by Pam Raley.
On July 27, New Hampshire’s Executive Council—for the fourth time in a year— denied funding for family planning services at three healthcare centers in spite of support from a majority of NH citizens. The amount requested was approximately $1.42 million according to the July 22nd New Hampshire Bulletin online news source. Councilor Cinde Warmington, Democrat, was the one vote in favor of the proposal. The defeated proposal would have served nearly 17,600 Granite Staters. At issue was the question of funding for abortions. The money in this proposal would absolutely not have covered abortions.
Many of us are unaware of the impact the EC has on our lives through its many votes. It is a significant part of the financial decisions the State makes, and we voters are able to influence its decisions, at the ballot box, by voting for its members. That choice is ours again in the coming election
5 Executive Council members are elected every two years in the same year as the governor’s election. Each member represents 264,000 citizens or one fifth of the population. In addition to approving state contracts above $10,000.The EC’s official website (NH Executive Council) lists its other responsibilities; some of these responsibilities are:
Spending approval for the approximately $5.2 billion dollars that is appropriated by the legislature.
Plays a vital role in improving the state’s infrastructure… ….via oversight and management of the state’s 10 year Highway Plan.
Councilors are elected every 2 years to serve as advocates for the people.
Most of the nearly 17,600 Granite Staters impacted by this decrease in health services are people who are low-income; uninsured or under-insured; LGBTQ, refugees; and people at risk of unintended pregnancy due to substance-use disorders. Health care provided at the three centers includes cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, birth control, annual exams, education on abstinence and safer sex. None of the requested $1.42 million could by law be used for abortions.
According to the July 22nd NH Bulletin, “Health and Human Services audited the three providers, per a new legislative requirement, and told executive councilors in September none of the money is being used for abortions.” On July 27th, the Bulletin reported that “the Attorney General’s office has confirmed these findings.” Despite these assurances from our state’s human service and legal professionals, the EC voted down the Family Planning Program’s request. There does not seem to be any reasonable explanation for its decision.
When I was a girl, my father said that it is important “to know what you don’t know.” It’s useful to go to those with the information you need so you are completely informed. The Executive Council has chosen to disregard the information provided to it by the NH Department of Health and Human Services and verified by the Attorney General. This health care funding request did not include funds for abortions. Nonetheless, the Councilors chose to deny essential health care to 17,600 people of our state. We can imagine the misery that will follow when these citizens are unable to find the very health care and information they need to take good care of their health.
When you vote in the upcoming elections, look on the ballot for the Democratic candidate for Executive Council, and put wisdom and fairness back into the Council’s decisions.
Learn more about the Council at its website:
NH Executive Council, link here: https://www.nh.gov/council/
About the Author:
Pam Raley has lived in Dover since 2004 after retiring from careers as a Speech/Language Therapist in the Seacoast for 18 years, including ten in Kittery, Maine, followed by 16 years as Family Support Coordinator in Rockingham County's non-profit agency serving people with developmental disabilities and acquired brain injury. This agency is the counterpart of Strafford County's Community Partners. After graduating from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, she taught English to secondary school girls north of Bangkok, Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer, and lived with a Thai family for part of her time there. This experience living in another culture was one of the most wonderful of her life. She earned her Master’s degree from Boston University after returning from Thailand in 1968.
In addition to her work as a Dover Democrat where she was on the Executive Committee and Chair of Ward 1, she reads, knits, practices yoga, picks up litter weekly while walking with a friend, and maintains many friendships from college days onward. She is looking forward to her son Ben’s return with his wife to the Seacoast in the near future.