Patients, Community Health Providers, and Faith Leaders Hold Events on NH Seacoast to Highlight Harm of Defunding Planned Parenthood
On Women’s Equality Day, events reflect widespread support for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the health services PPNNE provides
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, on National Women’s Equality Day, New Hampshire patients, supporters, and allies of Planned Parenthood held events in Executive Councilor Chris Sununu’s backyard—the Seacoast—to illustrate the harmful impact that defunding Planned Parenthood health centers will have on thousands of New Hampshire women and families.
The morning started with more than two dozen Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund supporters gathered outside an Executive Council breakfast meeting in Dover to ensure the Councilors understand that New Hampshire voters oppose their decision to end state funding for Planned Parenthood health centers. Later, PPNHAF hosted a press conference and rally that drew dozens of supporters at a Planned Parenthood health center in Exeter that is currently only able to see patients 3 days per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Pictures of each event are available HERE.
“For 50 years, thousands of Granite Staters have chosen Planned Parenthood of Northern New England as their health care provider. Planned Parenthood health centers deliver birth control, family planning counseling, cancer screenings, STI screenings and treatment to more than 12,000 New Hampshire residents each year,” said Jennifer Frizzell of Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “We are not giving up the fight to restore funding for the health care that was rejected by Councilors Chris Sununu, David Wheeler and Joe Kenney and we will always stand by Planned Parenthood patients, and the women of New Hampshire in their fight for access to reproductive health services and, ultimately, the ability to lead a successful, equal life.”
The Women’s Equality Day events on the Seacoast came after Councilor Sununu spearheaded the Executive Council vote to reject a long-standing state contract that had previously helped ensure Planned Parenthood provide basic preventive health services to low-income New Hampshire residents for the past four deacdes.
“The recent attacks on Planned Parenthood are really attacks on all of us who believe that women should have access to comprehensive reproductive care, including safe, legal abortion,” said Linda Griebsch, the Executive Director of the Joan G. Lovering Health Center in Greenland. “These actions are part of a broader agenda orchestrated by an extreme group to restrict women’s access to health care. Here on the Seacoast and across Rockingham County we proudly partner with Planned Parenthood, with Families First, and with other community health organizations to meet the diverse needs of women in our communities. It is essential that all of our organizations continue to receive public funding and public support to help keep our community healthy.”
The unusually political vote by the Executive Council has been followed by an outpouring of support for Planned Parenthood by New Hampshire residents of all stripes, with people speaking out to highlight the critical role that Planned Parenthood of Northern New England plays in providing nearly 13,000 women, men, and young people in New Hampshire with basic health care every year. Polling released last week shows that 66 percent of New Hampshire residents continue to support Planned Parenthood and women’s access to reproductive health services.
“As a young woman living with endometriosis, I personally know exactly why it is essential for women to have access to affordable birth control, which comprises over 50 percent of Planned Parenthood’s services and will take a hard hit because of the Executive Council’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood,” said Ilyssa Sherman of Exeter, a 25 year old volunteer for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund. “If I couldn’t afford birth control to control the debilitating pain caused by my endometriosis, I would not be standing here today.”
“As a long-term psychologist I have listened to many women and men talk about the stress of providing for their families, and especially getting affordable access to healthcare,” said Doctor Judith Rowan, a psychologist in Exeter. “The services of Planned Parenthood are essential to peace of mind to these families and I always know when I refer someone to the local Planned Parenthood that they will receive high-quality, non-judgmental health care at a cost they can afford.”
The Executive Council first attacked Planned Parenthood funding in 2011 in a deeply unpopular vote that became a cornerstone of the election, resulting in a shift in leadership of the Council.
“As a person of faith and a minister, I have been deeply disappointed in recent weeks to hear some of our elected officials in New Hampshire casting doubt on our trusted local health care provider, Planned Parenthood,” said Reverend Larry Brickner-Wood, the Chaplain and Executive Director of the Waysmeet Center in Durham. “In my time as a community official and spiritual leader, Planned Parenthood has been one of the most important health care providers for our most vulnerable and marginalized communities.”
Sununu’s pretense for this latest vote was largely focused on ongoing investigations into Planned Parenthood in many states, but his excuse rings hollow as mounting evidence in state after state confirms that these politically motivated investigations are baseless. Just last night, Colorado officials announced they would not investigate Planned Parenthood’s practices.
“Voting to end our longstanding contract with New Hampshire, Councilor Sununu claimed that the state should not be funding Planned Parenthood’s preventive care during ongoing investigations – but this flimsy excuse rings more hollow as state after state, including Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota has cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing. We’ve said all along that Planned Parenthood follows all laws and has high medical standards, and that’s what every one of these investigations has found,” concluded Frizzell.