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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.

THIS WEEKEND: John Kasich Returns to Granite State to Bolster Anti-Women’s Health Candidates

Chris Sununu, Kelly Ayotte to Receive Support from Governor
Who Made Life a
“Living Hell” for Women in Ohio

Governor John Kasich Caricature  (Image by DonkeyHotey)

Governor John Kasich Caricature
(Image by DonkeyHotey)

CONCORD—This weekend, defeated Republican Presidential candidate and Ohio Governor, John Kasich is coming back to New Hampshire to throw his support behind fellow anti-women’s health candidates, Chris Sununu and Kelly Ayotte.

“What do John Kasich, Chris Sununu, and Kelly Ayotte have in common? All three have used their power to defund Planned Parenthood and obstruct access to health care for thousands of women,” said Victoria Bonney, Communications Manager of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “Support for defunding Planned Parenthood may be a shared crusade for John Kasich, Kelly Ayotte, and Chris Sununu, but it’s a losing issue with New Hampshire voters who overwhelmingly believe low-income women and families should have access to lifesaving preventive and reproductive health care.”

As Governor of Ohio, John Kasich has put restrictions on women’s health care that are some of the harshest in the country. His war on women’s health has a long list of offenses. Like Chris Sununu and Kelly Ayotte who have both voted to defund Planned Parenthood, John Kasich is no moderate. Since taking office, he has: 

  • Enacted 18 measures to restrict access to reproductive health care and nearly half of the abortion providers in the state have shuttered.
  • Prohibited rape crisis counselors from telling women that they had the option to access abortion services.
  • Prohibited almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, mandate ultrasounds before a woman can get an abortion, and require medically unnecessary and burdensome requirements that have shut down health centers.
  • Signed legislation which defunded Planned Parenthood and slashed Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies  a Planned Parenthood program that specifically helped prevent infant mortality — the largest infant mortality prevention program in the state, having served hundreds of  new or expectant mothers in the last year alone. This in spite of the fact that the State of Ohio has the sixth highest infant mortality rate for African Americans in the country and has been ranked the sixth worst state in the country to raise an African-American child.
  • Placed the blame for high rates of infant mortality on black women, saying “the [minority] community itself is going to have to have a better partnership with all of us to begin to solve that
    problem with infant mortality in the minority community, because we’re making gains in the majority community.”
  • Targeted funding for programs for domestic violence prevention, HIV testing, and breast cancer screenings, simply because they were administered through Planned Parenthood health centers.
  • Defunded health care services at Planned Parenthood jeopardizing access to care for  thousands of Ohio patients. 80,000 Ohioans come to Planned Parenthood annually for birth control, cancer screenings, STI testing, and other preventive reproductive health care and Kasich’s policies put them at risk. 

And it wasn’t just policy. John Kasich was insulting to women on the campaign trail too:

  • John Kasich insulted women across America by thanking them for leaving “their kitchens” to help knock on doors for his campaign.
  • Earlier on his Presidential campaign, Kasich had a blatantly offensive exchange with a young University of Richmond student who was exercising her civic duty by asking Kasich a question about his policies.  When calling on her, Kasich said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any tickets for Taylor Swift or anything.” 
  • At another campaign stop in Iowa, Mic reported that, while discussing the fiscal responsibilities of elected officials, Kasich singled out a woman in the audience and asked her, “Have you ever been on a diet?”
  • When asked what he would do as president to protect women from domestic violence, John Kasich advised that women should not “go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.”

With statements like these it is no wonder women were drawn to his Presidential campaign.  

Mark Connolly Garners Support From NH Choice Leaders And Women Health Advocates

Yesterday, four prominent New Hampshire pro-choice leaders and women’s reproductive advocates expressed their backing of Mark Connolly, citing his lifelong support of Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire and the issues it faces, as well as his comprehensive advocacy for women’s success in the Granite State.

Participants included Mary Rauh, Board Member of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England; New Hampshire Democratic Party First Vice Chair and State Senator Martha Fuller Clark; former State Senator Katie Wheeler; and former Planned Parenthood Board Member Rachel Connell.

“The choice in this election should be about who would be the most effective Governor, and that’s Mark Connolly,” Rauh said. “He has the background and the experience, both in government and in business, to get the job done, especially for women. Look at his record—he’s as pro-choice as they come! I’m deeply proud to endorse him.”

