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Shaheen Visits Planned Parenthood Health Center, River Valley Com. College

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Planned Parenthood Vice President of Public Policy Jennifer Frizzell talk about the renovations and the future of Planned Parenthood during Shaheen?s visit to Claremont on Wednesday. Shaheen?s visit to the health center was to show support for the facility following two separate acts of vandalism against it last fall (Bill Binder photo).

CLAREMONT, NH--Senator Jeanne Shaheen made two stops in Claremont on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Shaheen?s first stop was at Planned Parenthood on Pleasant St. This Planned Parenthood facility was vandalized twice in October, the first time graffiti was painted on the outside walls but on Oct. 21, the damage was much more severe. The destruction, performed by a minor, destroyed computers, plumbing, phones and medical equipment throughout the building. According to clinic manager Sharon Chase, renovations to the interior totaled almost $90,000.

Shaheen said, "I admire the courage and compassion of all the staff at the Claremont Planned Parenthood clinic, despite threats, intimidation and even vandalism, they have remained dedicated to providing critical healthcare services to women."

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Vice President of Public Policy Jennifer Frizzell told Sen. Shaheen that over 12,000 patients were served at Planned Parenthood health centers in the Granite State last year. Frizzell said that Planned Parenthood will stick to its motto: "These doors stay open, no matter what," even though the state Executive Council decided to defund the organization in August.

"It is unfortunate that this issue has been politicized," Shaheen said. "I will continue to fight all attempts to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level."

On Tuesday, Senator David Pierce (D-Lebanon) introduced SB 542, which creates a penalty for criminal interference with health services. After the Senate Health and Human Services Committee public hearing on SB 542, Pierce released the following comments: "Targeted attacks on health care facilities because they provide reproductive health services are attacks on the fundamental right of our citizens to access health care. It is time to end extreme attempts to block access to critical health services and SB 542 makes clear that if someone targets a reproductive health care facility because of the services they provide, they will be held accountable for their acts."

Last October's targeted vandalism at the Claremont Planned Parenthood clinic forced the facility to close for six weeks in order to repair the damage.

Shaheen?s second stop was at the River Valley Community College for a roundtable discussion on student loan debt. Shaheen and River Valley Community Collage President Alicia Harvey-Smith met with administrators, City officials, students and business leaders to discuss solutions to the national issue of student loan debt. Student loan debt is second only to mortgage debt, according to Shaheen. Items discussed included different approaches to making loans to students and legislation to help students repay their outstanding loans.