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NH bill bars contracts with abortion providers

January 18, 2012
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CONCORD, N.H.—New Hampshire's House voted Wednesday to bar publicly funded contracts with organizations that provide elective abortions even if private money is used to pay for the service.

The House deleted a provision that would have also barred public employee insurance from covering most abortions.

The House voted 207-147 to prohibit the state from contracting with Planned Parenthood Federation of America and other organizations that provide abortion services. The bill would bar contracts regardless of whether they are funded by state or federal money. Supporters argued tax dollars should not be used to support organizations that provide abortions.

"I do not want to contribute to the stopping of a baby's heart with my tax dollars," said Rep. Susan DeLemus, R-Rochester.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides some reproductive health services to poor people, but no publicly funded abortions.

The bill would allow medical procedures to save the life of the child, remove a dead fetus and remove an ectopic pregnancy. The bill also allows funding to organizations that perform federally approved abortions under Medicaid rules.

Opponents said the bill would hurt women by making it harder for them to get family planning services.

Rep. Alida Millham, R-Gilford, said the contracting prohibition would include hospitals. She said the bill would have unintended consequences, which could include the federal government contracting directly for family planning services.

But Rep. Warren Groen, R-Rochester, argued abortion providers, including hospitals, could set up a separate business to handle abortion services considered to be elective.

"This is our opportunity to reclaim the sanctity of life in one small area and that is the area of government funding," he said.

The Senate next considers the bill.

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