In the state of New Hampshire, a group of elected government officials called the Executive Council has the authority to approve or reject all state grants over ten thousand dollars. This council consists of five members and at present they are all Republicans. Last month they declined to renew a two year contract with Planned Parenthood, cutting 1.8 million dollars from the group. According to the Concord Monitor one member of the council had this reason for defunding Planned Parenthood:
Wow. In spite of the blatant sexism behind the decision, many are arguing that it is still fair. After all the Council approved contracts for 10 other family planning service providers; so women will still be able to get the birth control, STD testing and treatment, cancer screenings etc that they need to stay healthy right? Unfortunately, that is not entirely accurate.
As part of the contract with the New Hampshire government, the six Planned Parenthood clinics had been able to operate as pharmacies as well as clinics. They provided low and sometimes no-cost birth control and antibiotics for low income families. Without the government contract they will no longer be able to provide these medications. So yes, women can still go to these clinics for health care and to have prescriptions written, but they will now have to go to a third party pharmacy to actually get their medications. People without insurance coverage will have to pay full cost for these medications, which range from $40-$100. A month.
Another negative impact this has on the state is that it leave some areas of New Hampshire without access to care. Federal funding is a major portion of the money given out in grants to family planning services and this funding is contingent on access being available in all parts of the state. Without the Planned Parenthood contract, the state risks losing its federal funding for these programs. If access is not restored to these areas, the 10 other clinics may also lose their grants. State officials have until mid-August to come up with a plan that will restore access to all parts of New Hampshire. Whether that plan will include re-funding Planned Parenthood has not yet been determined.
The good news is that the Council is meeting again on July 13th and according to Blogs for Choice, they may discuss re-funding Planned Parenthood in the state. Let’s hope that instead of using their own sexist opinions to make the decision this time around; they actually use logic and common sense.