Executive Council approves Planned Parenthood contract

Jun 22, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

With little fanfare, the Executive Council approved another state contract with Planned Parenthood and the Equality Health Center (formerly known as the Concord Feminist Health Center).

$275,000 will go to Planned Parenthood and $165,000 to the Equality Health Center to provide early intervention services for individuals with HIV and prevent the spread of the disease.  17% of the funding comes from the federal government, and 83% comes from rebates pharmaceutical companies pay to the state Medicaid program.

The state already contracts with Planned Parenthood and the Equality Health Center to provide birth control, cancer screenings, annual exams, and more for low income individuals. 

In the past these contracts have been the subject of intense debate because Planned Parenthood and the Equality Health Center also provide abortions.  No taxpayer dollars may be spent on abortion services, but pro-life advocates believe these contracts still unjustly support abortion providers.

Leading up to the Executive Council vote on June 21, the conservative advocacy group Cornerstone Action said in an email, “It's not enough to say that a particular contract isn't about abortion. We want no involvement with the abortion industry.” 

Executive Councilor Dave Wheeler also questioned how widely the Department of Health and Human Services advertised the opportunity to bid.

“I can’t believe there are only two entities in the state interested in bidding on these very important HIV services,” said Wheeler. 

Jeffrey Meyers, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services, said that the department followed the same procedure it uses for all of its contracts and posted the bidding opportunity on its website.

Supporters of the contract note that the heroin abuse epidemic has increased the spread of HIV, so there is a critical need for early intervention.

“Providing these targeted resources for enhanced outreach, testing, treatment and prevention measures will help reduce transmission of HIV, maintain the health of people currently living with HIV, provide early intervention to people just diagnosed to better manage and treat HIV,” said Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President for Public Policy at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “These interventions will help mitigate the costs of HIV on patients, families and on communities and ultimately save lives.” 

Do you support the state contract with Planned Parenthood to provide early HIV intervention?  Share your opinion in the comments below.

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