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Rather than a traditional prayer for the last Executive Council meeting before Christmas on Wednesday, Gov. Chris Sununu read to the council the concluding passages from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” by Dr. Seuss and wished all a Merry Christmas. (PAULA TRACY PHOTO)

CONCORD — Three reproductive health centers that provide 80 percent of the state’s contraceptive services for more than 10,000 women, many of modest means, had their two-year contracts rejected by the state’s Executive Council along partisan lines Wednesday.

The decision will make it more expensive and harder to receive those services and add burdens to emergency rooms and other areas of the state’s health-care system that is now overwhelmed with COVID-19, providers said.

Three other contracts for reproductive health-care centers that do not provide abortions did receive approval.

The council also approved funding for more COVID-19 vaccination sites and testing, along with a campaign to encourage vaccinations.

No federal or state funds can pay for abortions under law, but Republican councilors said they still have unanswered questions about how the funds are separated.

Voting to reject the contracts were Republican Executive Councilors Joe Kenney of Wakefield, Janet Stevens of Rye, Ted Gatsas of Manchester and David Wheeler of Milford.

This vote followed a similar path of a September vote to provide short-term funding for those clinics.

Democrat Cinde Warmington of Concord was the lone supporter of all the contracts.

She asked the Republican majority to put aside politics and support public health at a time when the health-care system in the state is overwhelmed by a pandemic.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, who supported the contracts, asked for reconsideration and said that the matter is not over.

The three clinics that were denied funding are Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which would have received $125,000 in support for this facility in Claremont, Manchester, Keene, Derry and Exeter; Joan G. Lovering Health Center in Greenland which would have received $336,934 and Concord Feminist Health Center (doing business as Equality Health Center), which would have received $558,395.

The contracts approved were for Amoskeag Health of Manchester for $335,512, Coos County Family Health of Berlin for $268,152, and Lamprey Health Care of Nashua for an approved contract of $431,505.

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(1) comment

tjendzejec

Sounds like the Executive Council doesn't need any funding at all. Second time during a pandemic that its turned down money for medical funding! I think they need to be replaced. Remember this at the polls in 2022.

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