This week, New Hampshire residents watched as the executive branch of the federal government blatantly overrode the decision of their elected state representatives and awarded more than $1 million in federal funds to Planned Parenthood. In June, the Executive Council of New Hampshire chose not to renew a $1.8 million contract with the abortion provider, but the federal funds mean Planned Parenthood of New England will end up with the equivalent of 16 months of the 18-month grant it would have received had the Council renewed the contract. LifeNews.com explains why this decision matters, even though the federal funding won’t explicitly go to fund abortions:
The Obama administration, according to a Concord Monitor report, will award Planned Parenthood of Northern New England $1 million which, although it won’t fund abortions, frees up money the abortion business would otherwise have to spend on family planning to pay for staff, facilities and advertising promoting and performing abortions. Administration officials did not provide any competitive process for other non-abortion agencies to compete for the $1 million grant, and the newspaper said HHS officials indicated that was done because Planned Parenthood was the sole grant recipient previously.
But, arguably, it’s the arrogance and disregard for the decisions of elected officials that make HHS’s decision so objectionable. Certainly, as fight after fight over Planned Parenthood funding has played out in state after state, it’s become increasingly clear that PP’s stronghold is in the executive branch — not on the ground. But the abortion agency — and the executive branch — might ultimately be shooting themselves in the foot with such blatant power grabs.
“There will be backlash in New Hampshire as in any state where the executive moves in to override the will of a state,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, told me today. “Legally they can do this, but, politically, this is just the type of move that has created a firestorm on the ground that has really renewed the pro-life movement. … The backlash will be in the presidential. He’s gone out on a limb for Planned Parenthood, but for the president to have raised his hand on this was a mistake. His overreach once again on this issue will hurt him politically in his reelect and it will hurt senators who are on his team.”
As in NY-9, social issues might receive less play in the press — but they’re still a powerful factor in elections and, as with the economy, the president is on the wrong side of this one.
Update: This post originally mistakenly referred to the “Executive Council of New Jersey” in the first paragraph instead of the the “Executive Council of New Hampshire.” The post has been corrected above.