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Mark is the most qualified, experienced, and mature candidate in this race, across the board” said Fuller Clark. “He’s always stood up for what’s right in New Hampshire, and his integrity is a quality people should take into account—alongside his four decades of being vocally pro-choice.”

“Mark stands for our values and is immediately qualified to be Governor,” said Wheeler. “He supports broader access to high-quality, safe, and affordable healthcare of every kind, for every Granite Stater, and he’s the best gubernatorial candidate for anyone who cares about these issues as much as we do.”

“Our state has seen a ridiculous back-and-forth on reproductive health issues for a number of years now, and it’s really impacted the health of women in our state,” said Connell. “It’s left providers struggling and patients confused about where to get what care. Mark sees that—he knows we can do better, and he expects us to do better. And he looks at these issues as part of a full package for women’s equality, along with minimum wage, paid family leave, and more. Because of that, I’m proud to support him.”

Granite State Rumblings: Girls Can Truly Be Anything

Hillary Clinton speaking on July 29, 2016 - Harrisburg, PA. Photo by Adam Schultz for Hillary for America.

Hillary Clinton speaking on July 29, 2016 – Harrisburg, PA.
Photo by Adam Schultz for Hillary for America.

When I was in 2nd grade I told my grandmother that when I grew up I wanted to be the President of the United States. I had recently come back from my first trip to Washington, DC and I couldn’t believe that the President got to live in such a wonderful big white house. I wanted to live there and invite all my friends to live there too, because there certainly would be plenty of room and fun things to do. As you can see, politics had not yet woven its web into my soul.

My grandmother’s response to me was, “Oh sweetie pie that’s not going to happen because only men can be the President of the United States. But maybe you can marry someone nice and help him get elected to become the President.”

Those words did not sit well with me, and my daughters grew up hearing this story and me telling them: “You can be anything you want to be in life on your own and not by having to marry someone to get there.”  (But not really). Because becoming President was still not part of the equation.

On Thursday night, women in the United States moved one step closer to eliminating that last nagging falsehood to my claim. Perhaps this November we will finally see a woman go on to become the President of the United States of America. And then, should my children have daughters they will grow up never knowing a time when this was only a dream of their grandmother’s.

Much the same as you and I never knew a time when women were not allowed to vote. But it was not too long ago that our grandmothers and great-grandmothers did not have such rights.

August 18th will mark the 96th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.

Here’s some of the background of that historic event from History.com:

Ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote—a right known as woman suffrage. At the time the U.S. was founded, its female citizens did not share all of the same rights as men, including the right to vote. It was not until 1848 that the movement for women’s rights launched on a national level with a convention in Seneca Falls, New York, organized by abolitionists Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and Lucretia Mott (1793-1880). Following the convention, the demand for the vote became a centerpiece of the women’s rights movement. Stanton and Mott, along with Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and other activists, formed organizations that raised public awareness and lobbied the government to grant voting rights to women. After a 70-year battle, these groups finally emerged victorious with the passage of the 19th Amendment.

During America’s early history as a nation, women were denied some of the key rights enjoyed by male citizens. For example, married women couldn’t own property and had no legal claim to any money they might earn, and no female had the right to vote. Women were expected to focus on housework and motherhood, not politics.

The campaign for woman suffrage did not begin in earnest in the decades before the Civil War. During the 1820s and 1830s, various reform groups proliferated across the U.S.—temperance clubs, religious movements and moral-reform societies, anti-slavery organizations—and in a number of these, women played a prominent role. Meanwhile, many American women were beginning to chafe against what historians have called the “Cult of True Womanhood”; that is, the idea that the only “true” woman was a pious, submissive wife and mother concerned exclusively with home and family. Put together, these factors contributed to a new way of thinking about what it meant to be a woman and a citizen in the United States.

It was not until 1848 that the movement for women’s rights began to organize at the national level. In July of that year, reformers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York (where Stanton lived). More than 300 people—mostly women, but also some men—attended, including former African-American slave and activist Frederick Douglass (1818-95). In addition to their belief that women should be afforded better opportunities for education and employment, most of the Seneca Falls delegates agreed that American women were autonomous individuals who deserved their own political identities. A group of delegates led by Stanton produced a “Declaration of Sentiments” document, modeled after the Declaration of Independence, which stated: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” What this meant, among other things, was that the delegates believed women should have the right to vote.

Following the convention, the idea of voting rights for women was mocked in the press and some delegates withdrew their support for the Declaration of Sentiments. However, Stanton and Mott persisted–they went on to spearhead additional women’s rights conferences and they were eventually joined in their advocacy work by Susan B. Anthony and other activists.

