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Valley News – Conservative group targets NH health providers for making abortion referrals

Editor’s Note: This story was first revealed on New Hampshire Bulletin.

CONCORD — The state Family Planning Program’s 4 remaining providers, which give low-price reproductive health care, don’t carry out abortions. But a Christian advocacy group needs them defunded as a result of they’ll refer sufferers to providers who do.

In a collection of latest tweets, Cornerstone applauded Executive Council Republicans for rejecting household planning contracts with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and two different reproductive health facilities. Those councilors cited the providers’ abortion companies, although state audits have proven none have used state cash for that care.

But the group additionally thanked Councilor David Wheeler for voting in opposition to contracts for the 4 providers who don’t terminate pregnancies: Amoskeag Health, Coos Family Health, Lamprey Health Care and the Community Action Program of Belknap and Merrimack counties.

“We further commend Councilor David Wheeler for bold leadership and for going a step further, by voting to deny funding to any entities that provide referral for abortion services,” learn one tweet.

The tweets signaled a possible shift in conservative activism round abortion in New Hampshire.

The 4 contracts handed, 4-1. When they expire in 2024 and are available again earlier than councilors, their destiny might depend upon which get together claims nearly all of the council’s 5 seats within the November election. It’s additionally possible the following council shall be requested even sooner to rethink the contracts with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Equality Health Center and Lovering Health Center.

The outcomes of these votes will have an effect on almost 17,600 uninsured and underinsured Granite Staters who’ve relied on the state’s Family Planning Program’s sponsored reproductive health care for contraception, most cancers screenings, STI testing and therapy, schooling and counseling. The three defunded providers alone cared for the overwhelming majority of these folks, almost 16,350, in line with the proposed contracts.

The 4 remaining providers within the Family Planning Program have the capability to care for drastically fewer folks and are restricted geographically in Berlin, Manchester, Laconia and Nashua. That leaves the Seacoast and western a part of the state with no supplier that’s assured to offer a full vary of reproductive health care, excluding abortion, for free or at lowered price.

Patricia Tilley, director of the Division of Public Health Services on the state Department of Health and Human Services, mentioned the implications of shedding funding for these companies could possibly be vast reaching for low-revenue and weak communities, from will increase in teen being pregnant, most cancers and STIs to restricted entry to lengthy-appearing contraception strategies like IUDs which might be more practical at stopping unplanned pregnancies. Comprehensive care, counseling and schooling additionally results in more healthy infants and financial stability, she mentioned.

“Family planning programs are not only foundational to ensuring individuals have access to comprehensive health care,” Tilley mentioned. “We also know that family planning programs reduce the likelihood of children living in poverty, the share of children living in households receiving government benefits and help reduce the share of children living in single parent households. Those are concerns not only for (the) public health (department) but for all areas of the department.”

Some of the providers who’ve misplaced funding have mentioned it has pressured them to contemplate growing charges or charging for companies like counseling which were free. Katherine Derby, spokesperson for Lamprey Health Care, mentioned shedding its household planning contract might jeopardize its standing as a federally certified health heart, which presents sponsored health care to all populations no matter their skill to pay.

Shannon McGinley, government director of Cornerstone, declined an interview request and to clarify the group’s opposition to contracts with non-abortion providers. In its tweets, Cornerstone cited these providers’ skill to refer sufferers to health facilities to supply abortions.

“Cornerstone fully supports Councilor Wheeler’s actions,” McGinley informed the Bulletin in an e-mail. When requested to make clear, McGinley wrote, “This funding issue is a policy debate, and our position has been clear in public statements.”

Ahead of the election, Cornerstone just lately highlighted the facility of the Executive Council to determine funding for reproductive health care, in a put up titled, “Why you should always care about the Executive Council race.”

It mentioned: “Each council candidate deserves your time to give them the highest scrutiny. An abortion-friendly governor’s hands will be essentially tied if three pro-life councilors are elected.”

All 5 councilors are looking for reelection: Democrat Cinde Warmington in District 2 and Republicans Joe Kenney, Janet Stevens, Ted Gatsas and Wheeler, in Districts 1, 3, 4, and 5, respectively.

All 4 Republicans have voted repeatedly in opposition to contacts with Planned Parenthood Northern New England, Equality Health Center and Lovering Health Center. All however Wheeler voted in July to assist contracts with the 4 remaining providers.

Warmington has made approving the household planning contracts with all providers a precedence, asking officers from the state Department of Health and Human Services to inform councilors the implications of rejecting them and to verify that their audits confirmed none was utilizing state cash for abortion care.

At least certainly one of Warmington’s main challengers, Mike Cryans, would additionally assist the contracts, together with these rejected by the Republicans, in line with his marketing campaign web site. The different, Bradford Todd, couldn’t be reached and didn’t reply to a candidate questionnaire from Citizens Count, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks candidates’ positions.

Republican Sen. Harold French will problem the winner in November. In an interview Monday, he mentioned would oppose contracts with any health heart that offered abortions, even when state audits present they don’t use state funding for these companies. He famous his assist for the state’s new 24-week abortion ban; French additionally supported including an exception for a deadly fetal anomaly this 12 months.

French mentioned he would assist contracts with providers that don’t terminate pregnancies. When requested if he’d object if these providers made abortion referrals, French mentioned he wanted extra info. “I haven’t heard the testimony yet,” he mentioned. “I don’t know what (Wheeler’s and Cornerstone’s) objections are to that.”

Kenney will face Democrat Dana Hilliard. Hilliard mentioned he would assist the 4 present contracts in addition to these for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Equality Health Center and Lovering Health Center. Hilliard mentioned he would assist all of the household planning contracts, together with these the council has rejected. Coos County Family Health is the one supplier in this system north of Concord, an space included in Hilliard’s district.

“It is an absolute must that we continue to move forward with ensuring that the uninsured and underinsured continue to be able to make their own decisions about their own health care,” Hilliard mentioned. “The way they are able to make those decisions is by gaining access. Particularly in the northern sections of this district, those choices are limited and in some cases non-existent.”

Stevens is being challenged by Democrat Katherine Harake, whose web site consists of funding for reproductive health amongst her priorities.

Gatsas faces a main problem from Republican Terese Grinnell, who mentioned in an interview she regrets her determination to terminate her being pregnant at age 22 when she was uninsured and couldn’t afford a gynecological examination. Grinnell mentioned she helps state funding for contraception and schooling to keep away from being pregnant however not for abortion companies.

When requested whether or not she can be persuaded by the state’s audit exhibiting no providers had been utilizing public cash for abortion care, Grinnell mentioned she must evaluate the monetary data herself. She mentioned her personal expertise working in finance has satisfied her accounting choices can masks how cash is spent.

The main winner will face Democrat Kevin Cavanaugh, who’s ending his state Senate time period. In an interview Monday, Cavanaugh mentioned he would assist the 4 present contracts and people for Planned Parenthood and the opposite two facilities defunded by the council.

“I would never stand in the way of anyone’s … health care decision,” he mentioned.

Wheeler additionally faces a main challenger: Republican Anne Copp, a former state consultant. She couldn’t be reached for remark. In her Citizens Count questionnaire, Copp mentioned she opposed abortion as early as the primary trimester and mentioned she is in opposition to state funding for Planned Parenthood. The questionnaire didn’t ask concerning the household planning contracts with providers who don’t do abortions however can refer sufferers to those that do.

The winner of the first will face Democrat Shoshanna Kelly, who states on her marketing campaign web site that she would assist the household planning contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

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