Chris Sununu, a GOP gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire and member of the state Executive Council, surprised fellow Republicans by voting to approve $549,000 in funding to Planned Parenthood.
Sununu’s vote for a contract that includes even retroactive funding for Planned Parenthood in the state, is a reversal of his vote last year following the release of a series of videos exposing the abortion business’ apparent practice of selling the body parts of babies it aborts on the open market. At that time, Sununu helped to kill a measure in the state to provide the funds.
The Associated Press reports Sununu, the son of former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, had a “change of heart” and joined Democrats in a 3-2 vote to ensure the abortion business’ funding.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Sununu said:
Today’s vote will provide $549,000 in funding for important health services for nearly 12,000 New Hampshire women and families, including cancer screenings and STI testing and treatment.
Last Year, I voted against this contract after hearing concerns from my constituents regarding the legality of practices Planned Parenthood had allegedly engaged in. I stand by my principle that this state should not conduct business with groups under any investigation or that are embroiled in serious controversy. As has been widely reported, charges against Planned Parenthood for these alleged practices were dismissed by court order. As this group is no longer under investigation, they should be treated like any other organization that comes before the Council.
“We have to make sure we are providing the best services for the women, especially low income women, of the state and this contract provides that,” Sununu told reporters after casting his vote. “I’m not going to stand in the way of that.”
“Shame on the Council for funneling more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, and shame on Councilor and GOP Gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu for going back on his vote,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser in a statement, adding:
Chris Sununu watched the shocking videos of Planned Parenthood employees discussing the harvesting of babies’ hearts, kidneys, brains, and livers for money, and rightly voted to withhold funding a year ago. The only thing that’s changed since then is mounting evidence uncovered by the U.S. House’s ongoing Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives showing Planned Parenthood’s collusion with organ buyers and illegal profits. Far from being cleared of any wrongdoing, the evidence is mounting against Planned Parenthood. Taxpayers should have no part in supporting a brutal industry that puts a price tag on mothers and their children.
The other two Republicans on the New Hampshire Executive Council voted against funding Planned Parenthood.
David Wheeler said Planned Parenthood was “indeed selling baby parts” and committing Medicaid fraud in other parts of the country.
“If they are going to choose to do this, we shouldn’t be doing business with them,” Wheeler said.
Joseph Kenney said he preferred the money to be spent on fighting opioid abuse.
Republicans criticized Sununu for not revealing how he would vote.
“He falsely claims his conscience told him to vote ‘yes’ when he voted ‘no’ just a few short months ago on the exact same contract,” Frank Edelblut said in a statement. “We need a Governor who knows what his principles are.”
Rico McCahon, executive director of Cornerstone Action in New Hampshire released the following statement:
Councilors Chris Sununu, Colin VanOstern, and Chris Pappas let New Hampshire down today. Women, men and children in need of health care should not have to turn to an abortion provider to get it, and no taxpayer should be forced to subsidize an abortion provider – particularly one like PPNNE that spends over a million dollars a year on public policy, an amount far higher than today’s contract. Those three Councilors put the abortion business ahead of the health care needs and conscience rights of New Hampshire families.
Planned Parenthood and its allies frequently claim that denying its funding causes delays in treatment and a decrease in health care services to low-income women. However – in New Hampshire alone – there are at least 35 locations of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) that accept Medicaid payments and provide more comprehensive health care services than Planned Parenthood without providing abortions.
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN), a member of the House’s Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives which has been investigating Planned Parenthood, explained last year, “For every one Planned Parenthood facility, there are 20 federally qualified health centers. Planned Parenthood is trying to put a message out there that if they went away, all these women wouldn’t have care.”
A report on Black’s website notes that FQHCs “provide women with the same preventative services offered by Planned Parenthood, plus the many things they do not offer: mammograms, prenatal care, treatment of diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, depression, etc.”
“In states where the state legislature has defunded Planned Parenthood, low-income women are still able to access the same preventative services offered by Planned Parenthood in addition to many others through these FQHCs as well as community health centers,” the report continues. “These health care providers far outnumber the number of Planned Parenthood locations, which are primarily located only in urban areas.”