Reinstate funding for Planned Parenthood
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
To the Editor:
On June 22, the NH Executive Council voted to block a $1.8 million contract for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. They did so because Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider, even though no government funding is used for this purpose. Abortions are funded strictly by privately raised funds, including private health insurance and patient payments. They comprise only 3 percent of their services. 97 percent of Planned Parenthood services provide for basic health care, including mammograms, other cancer screenings, and immunizations.
The impact of this defunding will deny health care to the 15,850 patients who used Planned Parenthood Health Care Centers in 2010. Most of these patients have very low incomes, and for many of them Planned Parenthood is their only source of health care.
In addition to hurting thousands of low-income people, I believe the Executive Council has exceeded their authority. Their role in contract review is a fiscal one, not a matter of ideology. Attempts in other states to defund Planned Parenthood based on the abortion issue have already been ruled unconstitutional. The way I see it, this is like denying tax-exempt status to a Food Pantry for its charity work because it also engages in non-exempt activities like lobbying Congress.
The following are the Executive Councilors who voted to defund Planned Parenthood: Daniel St. Hilaire (District 2), Raymond Wieczorek (District 4), and David Wheeler (District 5). I urge readers in these districts to contact your councilors and urge them to reinstate funding for the Planned Parenthood contract.