Not wanting to be outdone by Congress, Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire recently drafted a bill that would have completely defunded Planned Parenthood. But on Wednesday, a bipartisan majority in the New Hampshire state legislature rejected the unpopular measure, ensuring that thousands of women and men in the New England state can still have access to low-cost reproductive health services.
The proposed measure would have stripped $1.25 million from the state's five Planned Parenthood health centers. Although New Hampshire already bars taxpayer funding from going toward abortion, except for cases of rape, incest, and a woman's health, several Republican lawmakers believed that the funding was helping to facilitate abortions. "How is this used? Not directly funding abortion. Enabling," Rep. Kathy Souza told local news station WMUR.
Another Republican politician, Rep. Warren Groen, added to the news source that he would "love to see [Planned Parenthood] go out of business." However, Goen said this bill was not "an effort at that."
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire representatives, however, believe the bill would have had a drastic impact on not only reproductive health services, but also the overall well-being of its nearly 15,000 patients. "Planned Parenthood has been a trusted source of high-quality, compassionate and affordable health care in New Hampshire for 50 years," Jennifer Frizzell, vice president of the Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, said on Wednesday in a statement sent to Bustle.
Planned Parenthood also serves as one of the primary health centers for women living in rural or medically unserved parts of New Hampshire. The clinics not only provide contraception to patients, but also cancer screenings, STD testing, and low-cost prenatal care.
When it comes to contraception, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire says it has certainly been leading the charge in preventing unintended pregnancies. New Hampshire has the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in the nation, as well as the lowest rate of teen pregnancy. But according to data compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, nearly 64,000 New Hampshire women could greatly benefit from publicly funded contraceptive services.
"We urge [our elected leaders] to continue to support investments that are proven to work — including family planning and the full range of birth control," Frizzell said. "Investments in women's health services provide women with more control over their health and their own family planning."
Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards added in a statement sent to Bustle:
Politicians across the country should take notice of what happened in New Hampshire today. Not only did we beat back an out-of-touch measure to block women from coming to Planned Parenthood — but we did so with support from 76 Republican elected officials.
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