New Hampshire’s compromise budget contains good news and bad news for those defending the right to life and conscience rights. Cornerstone applauds the decision to block direct funding of abortion, and at the same time denounces the increase in funding to abortion providers masked as “family planning dollars.”
Here’s the good news.
Pro-life senators and representatives stood firm on keeping taxpayers from directly paying for the intentional termination of human life. As you may remember, the budget proposed in June by House and Senate contained a provision (with language similar to the federal Hyde Amendment) that would repeal a prohibition on using state funds to pay for abortions directly.
Thankfully, the compromise budget keeps the prohibition on state funds to pay for abortion. Language similar to the federal Hyde Amendment is part of New Hampshire’s budget once again.
Here’s the bad news.
The trade-off for retaining the Hyde Amendment language was to dramatically increase the amount of money from the state’s general fund that will go directly to abortion providers. New Hampshire taxpayers who want no part of providing abortions are now more entangled than ever in the abortion industry.
You will hear the argument that the increase is supposedly for non-abortion work, specifically family planning. That’s true. (Family planning is a regular part of the state Department of Health and Human Services budget.) What is eyebrow-raising is that the new budget has a line item amount for family planning that is sharply increased from last year’s budget. Has there been a spike in unintended pregnancies? No. The sole reason for the increase is that abortion providers demanded it.
How and why that was done
The federal government’s Title X program gives money to states for use in family planning programs. The state then gives contracts to various agencies to carry out those family planning programs. In New Hampshire, those agencies include Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and other abortion providers.
The federal Title X program recently instituted a new rule that Title X funds cannot go to abortion providers. PPNNE and its allies promptly announced that they would refuse Title X money rather than give up performing abortions. Let that sink in: some state family planning contractors are so wedded to abortion in their business models that they will say no to anything that interferes that model. They put abortion ahead of the health care needs of their clients receiving Title X services.
Abortion-friendly legislators in New Hampshire then supported those abortion providers by including enough money in the state budget to make up for those same federal dollars the abortion providers previously rejected. Abortion providers thus wouldn’t have to sacrifice a dime.
Therefore, under the compromise budget recently adopted, additional money is going to abortion providers precisely because they are abortion providers. This is a disservice to every Granite Stater.
So, while New Hampshire taxpayers are protected under the new budget compromise from funding abortion directly, at least for now, there is still much to be done because the Governor and General Court unfortunately chose to treat indirect funding of abortion as a bargaining chip. Politics means compromise, but the right to life and conscience rights are non-negotiable.
The fantasy that funding abortion directly is somehow different from funding abortion providers has been exposed in this budget for what it is: a shell game.
Surely, funds for genuine health care shouldn’t be held hostage by abortion advocates, and the conscience rights of Granite Staters should not be a bargaining chip in budget negotiations.
Yes, the budget’s blocking of direct funding of abortion was a victory for New Hampshire, but there’s still much to be done. Cornerstone will continue to work with Granite Staters and elected officials committed to keeping abortion providers out of taxpayers’ pockets.
Vire at Cornerstone Action