Pro-Life Group Sues HHS to Force Release of Documents on Planned Parenthood Funding

By Philip Shepherd | December 28, 2011 | 10:27am EST

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( – New Hampshire Right to Life is suing the Obama administration in an attempt to force the release of information regarding $1-million in taxpayer money awarded to Planned Parenthood’s six New Hampshire clinics.

The grant – awarded by the Health and Human Service Department (HHS) in September -- came three months after New Hampshire’s governing body rejected federal money for clinics that perform abortions.

New Hampshire is unique in that its Executive Council must approve any grants over $10,000.  Moreover, Title X explicitly prohibits funding programs that offer where abortion is a method of family planning, the lawsuit notes.

The lawsuit stems from an Oct. 7, 2011 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. New Hampshire Right to Life on that date asked HHS for documents regarding the million-dollar grant – and why it was not put out for competitive bidding so hospitals and health clinics could have applied for the funding as well.

Because the Department of Health and Human Services failed to comply with the FOIA request in the time allotted, New Hampshire Right to Life is seeking a court order that will force it to produce the requested documents – including communications between Planned Parenthood and HHS.

The million dollar grant to Planned Parenthood -- awarded in mid-September -- is intended to fund family planning and birth control services at Planned Parenthood’s six New Hampshire clinics.

In June 2011, the New Hampshire’s Executive Council voted to award Title X funds to community health clinics and other providers in rural parts of the state but decided not to provide approximately $1.8 million to Planned Parenthood’s 6 clinics in Manchester, Derry, Keene, Exeter, Lebanon and Claremont. Each of those towns has a full service hospital, the lawsuit noted.

The Executive Council expressed its concern that Planned Parenthood was not able to provide sufficient guarantees that the Title X funds would not be used to subsidize abortions.

In denying the award to Planned Parenthood, “the Executive Council specifically requested that hospitals or community health facilities be found who would be willing to provide the Title X services,” the lawsuit said.

"The people of New Hampshire have the right to know why the Obama administration gave Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest baby killer, a million taxpayer dollars while cutting funding for state hospitals and community clinics,” N.H. Right to Life President Kurt Wuelper said in a statement released to the media. “

“The administration has defied the will of the people by flooding New Hampshire with unwanted abortion money and has violated the public trust by covering up its communications with its abortion industry cronies.  It’s time for HHS to reveal what it is hiding and stop violating the Freedom of Information Act."

New Hampshire Right to Life says it wants review the documentation to “make sure there were no improprieties.”

The New Hampshire Right to Life Web site states, “We defend all innocent human life without exception or compromise because a genuine pro-life ethic insists, like the Declaration of Independence, that we are all created equal.”

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