Critics of the 2011 Republican battle against abortion on Capitol Hill and in capitals around the country have said it’s about more than abortion. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, told the Colorado Independent this spring that the GOP push had exposed a large percentage of Republican lawmakers as anti-contraception and opposed to family planning. That assertion is supported by the vote and related discussion in New Hampshire last week that rejected a $1.8 million state contract for Planned Parenthood’s family planning and disease prevention and treatment services. The contract had been in place for decades.
The state’s all-Republican Executive Council, which approves state contracts as a check on legislative and gubernatorial power, voted 3 to 2 against Planned Parenthood.
According to the Concord Monitor, Executive Councilor Dan St. Hilaire said the contract should go to an organization that does not perform abortions. Councilor Raymond Wieczorek asked if contracts could exclude the issuance of condoms, adding that he supports paying to test for sexually transmitted diseases but does not believe the state should subsidize contraception.
“If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?” he said about women seeking contraception.
The Monitor reports that New Hampshire’s Planned Parenthood abortion practice is funded through private donations, an assertion backed up by regular audits.
The Monitor also compiled some relevant statistics:
Last year, Planned Parenthood provided contraception for 13,242 patients in New Hampshire, Trombley said. The organization also provided 6,112 breast exams, 5,548 screenings for cervical cancer and 18,858 tests for sexually transmitted infections. If the contract is not renewed, Planned Parenthood will drastically reduce its services, Trombley said. The organization employs 80 people in New Hampshire.
Six Planned Parenthood clinics in the state have reportedly stopped dispensing contraception. Women who came to the clinics looking to fill prescriptions for birth control pills only to be turned away told the Monitor they were baffled by the logic of the councilors, men who say they are against abortion and yet refuse to support planning that prevents unwanted pregnancies.