January 9, 2015 — A bill introduced in the New Hampshire Legislature this session could defund family planning and health centers across the state, Foster's Daily Democrat reports.
Under the measure, proposed by state Rep. Warren Groen (R), health centers that perform abortions, refer patients to have the procedure or support abortion rights would be banned from receiving any state funding.
Currently, New Hampshire law forbids state funding from going toward abortion services, except in instances of rape, incest and when a woman's life is in danger. Groen's bill would block facilities from receiving state funds, even for non-abortion related services.
Groen introduced a similar measure (HB 228) in 2011 that made it through the state House but did not pass in the state Senate.
Effects Could Go Beyond Abortion
Five Planned Parenthood clinics, the Concord Feminist Health Center and the Joan G. Lovering Health Center likely would feel the impact of the bill, if enacted, according to the Daily Democrat. The facilities also perform medical screenings, STI treatment and family planning services. For example, about two-thirds of the 1,600 patients treated annually at the Joan G. Lovering Health Center undergo a treatment other than abortion.
In addition, hospitals that provide patient referrals for abortion or perform the procedure themselves could lose funding.
In response to the proposed measure, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England spokesperson Jennifer Frizzell said the bill's passage would limit thousands of people's access to health care, including men who are treated at the clinics.
"While Representative Groen has made clear that his intention is to defund Planned Parenthood, the true impact of this bill will be felt by the nearly 16,000 patients each year who rely on our preventive health care -- services like cancer screenings, breast exams and access to birth control," she said in a statement (Conley, Foster's Daily Democrat, 1/8).