PPNNE facility vandalized; PPNNE blames “rhetoric”

I oppose violence at abortion facilities – whether against people or property (and people are incalculably more important), on the sidewalk or inside the building, inside or outside the procedure room, whether committed by a fly-by-night vandal or by someone with medical credentials.

Valley News of West Lebanon, New Hampshire and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England are reporting that PPNNE’s Claremont office was vandalized this week. [Note: link to article is broken as of 3/25/16.] A juvenile is reportedly in police custody in connection with the incident. According to Valley News, it remains to be seen if this is related to spray-paint vandalism on the outside wall of the same PPNNE facility earlier this month. PPNNE’s statement issued today expresses thanks to the Claremont Police Department for its increased surveillance, presumably prompted by the spray-paint incident. Thumbs up to the police.

Later in the statement, PPNNE vice-president for public policy Jennifer Frizzell brings out the dog whistle: “Unfortunately, this latest crime is a predictable ripple effect from the false and incendiary attacks from anti-abortion groups and politicians whose rhetoric fuel violence.” It was only a seven-paragraph press release. There apparently wasn’t room to elaborate on what constitutes a “false and incendiary attack”  and who in particular is engaging in violence-fueling “rhetoric.” The word “extremism” made it into the text as well. So the recent vandalism arose from … what?

Is  PPNNE implying that the Center for Medical Progress videos led to vandalism? Is the testimony of women who used to work at PP false or incendiary when those women speak of their own experience, as Sue Thayer did at a Congressional hearing earlier this month? Is it crossing a rhetorical line to argue that abortion providers have no business taking public money? Does PPNNE believe that projects like 40 Days for Life fuel violence? Is recognizing the humanity of a woman’s unborn child an extremist view? I didn’t say personhood – I know PP considers that extreme – I said “humanity.” How about it?

Is there any public expression of resistance to abortion that PPNNE does not find incendiary or extremist?

If so, its representatives haven’t made that clear. This reminds me of the New Hampshire House member who remarked during a hearing on the buffer zone bill that handing out a pamphlet outside an abortion facility could be an act of violence. Preposterous on its face, the statement drew no dispute from the PPNNE lobbyist seated nearby.

Blurring the difference between vandalism and nonviolent action serves to marginalize every expression of resistance to abortion. Maybe that’s the idea.

I’m glad the Claremont police are investigating the reported vandalism. Let the justice system take its course.

At the same time, I look forward to standing alongside increasing numbers of New Hampshire women and men in peaceful pro-life witness. It seems we have some neighbors who won’t distinguish peaceful demonstrations from violent threats to public safety. The solution to that problem won’t come from staying home for fear of being lumped together with a vandal.

 

 

 

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.”


Doing the Math, part 2: PP’s investment in NH Senate

(Note: Part 1 was about Executive Council races, published the day after the release of the first of two videos documenting Planned Parenthood physicians discussing procurement and sale of the organs of aborted children. See “PP Doctor Spills the Beans.”)

The political affiliates of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England spent in all more than $55,000 on New Hampshire Senate races in 2014. Direct donations and/or independent expenditures went to races in 15 out of the 24 Senate districts, with PP’s preferred candidates winning in nine of those races. That was enough to deadlock the Senate on repeal of PP’s treasured (albeit enjoined) buffer zone law.

District Amount spent (total of PAC donations and independent expenditures) PP’s preferred candidate Winner PAC donations Independent expenditures for or against a candidate
TOTAL EXPENDITURES ON N.H. SENATE RACES, 2014 $55,580.34
1 $100 Jeff Woodburn Woodburn $100 none
4 $100 David Watters Watters $100 none
6 $5546.71 Rich Leonard Sam Cataldo $100 $3020.13 pro-Leonard $2426.58 anti-Cataldo
7 $5546.71 Andrew Hosmer Hosmer $100 $3020.13 pro-Hosmer $2426.58 anti-Kathy Lauer Rago
9 $6446.71 Lee Nyquist Andy Sanborn $1000 $3020.13 pro-Nyquist $2426.58 anti-Sanborn
12 $10,993.74 Peggy Gilmour Kevin Avard $1000 $5140.58 pro-Gilmour $4853.16 anti-Avard
13 $100 Bette Lasky Lasky $100 none
15 $100 Dan Feltes Feltes $100 none
16 $10,993.74 Maureen Manning David Boutin $1000 $5140.58 pro-Manning $4853.16 anti-Boutin
17 $100 Nancy Fraher John Reagan $100 none
18 $7255.57 Donna Soucy Soucy $1000 $3020.13 pro-Soucy $3235.44 anti-Lambert
20 $100 Lou D’Allesandro D’Allesandro $100 none
21 $100 Martha Fuller Clark Clark $100 none
23 $100 Donna Schlachman Russell Prescott $100 none
24 $7997.16 Nancy Stiles Stiles $1000 $3498.58 pro-Stiles $3498.58 anti-Steve Kenda (opponent in primary)

The independent expenditures (i.e. those made with no coordination with a candidate) in these races were mostly for mailers and phone calls, while PAC donations went directly to candidate campaigns. This information came from public reports available at the web site of the New Hampshire Secretary of State. 