With the onset of the American Civil War (1861-65), the suffrage movement lost some momentum, as many women turned their attention to assisting in efforts related to the conflict between the states. After the war, woman suffrage endured another setback, when the women’s rights movement found itself divided over the issue of voting rights for black men. Stanton and some other suffrage leaders objected to the proposed 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would give black men the right to vote, but failed to extend the same privilege to American women of any skin color.

In 1869, Stanton and Anthony formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) with their eyes on a federal constitutional amendment that would grant women the right to vote. That same year, abolitionists Lucy Stone (1818-93) and Henry Blackwell (1825-1909) founded the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA); the group’s leaders supported the 15th Amendment and feared it would not pass if it included voting rights for women. (The 15th Amendment was ratified in 1870.) The AWSA believed women’s enfranchisement could best be gained through amendments to individual state constitutions. Despite the divisions between the two organizations, there was a victory for voting rights in 1869 when the Wyoming Territory granted all female residents age 21 and older the right to vote. (When Wyoming was admitted to the Union in 1890, woman suffrage remained part of the state constitution.)

By 1878, the NWSA and the collective suffrage movement had gathered enough influence to lobby the U.S. Congress for a constitutional amendment. Congress responded by forming committees in the House and Senate to study and debate the issue. However, when the proposal finally reached the Senate floor in 1886, it was defeated.

In 1890, the NWSA and the AWSA merged to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). The new organization’s strategy was to lobby for women’s voting rights on a state-by-state basis. Within six years, Colorado, Utah and Idaho adopted amendments to their state constitutions granting women the right to vote. In 1900, with Stanton and Anthony advancing in age, Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) stepped up to lead the NASWA.

The turn of the 20th century brought momentum to the woman suffrage cause. Although the deaths of Stanton in 1902 and Anthony in 1906 appeared to be setbacks, the NASWA under the leadership of Catt achieved rolling successes for women’s enfranchisement at state levels. Between 1910 and 1918, the Alaska Territory, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington all extended voting rights to women.

Also during this time, through the Equality League of Self-Supporting Women (later, the Women’s Political Union), Stanton’s daughter Harriot Stanton Blatch (1856-1940) introduced parades, pickets and marches as means of calling attention to the cause. These tactics succeeded in raising awareness and led to unrest in Washington, D.C.

On the eve of the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) in 1913, protesters thronged a massive suffrage parade in the nation’s capital, and hundreds of women were injured. That same year, Alice Paul (1885-1977) founded the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage, which later became the National Woman’s Party. The organization staged numerous demonstrations and regularly picketed the White House, among other militant tactics. As a result of these actions, some group members were arrested and served jail time.

In 1918, President Wilson switched his stand on women’s voting rights from objection to support through the influence of Catt, who had a less-combative style than Paul. Wilson also tied the proposed suffrage amendment to America’s involvement in World War I (1914-18) and the increased role women had played in the war efforts. When the amendment came up for vote, Wilson addressed the Senate in favor of suffrage. As reported in The New York Times on October 1, 1918, Wilson said, “I regard the extension of suffrage to women as vitally essential to the successful prosecution of the great war of humanity in which we are engaged.” However, despite Wilson’s newfound support, the amendment proposal failed in the Senate by two votes. Another year passed before Congress took up the measure again.

On May 21, 1919, U.S. Representative James R. Mann (1856-1922), a Republican from Illinois and chairman of the Suffrage Committee, proposed the House resolution to approve the Susan Anthony Amendment granting women the right to vote. The measure passed the House 304-89—a full 42 votes above the required two-thirds majority.

Two weeks later, on June 4, 1919, the Senate passed the 19th Amendment by two votes over its two-thirds required majority, 56-25. The amendment was then sent to the states for ratification. Within six days of the ratification cycle, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin each ratified the amendment. Kansas, New York and Ohio followed on June 16, 1919. By March of the following year, a total of 35 states had approved the amendment, one state shy of the two-thirds required for ratification. Southern states were adamantly opposed to the amendment, however, and seven of them—Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia—had already rejected it before Tennessee’s vote on August 18, 1920. It was up to Tennessee to tip the scale for woman suffrage.

