On P.P. Funding: Observations from Karen Handel

This morning, New Hampshire’s Executive Council will vote on contracts with two abortion providers including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. Yesterday, Karen Handel of Georgia won a seat in Congress.

So what does Handel have to do with a pending Council vote?

She has offered her thoughts about PP’s funding by governments and private agencies – and she has better reason that most of us for giving thought to the problem. Read here for a brief review of her experience with a breast cancer charity and with Planned Parenthood’s response when the charity decided all too briefly not to hand funds to the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Here are some excerpts from Handel’s book Planned Bullyhood, written in the wake of the Komen/PP debacle that forced her out of a job a few years back. This might explain why Planned Parenthood Action Fund put over $700,000 into the GA-06 race in a futile effort to prevent Handel from winning a seat in Congress.

…[W]hat is clear is this: Planned Parenthood is a powerful and effective combat weapon for the left, willing to put its own political agenda— abortion and its government funding— ahead of women.

…The campaign started with Komen, but it certainly didn’t end with Komen. And it won’t end until we, as Americans, stand up to the perverse tactics of thugs like Planned Parenthood— and the politicians they pay for to do their dirty work.

…Planned Parenthood…said Komen’s decision [to end grants to PP] was political. It was not; it was an economic one— made in the best interest of Komen and, more important, the women that Komen serves….Komen’s board of directors was insisting on real, measurable results and even higher standards of excellence. The grants to Planned Parenthood— about $700,000 in 2011, or less than one-tenth of one percent of Planned Parenthood’s $1 billion annual budget— were not high-quality grants.

…For Planned Parenthood, there was no such thing as neutral. You were either with them or against them. And anybody who didn’t actively support Planned Parenthood was the enemy and had to be destroyed— including a nonpartisan breast cancer foundation doing great work.

…Yes, I was and am staunchly pro-life, but portraying me as [a pro-life] hero wasn’t accurate, either. I believed— and still believe— that breast cancer is not about ideology. Yet when Komen gave up on being neutral and caved to the mafia-style tactics of Planned Parenthood and the left, Komen made it about ideology.

…The Komen incident also exposed an underlying and disturbing truth: Planned Parenthood and its allies are the worst kind of bullies. They were willing to do almost anything to advance their political agenda and ensure the continued flow of nearly $1.5 million dollars a day in government money to Planned Parenthood’s coffers.

…And the bullying won’t stop until it is exposed— and we stand up to it.

[from Handel, Karen (2012-09-11). Planned Bullyhood: The Truth Behind the Headlines about the Planned Parenthood Funding Battle with Susan G. Komen for the Cure (No Series) (Kindle Location 164). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.]

I recommend reading Planned Bullyhood in full. Maybe send a copy to your Executive Councilor.

Rallies to precede Executive Council vote tomorrow

Mary Simpson brought a blunt message to State House Plaza.
A State House rally preceded the last PPNNE & Lovering contract votes.

The New Hampshire Executive Council is less than 18 hours away from voting on contracts with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Lovering Center, both abortion facilities. This is a second bite at the current-fiscal-year apple for PP, whose last bid for a family planning contract was rejected by the Council on a 3-2 vote.

Those who want to keep taxpayers free from collusion with abortion providers will rally before the Council meeting. So will those who think reduction in taxpayer funding is an attack on health care (“but they do so much good…!). 

New Hampshire Right to Life is organizing the rally in opposition to the contracts. 

The Council meeting itself begins at 10 a.m. in the Council chambers on the second floor of the State House. The agenda has dozens of items; the PP/Lovering contracts are agenda item #30.

Before last August’s vote, I took note of PPNNE’s financial reports, which are part of this year’s contract bid as well as last year’s.

According to the 2014 financial report for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England – a report that is part of Wednesday’s contract proposal — PPNNE spent  $998,262 on fundraising last year, $1.5 million on public policy work, and $214,000 on marketing and communication.

The PPNNE contract up for a vote on Wednesday is for $539,304. In view of PPNNE’s $20 million overall budget and more than $2.5 million spent on fundraising, marketing and public policy, no one needs to worry that denial of the contract is “defunding.”

That’s not what I’m likely to hear from PP’s partisan’s tomorrow – but it’s the truth nonetheless.


