NH council demands HHS nix grant to Planned Parenthood

A majority of the New Hampshire Executive Council is demanding that the Obama administration cancel a $1.1 million grant to Planned Parenthood that was awarded over the states objections.

The council voted 3-2 in June to terminate a $1.8 million annual grant to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England over concerns about taxpayer funding for abortion. Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would directly contract with the family-planning clinics.

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In a letter to HHS officials and the Government Accountability Office, the three members who voted to terminate the funding blasted HHS for a decision they call improper, irregular, unnecessary, in contravention of the authority of the Executive Council and its duly elected members, and in absolute disregard of the sovereignty of the State of New Hampshire.

The letter also takes HHS to task for its alleged lack of transparency. The members wrote that the department has treated the councils requests for information as formal Freedom of Information Act requests that go through a sometimes-lengthy vetting process, and has thus failed to respond promptly to the councils request for documentation about the grant and its award.

In stark contrast to HHS unannounced process leading up to [the award], the members wrote, all aspects of the Executive Councils decision were and are matters of public record and were and are well-known to HHS.

HHS called its noncompetitive grant an urgent replacement grant designed to minimize the interruption of needed clinical services and to protect the public health in New Hampshire.