October 3, 2011 — A Christian legal organization representing three members of the New Hampshire Executive Council filed a formal protest with HHS and the Government Accountability Office over the federal government's decision to award a Title X family planning contract to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the AP/Boston Globe reports (AP/Boston Globe, 9/30).
In early July, the all-Republican Executive Council voted 3-2 against a new contract that would have awarded PPNNE $1.8 million in state and federal funds for two years. After the decision, PPNNE's six centers in the state stopped dispensing contraceptives because the organization operated under a limited retail pharmacy license that was contingent on having a state contract.
In August, New Hampshire Health Commissioner Nick Toumpas informed HHS officials that state health officials did not plan to restore family planning services previously offered by PPNNE (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/22). HHS in September announced that it would contract directly with family planning clinics in the state and awarded a $1.1 million contract to PPNNE (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/30).
The Alliance Defense Fund filed the protest on behalf of councilors David Wheeler, Dan St. Hilaire and Ray Wieczorkek. In a letter to HHS and GAO, the three councilors said the grant was "improper, irregular, unnecessary, in contravention of the authority of the Executive Council and its duly elected members, and in disregard of the sovereignty of the state of New Hampshire." The letter also alleged that the decision violates the Public Health Service Act and federal acquisition regulations (Rayno, New Hampshire Union Leader, 10/1).