The outlook appeared bleak, given the outcomes in other Southern states and given the position of Tennessee’s state legislators in their 48-48 tie. The state’s decision came down to 23-year-old Representative Harry T. Burn (1895-1977), a Republican from McMinn County, to cast the deciding vote. Although Burn opposed the amendment, his mother convinced him to approve it. (Mrs. Burn reportedly wrote to her son: “Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification.”) With Burn’s vote, the 19th Amendment was ratified. Certification by U.S. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby (1869-1950) followed on August 26, 1920.

On November 2 of that same year, more than 8 million women across the U.S. voted in elections for the first time. It took over 60 years for the remaining 12 states to ratify the 19th Amendment. Mississippi was the last to do so, on March 22, 1984.

This is part 1 of this week’s Granite State Rumblings. Part two on the relationship between healthcare and healthy childhood development can be found here

Granite State Republicans Continue To Vow Support Trump Even Though It Will Cost Them The Election

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Donald Trump (Image by Gage Skidmore CC FLIKR)

Republicans worst nightmare has come true. Donald Trump has won their nomination for President.

Former New Hampshire Republican leaders have been warning that a Trump led ticket would be disaster for Republicans all the way down the ticket.

“Here in New Hampshire, if Donald Trump is the nominee, we will not get a Republican governor. We will lose the New Hampshire state Senate, and we could lose the New Hampshire state House… and we could lose Sen. [Kelly] Ayotte.”
Former GOP Gov. John H Sununu

“I think they’re very concerned if they’re up for reelection . . . Clearly Trump at this time is not going to carry swing states. I’m thinking of New Hampshire, for example.”
Former New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg

“If Donald Trump is the nominee, Kelly Ayotte might as well resign because it’s all over.”
Former NHGOP Chair Fergus Cullen

Even with strong warnings from former party leaders, Republican candidates are still refusing to reject Trump and his racist, fascist, misogynistic rhetoric.

Senator Kelly Ayotte says she will support Trump’s nomination by voting for him but will not endorse him. Pledging to vote for him is in the eyes of everyday voters, the same as endorsing him.

Aaron Jacobs, Communications Director from Maggie for NH blasted Ayotte in a recent statement for her vowing to vote in support of Trump.

“While Kelly Ayotte just today made her support for Donald Trump official, they’ve long been in agreement when it comes to critical issues such as their desire to defund Planned Parenthood, undermine Roe v. Wade, and obstruct the Supreme Court confirmation process. And all Granite Staters should be concerned that Ayotte has announced her support for Trump despite national security experts and members of both parties have condemned his foreign policy positions as dangerous to our country’s vital interests. The people of New Hampshire will soundly reject the Trump-Ayotte ticket in November.”

Women’s health and equal pay are on the forefront of the minds of many women voters in the Granite State. Both Ayotte and Trump oppose equal pay for women and want to nominate a Supreme Court Justice to overturn the forty-year decision of Roe v. Wade.

senators_onnotice_03.1

Image from EMILY’s List

senators_onnotice_04

Image from EMILY’s List

National women’s rights advocacy group EMILY’s List has routinely highlighted the connections between Trump and Ayotte.

“Kelly Ayotte stepped even further away from New Hampshire women and families today with her confirmed support for Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. She chose her extreme party over the women she was elected to represent by pledging to support a nominee who has called women ‘fat pigs’ and ‘slobs’ and who spews hateful rhetoric every chance he gets,” said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

“Although really, it should come as no surprise to anyone that she’s lining up behind Donald Trump — they both share a radical agenda of wanting to defund Planned Parenthood, opposing meaningful efforts to end gender discrimination in pay, and wanting to take away women’s rights to make their own health care decisions. If New Hampshire women can’t even count on Kelly Ayotte to stand up to Donald Trump, they definitely can’t count on her to stand up for them in the Senate,” added Schriock.

It is not just Ayotte who is vowing to support Trump. Congressman Frank Guinta and Rich Ashooh, who are both vying for the GOP nomination in NH’s 1st Congressional District, have also said they will support the Republican nominee, even if it is Trump.

Ashooh recently told NH1 last month that he wouldn’t commit until Trump had the nomination. With Ted Cruz and John Kasish leaving the race, Ashooh is left with little choice.

Guinta told NHPR in March that he will support the eventual nominee. Carol Shea-Porter, candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st District, has already called on Frank Guinta to denounce Trump’s deeply offensive statements.

Shea-Porter additionally called on Guinta to return a personal contribution Trump made to Guinta’s re-election campaign earlier last year. Frank Guinta refused to comment to WMUR on whether he’d return the contribution.

