Nashua, NH - On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Executive Council voted 3-2 to approve a routine contract to enable Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to continue providing preventive health services to over 12,000 women and men throughout New Hampshire. District 5 Executive Councilor David Wheeler opposed the contract, along with District 1 Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, both Republicans.

"Quality, affordable health care is the building block of a successful life and should never be subject to partisan politics," said Dan Weeks, former Executive Director of Open Democracy and Democratic candidate for Executive Council in District 5. "I congratulate Republican Councilor Chris Sununu on joining Democratic Councilors Chris Pappas and Colin Van Ostern to return our state to its longstanding bipartisan tradition of investing in women's health, even as my opponent Councilor Wheeler decided to again prioritize his personal ideology over the needs and wishes of his constituents. If I am elected Councilor in District 5, I will ensure that New Hampshire continues the vital tradition of supporting women's health."

From 1972 to 2011, New Hampshire participated in the federal-state Title X partnership by funding community health centers, like Planned Parenthood, which provide well-woman exams, cancer screenings, and contraception for thousands of Granite Staters. The contracts were consistently approved without controversy by Republican-dominated Executive Councils, in part because of Planned Parenthood's track record of reducing the rate of abortions and teenage pregnancies, which have fallen to their lowest level in forty years. No public funds are permitted to be spent on abortions.

In 2011 and 2015, the all-male Executive Council voted 3-2 along party lines to single out and strip Planned Parenthood of all state funds, against the wishes of the NH Legislature and the Department of Health and Human Services. The decision limits services for over 12,000 low-income women and men who rely on Planned Parenthood's five community health centers for cost-saving primary and reproductive health care. According to Planned Parenthood reports, the organization provides over $3 million in free or reduced-price services to clients, over 90 percent of whom are either poor or near-poor.

"If our goal is protecting women's health, reducing abortions and teenage pregnancies, and saving taxpayer money, this contract is a no-brainer," Weeks said. "My opponent espouses a 'pro-life' and 'fiscally-conservative' position but his actions do not appear to bear it out, nor do they represent the wishes of his constituents. I urge Councilor Wheeler to stop playing politics with women's health through his rejection of routine Planned Parenthood contracts and other gender-equity reforms."

A 2015 Hart Research Associates survey, conducted in the aftermath of a video smear campaign against Planned Parenthood by anti-abortion activists, found two-thirds of Granite Staters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood.