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Aug 10, 2015 8:10 PM

Gov. Hassan, Executive Councilor speak out against state cuts to NH Planned Parenthood


CONCORD - Governor Maggie Hassan is speaking out on behalf of Planned Parenthood after the Executive Council canceled their state contract last week, slashing the organization's budget dramatically.

"I know Planned Parenthood will continue to provide services in a high quality way, but when you take away one-third of their funding, it will impact the number of people they can serve," Hassan said from her office Monday.

Planned Parenthood in Manchester will lose $385,000, and in Claremont, $253,900 will be lost. Clinics in Derry, Keene and Exeter will also be affected.

Hassan is disappointed by the council's decision to cancel the contracts by a vote of 3-2. She says that when women can plan their families, they are healthier, and their families are healthier. Giving a woman the option to postpone pregnancy until after college and establishing themselves in the workforce means children born to women who used birth control grow up in a more economically stable household, Hassan said.

Besides offering family planning options to women and men, Planned Parenthood offers primary care, cancer screenings and STD treatment.

"Planned Parenthood serves nearly 13,000 women in New Hampshire, giving them access to these critical services, and with the vote the council took, it's really going to mean that Planned Parenthood is going to be able to serve fewer women," Hassan said. "I'm very concerned that the councilors put politics before the people, and particularly the women, of New Hampshire."

No Planned Parenthoods in northern New England allow for fetal tissue donation, Hassan said. But the national controversy surrounding the organization didn't help as the contract went before the council.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, a Democrat from Manchester, says the fetal tissue controversy is not necessarily relevant to what happens in New Hampshire.

"In the Planned Parenthood clinics in New Hampshire, there's no voluntary tissue donation, which has been an issue in some other places," Pappas said. "Our focus really should be on how can we continue to provide those critical services and not let this national political game get in the way of doing what's best for the people who we were elected to serve."

Pappas said family planning pertains to every family in the state.

"When you're talking about birth control and wellness visits and cancer screenings, that's something that impacts women and men alike," Pappas said.

Although funding for Planned Parenthood was slashed on the state level, the organization does receive federal funds, and can accept private donations, Pappas said.

To hear the entire interview with Pappas, click on the above video link.

Follow Kimberley Haas on Twitter @KHaasNH1.


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