“Now that Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee, Rich Ashooh and Frank Guinta need to admit to Granite State voters that they pledged to blindly support their nominee, including Donald Trump and his ignorant and dangerous views. We already know where Frank Guinta’s loyalties lie, as he refused to condemn Donald Trump for his hateful and divisive remarks, and he has also refused to return the campaign money he took from Trump earlier last year,” said Shea-Porter. “Rich Ashooh and Frank Guinta have already said that they will commit to supporting the eventual nominee, so now Granite Staters will see whether Ashooh and Guinta will follow through on their promise to Republican voters.”

Trump Sununu Campaign SignTrump’s Presidential campaign is already having an impact on the NH Gubernatorial election.

Last month, Democrats led by New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley unveiled a new campaign sign for the Trump/Sununu ticket, highlighting their shared far-right policies of defunding Planned Parenthood, opposing Medicaid expansion and denying climate change.

“The fact is that Donald Trump’s out of touch views are shared by Chris Sununu and the whole Republican gubernatorial field,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Some Republicans are lining up to denounce Trump because they know how devastating his selection would be for down ballot Republicans. But not Chris Sununu, who said he’ll absolutely support whoever the Republican nominee is, even if it is Trump. I guess we’re not surprised since their policies line up so well.”

With Trump at the top of the ticket this means disaster for the GOP all the way down the ticket. This means that we, as Democrats, have a strong chance of retaining the Governor’s seat and taking back the state House and Senate.

“The Republican party has spoken and chosen the dangerous and offensive Donald Trump to carry their banner into the general election; unfortunately for New Hampshire Republicans, the general electorate won’t make the same mistake,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley. “That’s why Republican leaders in the Granite State have been warning against his candidacy for months. They know that Trump as their party’s nominee means disaster for Kelly Ayotte, Chris Sununu, Ted Gatsas, Jeanie Forrester, Frank Guinta, and the rest of the New Hampshire Republican ticket who have refused to condemn Trump and his destructive policies.”

Sen. Shaheen Blasts House GOP Over Partisan Attacks On Women’s Healthcare

Shaheen Calls for End to Politically Motivated Attacks Against Women’s Healthcare Providers and Researchers at House Committee Hearing 

April 20, 2016 – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen testifying at House Committee hearing

April 20, 2016 – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen testifying at House Committee hearing

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) appeared before a House panel, established by Republicans in Congress, to investigate women’s healthcare providers and health researchers. Shaheen testified on the need to end the politically motivated investigations that were formed based on highly edited and discredited videos.

Over the weekend, Senator Shaheen penned an op-ed with Governor Maggie Hassan denouncing the attacks in New Hampshire and across the country on Planned Parenthood, including the five separate taxpayer-funded investigations launched by Republican leadership in Congress in the last year.

Senator Shaheen’s full testimony is included below and her remarks can be viewed here.

Senator Shaheen:

Thank you very much Chairwoman Blackburn, Ranking Member Schakowsky and members of the Committee, I very much appreciate the opportunity to appear before you this morning but I do so with great concern.  

I know you will hear from my colleague, Senator Sasse from Nebraska, and I respect his deeply held personal beliefs. 

But if we want to have a civil discussion on this issue, we should begin with the facts. Already, news articles today have called into question the validity of the exhibits that will be presented to the panel.   

This Committee’s very existence was founded on the basis of highly deceptive, edited videos. These videos have since been proven to be misleading and false by multiple independent investigations across the country. 

In January, after thorough investigations into the videos, a Texas grand jury cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing and indicted the individuals responsible for their creation. In fact, twelve other states have also cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, and eight additional states have declined to investigate, citing a lack of evidence.   

I believe it’s now time for the special investigations to end.

I’d also like to point out that fetal tissue research has long had bipartisan support. In 1993, Congress passed the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act, which permits fetal tissue research. That bill passed with overwhelming support:  94-4 in the Senate and 290-130 in the House. And I think it is important to note, that that bill was based on recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel convened under President Reagan which was tasked with studying the ethics of fetal tissue research. 

Millions of people have benefitted from fetal tissue research. Vaccines for polio and rubella were developed as a result of research done on fetal tissue. And research on health issues that touch so many of us— Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, eye disorders and spinal cord injuries have also benefitted from the 1993 law.

If it the panel’s desire to change the law, obviously you as legislators are able to do that. But I believe it would be a grave error.   

Sadly, it’s my belief that this panel was formed with political motivations. There is very little real interest in an unbiased investigation to uncover facts related to women’s health or research. 

