rapists,’ and said there should be ‘some form of punishment’ for women who have abortions. She even went so far as to say that Trump ‘absolutely’ is a role model.”  

“Kelly Ayotte knows that New Hampshire women won’t stand by a candidate who demeans women every chance he gets, and they won’t stand by a senator who agrees with Trump that Planned Parenthood should be defunded and wants to overturn Roe v. Wade. This move by Ayotte is completely political, and a blatant attempt to salvage her reelection bid in November,” added Schriock. 

“Republican leaders have nowhere to hide and nobody but themselves to blame for the situation they are in,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue. “Their flailing attempts to save their own political careers is the natural conclusion of a party that has spent decades telling women that it knew what was best for our bodies and our families. Be it Donald Trump, Mike Pence, or whichever anti-choice leader they end up favoring, they will still be pushing the same misogynistic agenda under different packaging.”

“After enabling Trump’s rise and pushing the same misogynistic agenda, the crass attempt by Sen. Ayotte, Congressman Heck, and other GOP leaders to save their own political careers with last-ditch denunciations is too little, too late. Standing up to a bully only when it suits your political interests isn’t courageous, it’s cowardly, and voters will hold them accountable,” added Hogue. 

National grassroots activism organization, MoveOn.Org also launched a new online ad targeting conservative Christian women in New Hampshire, urging them to vote for Clinton and Hassan.

“After more than a year of his unacceptable and indefensible remarks and behavior, Kelly Ayotte and other Republicans leaders continued to set aside their morals and stand beside Trump, enabling his campaign of bigotry, hatred, and sexism,” said Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action. “Enough is enough. Ayotte and the Republican Party have paved the way, and cheered along, as Trump relentlessly attacked women, veterans, Gold Star families, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, and other communities. Anything that Ayotte and other Republican leaders who backed Trump say now is too little, too late. Americans will reject Trump, and those who’ve stood with him, on November 8.”

 

Ayotte should have never connected herself with Donald Trump in any way. She should have rejected him from the beginning.  They always say, “hindsight is 20/20.”

Senator Ayotte’s War On Women’s Health And Reproductive Rights

Senator Kelly Ayotte claims to be standing up for Granite State women but her votes on the “Blunt Amendment”, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood tell a very different tale.

Over the last five years in Washington, Sen. Ayotte voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides critical health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women, including preventative care, birth control and cancer screenings.

She even submitted her own “women’s health” bill that women’s health experts called a “sham and an insult to women.” The bill would hurt women by making birth control more expensive–up to $600 more in out of pocket costs each year.

Increasing the cost of birth control does nothing to help women. When women are forced to pay more money out of pocket for their prescriptions, women lose while pharmaceutical companies line their pockets with their hard earned money.

So it comes as no surprise that Senator Ayotte has collected more than $200,000 dollars in campaign contributions from Big Pharma.

She also voted against allowing Americans to access safe and less expensive prescription drugs from Canada. She also blocked a measure that would help get more affordable generic drugs to market sooner.

“Kelly Ayotte has put her big pharma campaign backers ahead of the health of the people of New Hampshire,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “We deserve a Senator who will put New Hampshire first, stand up to predatory pharmaceutical companies, and help increase access to affordable medications and health care overall.”

In addition to voting to defund Planned Parenthood six times, Ayotte has also voted to cut all funding to the Title X Family Planning Program, which helps fund 4,200 Family Planning Centers that provide access to breast and cervical cancer screenings and other preventive health care to many low-income women.

And Ayotte opposes a woman’s right to choose. She said, “I certainly believe that Roe [v. Wade] should be overturned,” and cosponsored a plan which would have allowed employers to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.

Some have speculated that Ayotte’s failure to do her job and confirm a new Supreme Court Justice is because she is waiting for Donald Trump to nominate a justice who will overturn Roe v Wade.

Kelly Tries To Deceive Voters About Her Support Of Women’s Health On The Campaign Trail

Kelly Ayotte’s campaign continues to perpetuate the myth that she supports women’s health care. When confronted about her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood, Kelly Ayotte has the same pivot –– that she’d redirect money to community health centers. But there are a few major problems with her canned response.

