Legislators, Say No to Doubling the Family Planning Budget

April 4, 2017

A state budget increase that seems designed to divert taxpayer money to the region’s abortion providers is a bad idea, particularly in view of critical public health issues in New Hampshire.

A significant amount of family planning money comes to New Hampshire from the federal government via the Title X program. Family planning contracts in New Hampshire are then customarily granted to multiple vendors, several of which are abortion providers. Every family planning dollar allocated to those vendors is a dollar that pays the overhead for provision of abortion services, even if the contracts themselves are not for abortion work.

Under Governor Hassan, the last budget allocated $1.1 million to family planning. Governor Sununu has proposed an increase to $1.7 million. The House budget, to be voted on April 5, proposes $2 million. Whatever the amount, abortion providers will line up at the Executive Council looking for a piece of the pie, while assuring Councilors that the money won’t be used for abortion.

At the same time, those would-be vendors will be advocating for an end to federal policy that prevents Title X money from being used for abortion.

Representatives should be asking where the budgeted family planning money would come from. Are the family planning funds in the budget based on projected federal grants or actual ones? Is the grant money in hand, or does it depend on whether Congress actually funds it in the future? How much family planning money is allocated out of New Hampshire’s own general fund?

And no matter whether the money comes from general funds, federal grants, or some combination, the budget increase is ridiculous. Why should New Hampshire residents in need of services such as substance-use treatment and mental health support have to stand in line behind abortion providers? Surely, New Hampshire HHS can put funds to better use.

Consideration of family planning spending brings to mind the behavior of an agency that applies regularly for state contracts. The largest known provider of abortions in New Hampshire is Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which has a history of threatening denial of services to clients if it is denied family planning contracts – even as PPNNE’s own annual reports show that the agency spends hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on “public policy.” Any such threat by a contractor should be a disqualifier, quite apart from the contractor’s abortion advocacy.

State representatives should say no to doubling the family planning budget, especially in this time of already-underfunded public health needs in New Hampshire.