NHRTL appeals to Supreme Court for info on 2011 grant to PPNNE

Before last week, the last time Planned Parenthood of Northern New England heard “no” from the Executive Council was in 2011. When PPNNE’s Title X contract proposal was rejected that year, the agency mysteriously obtained a compensatory federal grant without a public hearing or process of disclosure. How did that happen? New Hampshire Right to Life filed suit at that time to get information about the grant, with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom and local allied attorney Michael Tierney. The case has slowly made its way through federal courts. This week, ADF filed a petition for a hearing on the case at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jane Cormier, NHRTL President (E. Kolb photo)
Jane Cormier, NHRTL President (E. Kolb photo)
Attorney Michael Tierney (facebook.com photo)
Attorney Michael Tierney (facebook.com photo)

From LifeNews.com: “The Obama administration is keeping documents secret related to a non-competitive grant the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded directly to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in 2011 without going through state approval or standard protocols and despite the fact that the state decided not to fund Planned Parenthood that year….ADF says HHS has continued to refuse to provide certain grant documents on the grounds that they might affect Planned Parenthood’s ‘competitive position’ if it faces a commercial grant competitor in the future.”

Read the full LifeNews.com post: http://www.lifenews.com/2015/08/10/obama-admin-defends-secrecy-of-1-million-grant-to-planned-parenthood-abortion-biz/

Read ADF press release about the petition here.

In a post on NHRTL’s Facebook page the day the petition was filed, NHRTL President Jane Cormier commented that in the wake of the recent Executive Council vote against a PP contract, “[W]e must NOT allow this backdoor funding to happen again. NHRTL will fight against the federal government usurping NH fiscal decisions. Hopefully, the Supreme Court will hear this case.”

NH Exec Councilors say “no” to PP contract

(Updated 3:30 p.m.)

The New Hampshire Executive Council on Wednesday, in a sharply divided vote, denied a contract to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England that would have given PPNNE $638,900 over a two-year period. The vote follows the release of the fifth video by the Center for Medical Progress showing Planned Parenthood personnel in other states procuring body parts of aborted children and discussing pricing for various specimens.

Kevin Avard EC 080515b
Standing room only as NH Executive Council votes on Planned Parenthood contract. Kevin Avard photo.

Councilor Chris Sununu (R-Newfields), who had declined before the meeting to indicate how he would vote, opposed the contract, He had supported a Planned Parenthood contract in 2011. On Wednesday, he joined Councilors Joe Kenney (R-Union) and David Wheeler (R-Milford) in the majority. Councilors Colin Van Ostern (D-Concord) and Christopher Pappas (D-Manchester) supported the contract with PP.

Governor Maggie Hassan said before the vote, “I’m sure Planned Parenthood would review its operations if this was voted down.” Her official statement after the vote made no such assurance.

Councilor Chris Sununu (nh.gov photo)
Councilor Chris Sununu (nh.gov photo)

In the discussion preceding the vote, Sununu said “I’m pro-choice and I support Planned Parenthood, but in my district, women have no [other] choice.” He unsuccessfully urged Hassan and his fellow Councilors to “take a step back” and support a study of health care options in Sununu’s southeastern New Hampshire district. He said he got calls from constituents who wanted family planning services but not at Planned Parenthood. He also expressed concern about activities at other Planned Parenthood affiliates documented in the CMP videos, which were dismissed by Hassan, Van Ostern and Pappas (in identical language) as “heavily edited.” “I’ve watched that video cover to cover with no edits,” said Sununu. “I’m pro-choice, but that’s not the issue here.”

Kenney acknowledged that he would vote against the PP contract because of the revelations in the CMP videos. “I’m not comfortable voting for anything with Planned Parenthood’s name on it. And the people against this contract that I got calls from were women.”

Pappas said it would be “inhumane” to deny PP its contract, and he criticized reliance on the CMP videos. Van Ostern called opposition to the contract “ideology.”

The Governor and Wheeler had a sharp exchange after Wheeler reminded her that he had called on her earlier in the week to order an investigation into PPNNE. He pointed out the push for such an investigation on the federal level. “You can’t divorce what’s going on nationally from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.” Hassan replied that she was “surprised” any Councilor would suggest that New Hampshire follow the federal government’s lead.

Gov. Maggie Hassan (nh.gov photo)
Gov. Maggie Hassan (nh.gov photo)

Hassan proclaimed herself “incredibly disappointed” by the Council’s decision. (In New Hampshire, the Governor has no veto power over Council decisions.) “It is clear that today’s vote is the result of an ideological and political attack against Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions …The council’s vote to defund Planned Parenthood will hurt the health and economic well-being of thousands of Granite Staters.”

Hassan’s statement made no reference to the fact that the Council today approved family planning contracts with three other agencies, two of them abortion providers. All the family planning contracts had been presented to the Council in a single package before Kenney asked that the contracts be unbundled, allowing action on one to leave others unaffected.

Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund held a rally in front of the State House before the vote. The group posted an online statement before the vote warning that health care for 12,000 women would be at risk if the contract was denied. The proposed contract amount over two years was roughly two-thirds of what PPNNE spent on fundraising in 2014, or about 40% of what it spent on public policy the same year.  PPNNE has also strongly denied that it is involved in what it calls “voluntary fetal tissue donation” – a term copied by Governor Hassan Wednesday.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England’s PAC and Action Fund spent more than $15,700 to support Hassan’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The same groups spent $30,400 on Executive Council races.


Remember this about Dave Wheeler

Dave Wheeler is running for New Hampshire’s Executive Council in district 5, a seat he has held before. He has a primary opponent whom I haven’t met and about whom I know little. I’m not writing today to make comparisons. This is about Dave.

I’ve known him for many years, going back to the days when he was a state rep from Milford. I could tell you about how he helped me long ago when I had to learn in a hurry how to deal with a state agency. I could tell you how when you elect him, you get his wife Joy as a bonus – just as tart and blunt and dedicated to the community as her husband. I could recommend that you check out the Wheelers’ Miracle Acres Farm for your next Christmas tree.

Another time, maybe, but not now. I want to make sure you remember one thing in particular that he did last time the voters of district 5 sent him to Concord: he stood up to Planned Parenthood. With two of his colleagues, he denied PP a Title X family-planning contract in 2011. (Ten other Title X contracts were approved that day, all with contractors who didn’t double as abortion providers.) It wasn’t Dave Wheeler’s first pro-life vote, but it was a particularly emphatic one. As a result, PP made a priority of hammering him in the 2012 election. He lost the seat, 52.5%-47.5%.

From a 2011 event (l-r): Kevin Smith, Ray Wieczorek, Dan St. Hilaire, Dave Wheeler, Ellen Kolb (photo by Matthew Lomanno, www.matthewlomanno.com)
From a 2011 event (l-r): Kevin Smith of Cornerstone; executive councilors Ray Wieczorek, Dan St. Hilaire, & Dave Wheeler; Ellen Kolb (photo by Matthew Lomanno, www.matthewlomanno.com)

With his vote on the PP contract, Dave was doing what he was elected to do: read the fine print, ask questions, look hard at private agencies that rely on an uninterrupted flow of taxpayer dollars. It’s sad that the councilors elected in 2012 went back to business with New Hampshire’s premier abortion provider when the next round of Title X contracts came up in 2013.

The photo in this post is from 2011, taken at an event related to my day job. Dave is the tall gentleman towards the right. At the event, it was my privilege to present an award to the councilors who rejected that PP contract.  Two of them have since retired. Only Dave Wheeler is left in the arena. Here’s an excerpt from what I said that evening as I made the presentation. Those councilors set a high bar for their successors. Think about this when you look at candidates for the Executive Council.

One morning in June 2011, I was in the Senate gallery awaiting a vote on the parental notification bill when someone quietly advised me that the Executive Council, by a vote of 3-2, had just rejected a $1.2 million contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. This was a shock to me, because I knew this had always been a routine Title Ten contract. Regrettably, the state has done business with PP for years.

With an annual budget of $18 million, PPNNE is New Hampshire’s principal abortion provider. When asked at a public hearing [in 2011] if they’d forgo providing abortion services as a condition to receive public funding, their answer was an emphatic “no.” Despite claims by PP that government funding is vital to providing certain essential services, according to their own 2009 annual report PPNNE spends over $3 million on administration and general costs, $597,000 on marketing and $714,000 on public policy which includes lobbyists. After the council vote, PP went so far as to launch a publicity campaign attacking the three councilors who voted down the contract. Pink t-shirts and lawn signs appeared, saying “I Stand With PP,” paid for by PP.

Planned Parenthood chose not to divert one penny from administration, marketing or public policy to compensate for the loss of taxpayer funds. When it came down to a choice between providing health care and distributing pink lawn signs, they went with the lawn signs.That was not a political decision forced by any executive councilor. That was a PP policy decision that ill befits a state contractor.

It’s worth noting that ten other Title Ten contracts were approved the same day PP’s was rejected – hardly the action of a council determined to deny health care to anyone. These contracts usually fly under the radar for most of us. It’s to their credit that these three councilors didn’t let that happen.

Now in 2014, Dave Wheeler is back. It’ll take more than a bunch of pink lawn signs to scare him off. I wonder if that’s true about the other candidates on the ballot.