Instead, I believe that this panel serves as an opportunity for some to once again attack the health care providers whom millions of women and families depend on. 

In February, I joined with colleagues in both chambers to ask House and Senate leadership to disband this panel and all other Congressional investigations that would undermine women’s access to health care.  

Not only do I believe that this panel is an inappropriate and wasteful misuse of federal resources, but I am gravely concerned that it also puts researchers, providers and patients across this country at risk.   

Unfortunately, as a result of the political rhetoric surrounding this issue, we’ve seen violent acts and threats against women’s health providers and researchers across the country.  

And I’m very sad to report that this fall – the same month that this panel was formed—a women’s health clinic in Claremont, New Hampshire, was vandalized not once, but twice. The second attack caused so much damage that the clinic was forced to close for nearly six weeks. This was a real disservice to the women, men and families who rely on the full range of services that the clinic provides.  

And unfortunately, New Hampshire is not alone. After the release of the deceptive, highly-edited videos, incidents of harassment against some health centers increased nine fold in just one month. 

I don’t believe that today’s hearing is a fact-based objective investigation, but rather it is a taxpayer funded political attack based on discredited evidence. I hope it will finally be time to move on.

Planned Parenthood Votes Releases Scathing New Ad Targeting Kelly Ayotte

Kelly Ayotte PPNNE AD“Enough is enough. Kelly Ayotte’s bad politics could have repercussions for a lifetime.” 

Washington, DC — Planned Parenthood Votes has gone on-air with its first ad buy of the 2016 Senatorial election cycle — a nearly $400,000 TV ad buy hitting New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte on her abysmal record on women’s health, and her obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination process.

 

The ad, “Lifetime,” focuses on Kelly Ayotte’s long-time opposition to reproductive health, in particular her previous assertion that the right to safe, legal abortion should be overturned, and that it should be done via the Supreme Court. The ad is paid for by Planned Parenthood Votes, a national independent expenditure political committee. Though Planned Parenthood Votes has previously gone on-air in the 2016 presidential election, this is the committee’s first time going on air for a senate race in the 2016 cycle. It will be running on broadcast and cable in New Hampshire. 

Kelly Ayotte is one of the key Senators preemptively calling to block the president’s Supreme Court nominee before ever holding a hearing. While she has met with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, Kelly Ayotte is still refusing to do her job and give the president’s nominee a fair hearing with an up-or-down vote. The American people deserve a full court and a justice appointed by the president they elected for four years — not three—and Kelly Ayotte’s extreme position abdicating her constitutional duty in order to obstruct the creation of a fully functional branch of our government is unconscionable.

Kelly Ayotte has voted repeatedly to “defund” Planned Parenthood, and has even voted against equal pay legislation. This Senator has spent years calling for an end to safe, legal abortion and for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and even went so far as to circulate a letter urging support for a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks that included extreme provisions for rape survivors. Furthermore, Kelly Ayotte won’t protect access to birth control coverage, and 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.

Statement from Deirdre Schifeling, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Votes:

“Kelly Ayotte may try to paint herself as pro-woman, but her record tells a very different story. Every chance she’s gotten she’s voted to ‘defund’ Planned Parenthood and cut women off from essential health care like birth control and breast and cervical cancer screenings. She has been advocating for years to ban women’s access to safe, legal abortion, and it’s clear she now sees her chance in the Supreme Court process. Kelly Ayotte is refusing to do her job, and abdicating her constitutional duty, in order to push an extreme agenda that no one in New Hampshire wants. Enough is enough. Kelly Ayotte’s bad politics could have repercussions for a lifetime.”

Statement from Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:

“Kelly Ayotte continues to advance an extreme agenda which would deprive New Hampshire women of critical reproductive health services in direct contrast to the wishes of the citizens of New Hampshire who demonstrate strong bipartisan support for access to safe, legal abortion and for access to Planned Parenthood health services. Ayotte’s latest obstruction in refusing to even consider the President’s Supreme Court nominee will have real life consequences for New Hampshire women and could jeopardize access to safe and legal abortion for women across this country for generations to come.”

Kelly Ayotte is facing a contentious race to keep her Senate seat this fall, which is understandable considering her record in New Hampshire includes voting to make college more expensive and voting to repeal health coverage for nearly 50,000 Granite Staters.

According to the polls, Ayotte’s dismal record of voting consistently to “defund” Planned Parenthood will have an even more negative impact on her already at-risk Senate race. 

