New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) spoke out Wednesday against a vote by the Executive Council to end family planning contracts for facilities that provide abortion, calling the decision “incredibly disappointing.”
Sununu said in a statement:
I brought these contracts forward because I support them, just as I have every year as governor, because they protect women’s health and it is the right thing to do. Today’s action to vote down funding like cancer screenings and other women’s health services is incredibly disappointing and not something I agree with.
President Joe Biden released his Fiscal Year 2022 budget Friday, one that would eliminate the longstanding Hyde Amendment and force American taxpayers to fund abortions. https://t.co/qr0crnr5ps
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 29, 2021
The state Executive Council rejected family planning contracts, 4-1, that have previously been routinely approved with five Planned Parenthood facilities in Greenland, Manchester, Concord, and Nashua.
The council members took their vote at a Nashua hospital during a coronavirus briefing.
All four Republicans on the council rejected the contracts for the abortion businesses that were slated to run from June 30 through the end of 2021, reported the Union Leader.
The council approved, 3-2, however, contracts for four other family planning providers that do not perform elective abortions.
“A no vote harms the women and children of our state,” said Councilor Cinde Warmington (D), the only vote in favor of the contracts for the abortion providers.
“We need to quit playing politics with the health care of the women of our state and approve these contracts,” she said.
Republican Councilors Joe Kenney and Janet Stevens joined Warmington to vote in favor of contracts for the four facilities that do not perform abortions, while Republican Councilors David Wheeler and Ted Gatsas opposed the contracts.
“Could any of these providers be providing abortions?” Wheeler asked.
“Hypothetically yes,” responded Deputy Public Health Director Patricia Tilley, reported the Union Leader.
However, all the providers told state officials they do not perform the procedure.
Meanwhile, Gatsas said he voted against all the contracts because they allow clinics to provide emergency contraception (morning after pill) to a minor girl without parental consent.
“My position hasn’t changed today,” he said. “I believe a woman has the right to do what they want to do, but a 14-year-old should have to get consent.”
The vote comes several months after Sununu signed a budget bill that included the Fetal Life Protection Act, which bans abortions after 24 weeks’ gestation (six months) and is New Hampshire’s first ban on late-term abortion.
The pro-life New Hampshire-based Cornerstone Action explained the significance of the 24-week ban in June:
At a time when other states are legalizing abortion up to birth, the Granite State has boldly gone in the opposite direction and rejected its longstanding commitment to pro-abortion absolutism. In fact, New Hampshire has just become the first state in the country to go from allowing abortion up to birth to passing a late-term abortion ban.
After SFLA engaged in New Hampshire, the State Executive Council has reportedly voted NOT to fund Planned Parenthood with tax dollars.
Thank you, Councilor Dave Wheeler for his bold action.
Elections matter & so does grassroots engagement. Way to go, NH! pic.twitter.com/IiTnJKX6Zn
— Kristan Hawkins (@KristanHawkins) September 15, 2021
“Our state laws should have the goal of preserving life, not ending it,” said Students for Life New England Regional Coordinator Mariah McCarron, in a statement sent to Breitbart News.
McCarron has been on the ground in New Hampshire working in support of pro-life legislation, including the 24-week limit.
Though Sununu expressed disapproval for the council’s vote, Melanie Levesque, a New Hampshire Democrat Party senior advisor, blamed him for its outcome, reported the Union Leader:
Chris Sununu’s Executive Council voted repeatedly today to take away New Hampshire women’s access to quality, affordable reproductive health care. Chris Sununu is directly responsible for the Executive Council’s votes to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning centers across New Hampshire that provide critical care to women.
“Sununu vigorously campaigned to secure an anti-reproductive healthcare majority on the Executive Council, and now thousands of Granite Staters will lose access to critical health care services as a result,” Levesque added.
U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), along with Reps. Chris Pappas (D) and Annie Kuster (D), released a joint statement condemning the vote.
Due to the Trump admin’s Title X gag rule, NH family planning clinics relied on state contracts to offset lost fed $ needed to provide health care to NH women. NH's GOP-led Exec. Council voted to block multiple family planning contracts. NH Rs' assault on women’s health must end. https://t.co/flJ0JG9msw
— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) September 15, 2021
“I never thought I’d live to see such egregious, dangerous attacks on women’s personal health decisions in the ‘Live Free or Die’ state like what we’ve experienced from New Hampshire Republicans over these few months,” Shaheen said, adding legislation that attempts to focus on saving unborn babies from abortion is “anti-woman.”
Hassan also referred to the council’s vote as a “dangerous attack on women’s health and well-being.”
These votes threaten the thousands of Granite Staters who rely on family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood, for primary and preventive health care services. We must stand up for reproductive freedom and make our voices heard—now and at the ballot box. https://t.co/nw4dNJafK2
— Maggie Hassan (@Maggie_Hassan) September 15, 2021
McCarron, however, has kept her focus on the unborn lives lost to abortion.
“Abortion has taken the lives of one quarter of my generation, and with nine student groups in the state, we are standing up for those who may be lost to abortion,” she said.