Reproductive health topic of gubernatorial candidate roundtable

Telegraph photo by DEAN SHALHOUP Democratic candidate for governor Dan Feltes listens to Gloria Timmons, head of the Nashua NAACP, during Thursday's outdoor roundtable discussion at Nashua's Greeley Park.

NASHUA – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes’ series of roundtable discussions on reproductive health came to Nashua Thursday, a week after Planned Parenthood New Hampshire endorsed Feltes and incumbent Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of the Reproductive Health Parity Act was sustained.

Feltes was joined Thursday by three community leaders – Nashua NAACP president Gloria Timmons, state Sen. Cindy Rosenwald of Nashua, and state Rep. Patricia Klee, who represents Nashua’s Ward 3 and is also Ward 3 alderman – in Greeley Park for the roughly 45-minute discussion on the highly-charged issue, which politicians pretty much agree will be “on the ballot” come the Nov. 3 election.

Feltes at times likened Sununu to President Trump, saying that while Trump is “trying to ram through a conservative justice” to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sununu is “doing a similar power play to get a conservative, anti-choice justice on the New Hampshire Supreme Court.”

Rosenwald, who before being elected state senator in 2018 was a multi-term state representative, said Feltes “is spot on, on reproductive health being on the November ballot.

“New Hampshire is one of the most pro choice states in the country … there is overwhelming public support, not only for Roe but more broadly, that women have a right to self-terminate,” Rosenwald said, referring to the landmark 1973 legislation Roe v. Wade.

It is therefore “shocking,” Rosenwald said, “that Gov. Sununu would veto the reproductive healthcare parity act, especially in the middle of a pandemic, while people are losing their jobs.”

Timmons called “hypocritical” people “who say what a woman should or should not do with her body,” most notably when anti-abortion sentiment fuels legislation that “forces someone to have a baby they cannot feed or afford.

“Then people will talk about ‘we’ve got to feed them (because) they’re on welfare’ and all that,” Timmons said.

“I went through all of that. I’ve seen all that. I firmly believe only a woman can make that choice,” she added.

Klee, who said she still “carries guilt” stemming from a series of difficult choices and health challenges she was confronted with as a young woman, emphasized that “I have the right to decide what I’m going to do with my body. Let me make my decision.”

Referring to Sununu, Klee said “it does not help when I have a male governor who stands up there and says people who want to do that are not good Christians,” referring to the choice to have an abortion.

Feltes called reproductive health, and healthcare, “a basic foundational right … that’s under attack at the state and federal levels.

“There certainly is a tie-in between insurance coverage and the absence of insurance coverage for reproductive healthcare services,” he added.

Feltes criticized Sununu for “sending public funds – COVID funds – to anti-abortion, quote unquote abortion counseling centers,” and accusing him of “not sending any support to Planned Parenthood, and other services that are needed right now.”

Dean Shalhoup may be reached at 594-1256 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com.