A survey conducted in 2015 by Hart Research shows that voters in the battleground state of New Hampshire strongly support Planned Parenthood, and oppose Ayotte’s position to “defund” the organization — blocking patients who rely on federal funding from accessing preventive health services, including the cancer screenings and family planning services like birth control that Planned Parenthood provides to millions of women in communities across the country.

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.
  • 75 percent of voter polled in New Hampshire, including majorities of Republican voters, have an unfavorable reaction to the idea of shutting down the federal government to block any funding for Planned Parenthood.
  • 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.

Fourteen separate national polls conducted since last June show strong support for Planned Parenthood and extraordinarily strong opposition to blocking patients from care.

The Ayotte-Trump Agenda: Criminalizing Abortion Edition

Ayotte-Trump Agenda

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday Donald Trump announced that women in this country should be “punished” if they get an abortion — before recanting, using the same language anti-choice groups have been using for years to whitewash their true agenda, which is taking away a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions and control her own body. But the truth is that Donald Trump’s comments only pulled back the curtain on what the GOP has already been doing for years: punishing women through draconian laws and restrictions on their right to have an abortion. Republicans can try to spin that reality any way they want, but they can’t deny the truth. Punishing women is and always has been the point of their extreme policies. Despite all of this, vulnerable Republican Kelly Ayotte still refuses to denounce Trump or say she won’t support him as the Republican nominee putting the extreme anti-woman agenda they both share into the spotlight.

“Donald Trump is leading the GOP charge to prevent women from making their own health care decisions,” said EMILY’s List Communications Director Marcy Stech. “First Ayotte and Trump supported an unconstitutional abortion ban that would criminalize doctors, and now she’s standing by the Republican frontrunner who said he wants to ‘punish’ women who get abortions. Elections matter, and Kelly Ayotte is linking arms with Donald Trump at the expense of New Hampshire women and families.” 

The Ayotte-Trump Agenda

Both Trump and Ayotte Supported An Abortion Ban. Trump supported a national abortion ban and said pro-choice policies “goes against our core values.” In September 2015, Ayotte voted for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a bill that “would have banned abortion nationwide after 20 weeks ‘post-fertilization,’ or about 22 weeks’ gestation […] Opponents of HR 36 attacked the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional; violates the rights of women in desperate situations, including rape and incest victims; and threatens doctors with criminal penalties for trying to do what’s best for their patients […] Opponents of HR 36 attacked the bill on the grounds that it is unconstitutional; violates the rights of women in desperate situations, including rape and incest victims; and threatens doctors with criminal penalties for trying to do what’s best for their patients […] Under the GOP-backed bill, rape and incest victims would have to further delay abortion care by seeking counseling from doctors who do not perform abortions, or who do not even share an office with a doctor who does. Incest victims under the age of 18 would also have to file a police report.” The bill failed in the Senate 54-42 with 51 GOP voting for it. [HR 36, Vote #268, 9/22/15; RH Reality Check, 9/22/15; CBN News, 7/22/15]

Both Trump and Ayotte Opposed Raising the Minimum Wage. During the fourth Republican presidential debate, Trump insisted that wages were “too high,” and he was opposed to raising the minimum wage. In 2014 and 2015 Ayotte voted against increasing the federal minimum wage. [New York Times, 11/11/15; S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14; S.Con.Res.11, Vote 93, 3/26/15]

Both Trump and Ayotte Would Deny Women Equal Pay At an October 2015 convention in New Hampshire, Trump said of equal pay, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Ayotte has voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act four times. In June 2012, Ayotte voted against a procedural vote to move forward with S. 3220, Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (also known as the Equal Pay Act), “to revise remedies for, enforcement of, and exceptions to prohibitions against sex discrimination in the payment of wages.” The Paycheck Fairness Act would require a clarification in reasons for differences in wages paid to men and women doing the same work. The motion was rejected 52-47. In April 2014, Ayotte voted against a motion to address the Paycheck Fairness Act. According to Congressional Quarterly the vote was a “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would require employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women with similar qualifications and in similar jobs have a business justification. It would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who share salary information and authorize the Labor secretary to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages in a sex discrimination action. The bill also would require the Labor Department to provide training and collect wage information.” The motion was rejected by a vote of 53-44. In September 2014, Ayotte voted against a bill to strengthen federal equal pay laws for women. In March 2015, Ayotte voted against Senator Mikulski’s proposal to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to amending the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to allow for punitive damages, limit the any factor ‘other than sex’ exception, and prohibit retaliation against employees who share salary information.” The amendment failed 45-54. [S. 3220Vote #115, 6/05/12; S 2199Vote #103, 4/09/14; S. 2199, Vote #262, 9/15/14; S. Con. Res. 11, Vote #82, 3/24/15]

A look at Chris Sununu’s record on International Women’s Day

 Concord, N.H. – To celebrate International Women’s Day, the New Hampshire Democratic Party is highlighting Chris Sununu’s efforts to turn back the clock on women’s healthcare.

