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Council rejects $1.8 million contract with Planned Parenthood

CONCORD - The Executive Council voted Wednesday against funding a $1.8 million contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

After a lengthy discussion about condoms, family planning and abortion, the Council rejected the contract on a 3-2 vote with Councilor Dan St. Hilaire of Concord casting the deciding vote. Also voting against it were councilors David Wheeler of Nashua and Raymond J. Wieczorek of Manchester. Councilors Raymond S. Burton of Bath and Chris Sununu of Newfields backed the spending.

The council seemingly singled out Planned Parenthood after tabling action on 11 other contracts with community health service providers.

St. Hilaire said the Planned Parenthood contract differed in that the organization directly provides abortions, it's CEO earns in excess of $250,000 a year, and most of its services and administration are located out of state in Williston, Vt.

Nick Toumpas, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, said he is unsure what affect defunding Planned Parenthood would have on delivery of services to New Hampshire residents.

Planned Parenthood made national headlines earlier this year after employees were secretly videotaped by Live Action, a pro-life group, allegedly facilitating underage prostitution at several clinics across the country. The organization denies the claim, but fired several employees and volunteers in the wake of the incident.

The council did approve contracts for family planning services at Indian Stream Health Center Inc. in Colebrook, Child Health Services in Manchester, Weeks Medical Center in Lancaster, Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack County in Concord, Goodwin Community Health of Dover, Lamprey Health Care Inc. of Newmarket, White Mountain Community Health Center in Conway, Concord Hospital in Concord and Ammonoosuc Community Services in Littleton.

None of those agencies provide abortion services.

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