First, Ayotte has repeatedly voted against federal funds to support community health centers. She repeatedly voted against the Affordable Care Act that provided $11B over five years to support Community Health Centers across the nation.

Second, Planned Parenthood health centers serve an outsized role in meeting the family planning needs for those who rely on federally-funded health programs.

A recent report found that in the 491 counties served by a Planned Parenthood clinic, “Planned Parenthood serves at least half of all American women who receive birth control from safety-net clinics. In one-fifth of these counties, a Planned Parenthood site is the only family planning center for clients who rely on subsidized help.”

The report also found that, “Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of publicly supported safety-net family planning centers, they serve 36% of clients who obtain publicly supported contraceptive services from such centers.”

“Kelly Ayotte has spent six years voting to restrict access to women’s health care. Now that she’s up for reelection, she’s trying to moderate. The fact is that Ayotte’s votes against Title X funding and the ACA, have not only jeopardized care at Planned Parenthood health centers, they also aimed to restrict access to care for women and low-income families at the very Community Health Centers she claims to support. Granite Staters can see right through Kelly Ayotte’s election year politics,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager for Planned Parenthood NH Action Fund.

This week, Maggie for NH released a new ad, “Six Times,” highlighting the six times Ayotte has voted against Granite State women by voting against Planned Parenthood.

“Kelly Ayotte has a long record of standing with her political party at the expense of Granite State families, and her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and jeopardize access to critical health services including cancer screenings and birth control are yet another example,” said Maggie for NH Press Secretary Meira Bernstein. “Maggie Hassan believes that it’s unacceptable that politicians in Washington are still playing politics with women’s health care, and in the Senate, she will fight to protect a woman’s right to make her own health decisions and to safely and affordably access health care.”

The Trump/Ayotte Ticket

Now Ayotte may not be endorsing Donald Trump for President, though she says she will vote for him, they are walking hand-in-hand attacking women’s health and reproductive rights.

At a campaign event in New Hampshire on Thursday, Trump announced his support for Ayotte’s “sham” contraceptive bill that would force women to pay up to $600 more for their birth control prescriptions.

“Donald Trump’s support for (or is it an endorsement of?) Kelly Ayotte’s plan to make birth control more expensive makes it crystal clear that when it comes to undermining women’s healthcare Ayotte and Trump are in perfect agreement,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “New Hampshire women and people of all genders who care about access to affordable healthcare will reject this toxic ticket in the fall and send both Trump and Ayotte packing.”


More facts on Senator Ayotte’s war on women:

FACT: Ayotte has voted repeatedly to repeal the requirement that health insurance cover birth control without a copay.

FACT: At the urging of the Koch Brothers’ political arm, Kelly Ayotte voted to slash $1.3 billion from community health centers nationwide. This same bill would have also eliminated 750 community health center jobs in just New Hampshire.

FACT: The bill Ayotte touts regarding mammograms is dependent on the preventative care protections in the Affordable Care Act which Ayotte has voted five times to repeal. If Kelly Ayotte gets her way, 285,949 New Hampshire women will lose the guarantee that their insurance will cover preventative services like mammograms with no out of pocket costs.

FACT: Ayotte co-sponsored and voted for a measure that would have given employers the right to refuse insurance coverage for their employees of any medical treatments or services they disagree with–including birth control. This bill was opposed by the American Cancer Society because it would allow bosses to deny their employees coverage for important preventive health services.

FACT: On at least three different occasions, Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness legislation to ensure that women are paid equally for equal work.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, women make 76 cents for every dollar earned by men in New Hampshire. The numbers are worse for minority women: African American women earn 65 cents and Latinas 70 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men.

“Ayotte voted against Paycheck Fairness a whole bunch of times. And then, just for kitten-heel kicks, she and some of her fellow lady Republicans introduced their own adorable “Equal Pay” bill, which wouldn’t actually strengthen equal pay laws so much as weaken them by creating extra loopholes for employers. It’s like the same thing, only different,” wrote Kaili Joy Gray for Wonkette.

