News Law and Policy

New Hampshire Lawmaker Tries to Strip Funding for Women’s Health Services

Nina Liss-Schultz

Women’s health centers in New Hampshire could lose state money for all services they provide under a bill to be introduced this legislative session.

Women’s health centers in New Hampshire could lose state money for all services they provide under a bill to be introduced this legislative session.

Republican state Rep. Warren Groen announced last week that he plans to propose legislation that would bar organizations that perform abortion or refer patients for abortions at other facilities from receiving any taxpayer money.

The Hyde Amendment already prohibits the use of federal money for abortion, and in New Hampshire public money is not used for abortion services except in case of rape, incest, or maternal risk.

The New Hampshire bill would go a step further than federal law by stripping public money from organizations that offer abortion services, even though the public money would not be used for those services directly.

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“In my opinion, [these clinics] are hardly a good choice for health care unless your definition of health care is killing a child,” Groen said of the reasoning behind his bill, which is being drafted.

There were 13 abortion providers in New Hampshire as of 2011, including five Planned Parenthoods, that rely on state money for a variety of other reproductive health services, including medical screenings, sexually transmitted infection treatment, and family planning.

“While Representative Groen has made clear that his intention is to de-fund Planned Parenthood, the true impact of this bill will be felt by the nearly 16,000 patients each year who rely on our preventive health care—the services like cancer screenings, breast exams, and access to birth control,” Jennifer Frizzell, a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, said in a statement.

Groen introduced a similar bill, HB 228, in 2011. The bill passed the state house but was rejected handily by the senate.

The Planned Parenthood of Northern New England clinic system saw 42,649 patients in 2013. Fifty four percent of the services the system provided were related to family planning, counseling, or contraception; 17 percent were annual exams and cancer screening and treatment; and 6 percent were abortion-related services, according to Planned Parenthood’s annual report.

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