2015 was a banner year for Sununu. He cast the deciding vote to defund Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire, denying thousands of Granite State women access to preventative care, cancer screenings and low-cost birth control.

Not only did Sununu cast the deciding vote, but he admitted to NHPR—during the very same meeting where he voted to strip its funding—that, “in his Seacoast district…Planned Parenthood is the only facility that offers care like low-cost birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings.”

Even after Planned Parenthood was cleared, the orchestrators of the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood indicted, and the New Hampshire House rejected a bill to investigate Planned Parenthood, he refused to apologize, doubling down on his position, and calling Planned Parenthood and its supporters “bullies.”

“As New Hampshire women celebrate their achievements and progress today, they’re also remembering Chris Sununu’s disastrous record on women’s issues,” said NHDP Spokeswoman Holly Shulman. “Not only did Sununu lead the attack to strip low-cost quality healthcare from thousands of Granite State women, but he demonized them when they stood up for their rights. Sununu put partisan politics before the well-being of New Hampshire women and we won’t forget in November.” 

But Sununu’s efforts to block quality healthcare for women hasn’t been limited to defunding Planned Parenthood. Sununu fought to prevent Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire from ever coming to the table, even though the majority of Medicaid expansion beneficiaries are women.  Furthermore, the Medicaid Family Planning initiative provides access to family planning resources, prenatal services and infant care for thousands of Granite State women and their families.

Sununu bragged about his efforts to kill Medicaid expansion as recently as last month on the Girard at Large radio show.

Hassan Goes On The Offense Against Ayotte On Protecting Women’s Rights

WMUR: Hassan Says Ayotte Has ‘Consistently Voted To Undermine’ Women’s Right To Choose

CONCORD — While Kelly Ayotte has repeatedly voted against the health and economic well-being of New Hampshire’s women and families, Governor Maggie Hassan has always fought to expand opportunity for New Hampshire families and to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions — and Maggie will continue to fight tirelessly for these critical priorities in the United States Senate.

Click here for the full WMUR story or see excerpts below:

WMUR: New Hampshire Primary Source: Hassan says Ayotte has ‘consistently voted to undermine’ women’s right to choose

Gov. Maggie Hassan on Friday reiterated her support for Roe V. Wade on the 43rd anniversary of the landmark decision affirming the legality of a woman’s right to choose. At the same time, Hassan sharply criticized U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte for her opposition to the decision and for her support for defunding Planned Parenthood.

… In a statement provided first to WMUR.com, Hassan said Ayotte has “consistently voted to undermine” a women’s right to choose.

“As we celebrate the 43rd anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, it’s critical that we redouble our efforts to ensure that women and families can make their own choices and stand up against attacks on women’s health care,” Hassan said.

“A woman’s right to make her own health care decisions is a matter of freedom, and it’s also a matter of economics. When women have to pay more for their health care, including paying out of pocket for contraception, or aren’t given the freedom to decide when to start a family, it creates a significant economic strain.”

“And that is why it’s so troubling that Kelly Ayotte has consistently voted to undermine a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.”

Hassan continued, “From her belief that Roe v. Wade ‘should be overturned’ to her six votes to defund Planned Parenthood and her support for allowing employers to deny women coverage for birth control, Sen. Ayotte has repeatedly voted against the health and economic well-being of New Hampshire’s women and families.”

“As governor, I have always fought to expand opportunity for New Hampshire families and to protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, and I will continue to fight tirelessly for these critical priorities in the United States Senate.”

Hassan’s campaign pointed out that while campaigning for the Senate in 2010, Ayotte said she Roe V. Wade “should be overturned,” and that she voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood between 2011 and late 2015.

The Hassan campaign also pointed out that Ayotte in 2012 voted for the Blunt Amendment, which would have expanded exemptions to the Obama administration’s rule requiring birth control coverage to allow not only religious groups but employers with moral objections to opt out.

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