No reports have come to my attention yet of any of the endorsed senators expressing concern over the activities discussed by two Planned Parenthood doctors on the Center for Medical Progress videos.


 

PP funding in NH: another end run?

An astute reader left a comment on my last post.

“…are we sure the Executive Council is going to be the decision making body about who gets the NH contract? Didn’t Planned Parenthood orchestrate a by-pass on the NH Executive Council vote against their NH contract during the construction of the previous NH budget?”

State House, Concord NH
From here …
visitthecapitol.gov photo
…to here? (visitthecapitol.gov photo)

 

 

No, we’re not sure. And yes, PPNNE did an end run around a state family planning contract rejection in 2011 by somehow procuring funds directly from the federal government. Regarding that nimble move, the New Hampshire Commissioner of Health and Human Services remarked in 2013, “It’s not appropriate for me to know what they did.”

All we know about the current situation is that the New Hampshire Executive Council has no PP item on its agenda for next Wednesday’s meeting, and that the last PP contract approved by the Council was set to expire eighteen days ago. (What’s more, PPNNE isn’t complaining that “women are being denied health care.”) Late items may be added to the agenda, as the Council’s agenda page indicates. Anything about a future contract or grant is speculative at this point. But if we can’t see into the future, we can certainly look at the past.

Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide are feeling the heat from the video of a PP medical director chatting about procurement of intact fetal organs. PP’s public funding is under a spotlight, for now. Public dollars are not used for abortion, we’re told. Instead, tax money for “family planning” frees up other PP resources to use for abortions, and the harvesting of fetal organs, and salaries of medical personnel willing to consider changing an abortion method not for the health of the woman but for the better extraction of a child’s organs.

But a state contract or federal grant to PP doesn’t mean I’m paying for abortion itself – just so we’re clear on that. Whew.


As long as we’re seeking clarity, note this: New Hampshire Right to Life has been fighting for years to get information about how a federal grant materialized for PPNNE after three out of five Executive Councilors said “no” to PP’s Title X contract in 2011. (The Council the same day approved contracts with ten other providers, putting a crimp in attempts to cast Councilors as anti-woman.) In April of this year, NHRTL filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of a lower court decision that turned away in part an NHRTL Freedom of Information Act request about the federal grant. Bits and pieces of information have emerged, but the whole clear story of how the dollars got from the feds to PP is still not on the public record.

This doesn’t mean that history will repeat itself this month. It only means the precedent has been set.

~~~~~

This is as good a time as any to recall the time four years ago just after the Executive Council vote, when Planned Parenthood put enormous public pressure on the three Councilors who had denied them a contract. At that time, I was with New Hampshire’s Cornerstone Policy Research. We teamed up with the Susan B. Anthony List for a press conference to defend the Councilors. That was the day I met Catherine Adair, who spoke to the crowd about her experience as a PP employee. Here’s a reminder that the need to let taxpayers divest their funds from PP didn’t just spring up this week.

 

 

 

Do the math: PPNNE’s investment in NH’s Exec Council

New Hampshire Executive Council chamber (nh.gov photo)
New Hampshire Executive Council chamber (nh.gov photo)

[Update: In the original version of this post, I transposed some expenditures in districts 4 and 5. Corrected figures appear below, and I apologize for the error.]

Just out of curiosity, I looked at the campaign filings for the 2014 New Hampshire Executive Council elections. Planned Parenthood is much in the news, as is the potential for a Council vote on a PP contract soon. Just how much did PP invest in Council races last time around? I counted all PP contributions, whether PAC or independent. You’re welcome to plow through the filings on the Secretary of State’s web site and check my math.

PP groups didn’t bother to spend anything on the district 3 race between Chris Sununu and Robin McLane. Apparently, there wasn’t enough difference between the candidates to justify playing favorites.


In district 1, Joe Kenney had to beat Mike Cryans twice – once in the March 2014 special election after Ray Burton’s death, and then again in November. PP’s investment: $6046.68, with about $3600 of that in pro-Cryans work and the remaining $2400 or so in anti-Kenney material. Both elections were very close, and Kenney prevailed

The candidacy of district 2’s Colin Van Ostern, an avid PP supporter, was the beneficiary of $3520.10. Nothing was spent in opposition to his challenger Timothy Dillon. Van Ostern cruised to an easy win.

Things got serious in district 4. I had no idea Bob Burns was so scary, but PP found it necessary to spend $4853.16 in opposition to him. They backed eventual winner Chris Pappas to the tune of $6140.58. Total investment in district 4: $10,993.74. Pappas won with 52% of the vote.

In district 5, keeping Dave Wheeler from re-claiming his seat was clearly a PP priority. Didn’t work, though. The voters of district 5 went for Wheeler over Diane Sheehan 55%-45%. PP spent $9,993.74 on this one, with $4853.16 on anti-Wheeler material and the rest on pro-Sheehan mailings, calls and donations.

Investment in the Council races: a little over $30,000. We’ll find out the return on that investment next time a PP contract comes up for a vote.