Sep 21, 2015 5:13 PM
EXETER - As funding for the government is set to expire on Sept. 30, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is putting the blame of a potential government shutdown on Republican efforts to block federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Leading the conservative drive to cut funding to the organization is U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas.
“Congress should hold hearings, and we should cut off every penny of taxpayer funds," Cruz said in a recent C-Span interview.
The organization - which is now under multiple investigations by Congress and the Justice Department - came under fire several months ago when controversial videos surfaced showing Planned Parenthood staffers discussing the sales of fetal body parts for use in medical research.
But Sen. Shaheen said Monday that the videos were "highly edited", and she strongly opposes cutting funding to the organization - citing 12,000 New Hampshire women who rely on it for health services.
Some of Planned Parenthood's services include abortions, cancer screenings, vaccinations and birth control consultation.
“We should not, and must not let this happen," Shaheen said about the funding threats. “It’s very disappointing to see extremists who are using this issue as a political football at the expense of women’s health.”
Shaheen has long been an advocate of Planned Parenthood and women's access to health coverage.
Employees and PAC's of the nonprofit have also been longtime supporters of the Shaheen campaign.
Using data from the Federal Elections Commission, the Center for Responsive Politics lists Planned Parenthood as a top 20 campaign committee contributor to Shaheen from 2011-2016.
Individual donations were listed at $7,350; and a Political Action Committee's given funds were $9,899. Together, they total $17,249.
Making no mention of the financial support at a press conference at the Exeter Planned Parenthood on Monday, the U.S. senator focused on attacking Republicans for their push to cut federal funding.
Shaheen also denounced a NH Executive Council vote in early August that rejected $650,000 in state funding for contracts that would've supported the nonprofit.
Jennifer Frizzell, Planned Parenthood's Vice President of Public Policy for Northern New England, said no New England branches have been accused of keeping fetal parts or organs.
Fellow U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who supported the Republican effort and voted to cut federal funding from the organization last month, has since questioned Cruz's strategy - citing a lack of GOP votes and the possibility of surpassing a presidential veto.
In response to the press conference, New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn also released the following statement:
“Planned Parenthood has been a major source of special interest donations to Senator Shaheen’s political campaigns, and her insistence that the public financially support this scandal-plagued organization under congressional investigation is clearly an attempt to return the favor. Like Senator Shaheen, Governor Hassan has similarly accepted large political contributions from Planned Parenthood and is now providing them with politically-motivated cover by stonewalling legitimate efforts to investigate serious accusations of criminal wrongdoing. Their refusal to determine the truth of the matter before giving away millions of taxpayer dollars is politics at its worst and New Hampshire deserves better.”
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