June 27, 2011 — New Hampshire's Executive Council last week voted 3-2 against awarding Planned Parenthood of Northern New England a $1.8 million contract for the provision of family planning services to low-income state residents, the AP/Boston Globe reports (AP/Boston Globe, 6/22). The council approved every other family planning contract it considered.
Councilor Dan St. Hilaire said he supports most family planning services but opposed awarding the contract to PPNNE because the organization provides abortion services. Abortion services are paid for by either private health insurance or patient payment. The contract would have funded services such as cervical cancer screenings for, sexually transmitted infection testing and breast exams.
PPNNE CEO Steve Trombly said that without public funding, PPNNE "will not be able to continue to see the more than 15,000 patients we see every year in our New Hampshire locations." Trombly said the funding decision "will have a devastating and significant effect on a number of women and families in the state."
Kevin Smith, a spokesperson for the conservative advocacy group Cornerstone Action, accused PPNNE of devoting too much of its budget to administrative costs -- including salaries, advocacy, marketing and fundraising -- and not enough to patient care.
Last year, PPNNE reports leveraging $900,000 in federal and state funding to provide more than $5 million in no- or reduced-cost care. PPNNE policy adviser Jennifer Frizzell said, "We have centralized services across three states ... so that we can have a very lean administration." She added, "And even though we are delivering health care in 26 sites, reaching hundreds of communities, we are able to do so in a manner where the highest and best dollar is available for patient care" (Gorenstein, NHPR, 6/23).