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Feb 17, 2016 5:52 PM

Landrigan: NH abortion rights debate focuses on targeted clinic, pro and con bills

CLAREMONT - The state’s senior senator heads to the scene of a crime against Planned Parenthood - extreme vandalism of its clinic while lawmakers fight over both pro and con on abortion.

"You know 2015 leading into early 2016 has been a very challenging time for Planned Parenthood both at the national level and here in New Hampshire,’’ said Jennifer Frizzell, senior policy adviser for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

That’s for sure. First a national scandal over the alleged sale of fetal body parts by the national Planned Parenthood. The Republican-led Executive Council in response turns down federal money for the group.

Then on Oct. 21 locally it got worse.

"He had conducted a very methodical, very extensive attack against this particular health center with a hatchet," Frizzell recalled. "That attack smashed water line, sewer line, destroyed medical equipment to a price tag of nearly $90,000."

Senator Jeanne Shaheen tours the reopened clinic to lend her support.

"It’s really unfortunate this issue has become so politicized because Planned Parenthood doesn’t ask someone’s political ideology when they walk in the door," Shaheen said.

Meanwhile at the State House, legislation going in opposite directions. On Tuesday, Claremont’s state senator David Pierce sponsors a bill to create a new crime to intimidate an abortion clinic.

"Our overriding message whether it’s here in Claremont or down in Concord at the state Legislature is these doors are staying open,’’ Frizzell assures.

And today conservative Republicans seek to make it unlawful to sell or donate fetal body parts or tissue.

"However as we looked at this issue it did not appear to be illegal," said Rep. Kathleen Souza, R-Manchester, of her bill to make the transfer of fetal body parts a Classs B felony carrying up to seven years in prison.

These renovations complete a tough story for Planned Parenthood and this controversy clearly won’t end right through this presidential election.

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