A council in New Hampshire’s GOP-majority legislature on Wednesday voted to defund the state’s five Planned Parenthood clinics, calling the organization “too controversial” following the release of several videos attacking its fetal tissue donation program.
The all-male executive council, which oversees the administrative affairs of the state, voted 3-2 to reject state contracts with Planned Parenthood, cutting off the nearly $640,000 the health care organization had expected through 2017. The council’s vote was along party lines, with all three Republicans voting to defund the health care organization.
The measure won’t move on to the full New Hampshire legislature, and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan cannot veto the council’s defunding. New Hampshire Republicans hold a commanding majority in the state house and a 14-10 advantage in the state senate.
Republican councilmember Chris Sununu, who is expected to run for governor in 2016, said he voted to defund Planned Parenthood after hearing from five women who said they felt uncomfortable with Planned Parenthood’s reputation.
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“All of them were unemployed and had actually gotten rides to other parts of the state so they could go to another provider that wasn’t Planned Parenthood and that didn’t have this umbrella of scrutiny hanging over them,” said Sununu. “And that sort of hit home.”
Of the five Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, which together see about 12,000 women and men each year, two provide abortion services. All of them offer a range of other services, including contraception, men’s and women’s health care, and sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment.
None have fetal tissue donation programs, which have come to the forefront of public conversation in the wake of attacks from an anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress. CMP has ties to anti-choice radicals who promote violence against abortion care providers and abortion clinics.
The Republican councilmembers also asked Hassan to launch an investigation into the health-care provider, which the Governor dismissed as unnecessary.
“We do not launch investigations in the state of New Hampshire on rumor,” she said. “We do not launch criminal investigations in the state of New Hampshire because somebody edits a tape.”
Planned Parenthood in Louisiana also received a funding cut this week, after Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal announced the state is terminating the state’s Medicaid contract with the organization.
Investigations in other states have so far found no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.
A congressional attempt to prohibit federal funds from going to the organization was blocked by Democrats on Monday.