CONCORD, N.H. — A representative in New Hampshire has proposed a bill that would strip taxpayer funding from organizations that perform or actively advocate for abortion.
Rep. Warren Groen (R-Rochester), who has long been outspoken about his opposition to abortion, recently introduced the legislation, which would bar any business that performs abortions, refers mothers to abortion facilities or advocates for abortion from receiving state money.
“Imagine how poverty-stricken the state has to be, when in order for women to get health care they have to reach out to an organization that kills babies for a living,” he told the Concord Monitor. “How poverty-stricken do you have to be? That’s scraping the bottom of the barrel.”
“In my opinion, [these facilities] are hardly a good choice for health care unless your definition of health care is killing a child,” he added to Foster’s Daily Democrat.
Currently, Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire receives $368,000 in state funds annually for family planning and other services. The Joan G. Lovering Health Center receives $45,000 a year and the Feminist Health Center receives $36,000. Should the bill pass, these organizations would all be stripped of their funding because of their part in ending the lives of the unborn.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, there were 3,200 abortions in the state in 2011, the latest year with figures on file, or 17 percent of all pregnancies.
Groen was part of a bill in 2011 that likewise sought to cut funding to groups that perform abortions, and while it passed in the House of Representatives, it stalled in the Senate. He hopes that this time around, the bill will see passage.
However, in addition to pro-abortion groups, Groen faces opposition from Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, who will likely veto the measure should it make it to her desk.
“The governor will oppose any efforts to defund these critical services and will continue working across the aisle to ensure that women and families have access to the important health services that are essential to the economic security and vitality of our families,” Hassan spokesman William Hinkle told reporters.
While New Hampshire law currently prohibits taxpayer funding from being used for abortion, with the controversial exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother, Groens bill goes one step further to ban abortion-related organizations from receiving state funds at all, even if it isn’t directly used for abortion.
A number of states have passed similar legislation barring abortion providers from receiving Medicaid funding, but several federal courts have struck down the statutes as unconstitutional. However, in 2012, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the state of Texas to strip Planned Parenthood of funding, and denied a request from the organization to reconsider its decision.
“Today’s ruling affirms yet again that in Texas, the Women’s Health Program has no obligation to fund Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortion,” said then-Governor Rick Perry following the decision. “In Texas we choose life, and we will immediately begin defunding all abortion affiliates to honor and uphold that choice.”
Photo: Jared C. Benedict