New Hampshire Delegation Stands with Planned Parenthood as Trump Administration’s Domestic Gag Rule Threatens Women’s Reproductive Health Care in New Hampshire

April 22, 2019

Planned Parenthood Press Conference 4.22.2019

Senator Shaheen & Representatives Kuster and Pappas join Planned Parenthood leadership at a press conference in Concord in opposition to the Trump administration’s attacks on women’s reproductive health.

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Chris Pappas (NH-01) joined  Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England President and CEO Meaghan Gallagher and health care providers and patients for a women’s health press conference at New England College earlier today. 

Led by Senator Shaheen, members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation slammed President Trump and his administration for their incessant attacks on women’s reproductive health and rights. Specifically, members of the delegation and leadership from Planned Parenthood addressed the President’s recent final determination to change the Title X family planning program, which effectively imposes a domestic gag rule that will prohibit women’s health care providers that advise patients on abortion services from receiving federal funding. This rule will impact access to reproductive health care services for women who utilize providers such as Planned Parenthood for comprehensive health care. In July, Senators Shaheen and Hassan sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, opposing this specific rule. Representative Kuster has been a vocal opponent of the rule as well, and also previously wrote to Secretary Azar and Congressional leadership in opposition to the proposed changes to Title X. 

“The domestic gag rule is a backdoor attempt by the Trump administration to block women from accessing reproductive health care and leave women in the dark about the full range of reproductive options,” said Senator Shaheen. “I continue to do everything I can to stop these dangerous policies because President Trump and Republican leaders must not be allowed to get between women and their doctors. Family planning clinics provide 16,000 Granite Staters with services every year, many of whom are low-income and their visits to providers like Planned Parenthood may be the only doctor appointments they have all year. I appreciate Dr. Wen’s visit to New Hampshire to help send the message loud and clear that we will not sit idly by while the President tries to strip access to reproductive health care for thousands of Granite Staters. It’s time for more Republicans to stand with Democrats and help us fight back.” 

“I’m disturbed that the Trump Administration is attacking access to health care services for thousands of Granite State women and their families,” said Representative Kuster. “The Trump Administration’s rule to impose a domestic gag rule on the Title X family planning program will restrict women’s access to comprehensive health care services by preventing patients from discussing a full range of reproductive health care options with their doctors. Each year in New Hampshire, the Title X program enables thousands of Granite Staters to access critical care like STD & HIV testing, birth control, and cervical cancer screenings. This new rule is a direct attack on the low-income families who rely on Title X, and it seeks to undermine the trust and transparency that is essential to relationships between patients and their health care providers. I’m proud to join with Dr. Leana Wen, Senator Shaheen, Congressman Pappas and the strong advocates with us today to stand up for the reproductive health care rights of women and families across New Hampshire.” 

“New Hampshire has seen the impact that reductions in funding for essential health care services has on health outcomes,” said Representative Pappas. “For example, the State of New Hampshire’s STD prevention program has gone unfunded in recent years, resulting in a spike in STDs. The dismantling of the Title X will only exacerbate these health challenges when we should be increasing funding to address them. The bottom line is patients will be harmed by this rule. The politicians who are pushing this rule need to know that there are real people who will be hurt if they cannot receive their care from Planned Parenthood.” 

“The Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule is unethical, illegal, and dangerous. It would result in millions of people losing life-saving care including breast and cervical cancer screenings and STI and HIV testing and treatment,” said Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “I am glad to join my colleagues in New Hampshire to talk about how gutting this program that provides primary and preventive care will take away health care access and worsen health outcomes for those who are most vulnerable, including women and families with low-incomes and people who live in rural areas. Planned Parenthood will fight this unconscionable rule through every avenue. We will be here to provide care no matter who you are, what your income, or where you come from.”

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) CEO and President Meagan Gallagher highlighted the impact the gag rule will in New Hampshire. “Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is proud to be able to provide low cost, quality care to everyone who needs it, regardless of income or zip code. But that is at risk with the decision of the Trump administration to dismantle the Title X program on May 3,” Gallagher said.

Senator Shaheen is a dedicated advocate for women’s reproductive rights. Shaheen has been fighting for years to increase coverage of women’s preventative care in the annual defense authorization bill. Earlier this month, Shaheen led the bicameral effort in Congress to reintroduce legislation that would overhaul the Department of Defense’s (DOD) policy on contraceptive coverage and family planning to bring it in line with current law for civilian populations. The bill would ensure all women who receive health care through the United States military have access to all forms of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraception with no health insurance co-pay. Last week, Shaheen reintroduced the Access to Birth Control Act with Senator Cory Booker (D-NH), which would guarantee patients’ timely access to birth control at the pharmacy.  Shaheen has also repeatedly fought to repeal the Global Gag Rule, which bans critical federal aid for non-governmental groups that provide the full scope of family planning and maternal health services abroad.