Chris Sununu Is Back To Attacking Planned Parenthood, Supporting A New Investigation

The newly crowned Republican Gubernatorial nominee, Chris Sununu is trying to play both sides of the ‘women’s health’ debate.

Chris Sununu nervously drinking water moments after voting to restore funding to Planned Parenthood.  Image by IsaacEpsteinPhotography

Chris Sununu nervously drinking water moments after voting to restore funding to Planned Parenthood. Image by IsaacEpsteinPhotography

In 2015, he voted to defund Planned Parenthood over false accusations and a misleading, completely debunked video about Planned Parenthood selling “baby parts.”  The video sparked outrage among the hard right, anti-abortion crowd.  Many called for an investigation into Planned Parenthood in an attempt to somehow prove these false conspiracy theories in a giant waste of taxpayer money.

After Sununu decided to make a run for Governor he quickly realized that a hard right anti-women’s health position would be bad for his campaign, he suddenly had a change in heart.  When the funding for Planned Parenthood came up in the Executive Council again, Sununu voted to restore the funding he cut before.

During the Republican primary, State Rep Frank Edelblut and others used Sununu’s vote on Planned Parenthood as a way to attack him and show he is a flip-flopper on this issue.

So what does Sununu do? He pulls his campaign hard to the right.

In the past 6 weeks, Chris Sununu has on multiple occasions expressed support for launching a new investigation into Planned Parenthood—even while acknowledging the videos from last year’s controversy have been debunked and discredited.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

In an interview with the Union Leader, Sununu was asked, “Do you still think there should be an investigation into Planned Parenthood of Northern New England?” 

He replied, “I think that’s something that we could look at…I wouldn’t be opposed to that. I think we could look at that…And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. And if we want to go down that path, that’s surely something that we should definitely look at.”

And during the NH1 gubernatorial debate, Sununu said, “If someone wants to call for an investigation in terms of what Planned Parenthood of Northern New England—that’s the local group that we work with here—if someone wants to call for that, we can look at that, to be sure!”

Nearly 13,000 New Hampshire women rely on Planned Parenthood for health care. In fact, Chris Sununu said it best when he told NHPR—on the same day he voted to defund the women’s health organization—that “in his Seacoast district…Planned Parenthood is the only facility that offers care like low-cost birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings.”

“When will Chris Sununu’s war on women end?” asked NHDP Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “First he defunded the women’s health care organization, and now he wants to investigate it based on a debunked conspiracy. It’s sadly just the latest example of Sununu putting his far-right political ideology ahead of the well-being and interests of New Hampshire families.”

NH1 Senate Debate Roundup: Ayotte, Rubens Spar Over Who is More Anti-Women’s Health

Radical GOP Candidates Support Trump, Defunding Planned Parenthood, Banning Abortion 

CONCORD—Wednesday, Kelly Ayotte and Jim Rubens went head to head in the NH1 primary debate to prove once and for all that they are completely out of step with Granite Staters, who overwhelmingly support access to safe and legal abortion and funding for Planned Parenthood. 

Kelly Ayotte and Jim Rubens leaned hard into their support for Donald Trump, who has said women need a “punishment” for abortion, and their shared desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood. Kelly Ayotte even tried to one-up Ruben’s radical views on women’s health by enthusiastically citing her endorsement from the national Right to Life PAC.

When asked how she would fix the Affordable Care Act, Kelly Ayotte said she is for “patient choice” but neglected to mention that the ACA actually expanded consumer choices in NH (the exchange has grown from one carrier to five since 2015) and the law has provided nearly 100,000 Granite Staters with access to health care coverage. 

“If Kelly Ayotte truly believed in patient choice she wouldn’t have spent her career putting barriers between the women and low-income families who depend on health care access through Planned Parenthood,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager at Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “Kelly Ayotte is out of step with New Hampshire’s values and our state’s long tradition of empowering women to live healthy, independent, and productive lives.” 

According to the 2015 American Values Atlas, 73 percent of Granite Staters support access to abortion—the highest rate of support in the nation. Sixty six percent of New Hampshire residents believe Planned Parenthood should be fully funded.

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