The Corner

New Hampshire Gubernatorial Candidate Flips on Support for Planned Parenthood Funding

New Hampshire executive councilor Chris Sununu, a candidate for governor, no longer opposes renewing the state’s funding contract with Planned Parenthood.

Last year, after the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood officials allegedly discussing fetal-tissue sales, I wrote a piece featuring the pro-choice Republican for his opposition to funding the organization while it was under investigation. The state’s elected council voted last August to cut $639,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood by declining to renew the state’s contract with the abortion provider.

Today, however, the Executive Council voted 3–2, with Sununu as the swing vote, to restore the contract, which will provide $549,000 in state funding to New Hampshire Planned Parenthood clinics.

Sununu released a statement following the vote:

I stand by my principle that this state should not conduct business with groups under any investigation or that are embroiled in serious controversy. As has been widely reported, charges against Planned Parenthood for these alleged practices were dismissed by court order. As this group is no longer under investigation, they should be treated like any other organization that comes before the Council.

Though Sununu’s vote was technically consistent with his original principle, this result is disappointing. It’s hard to understand how someone who viewed and took seriously the videos filmed by the Center for Medical Progress could so easily accept the court’s dismissal as final. Last year Sununu told me the videos “disgusted” him and called them “disturbing.” These words describe visceral reactions to events playing out self-evidently before one’s eyes. Are the scenes of Planned Parenthood officials openly haggling over prices for fetal body parts no longer fundamentally objectionable to Sununu?

Even if the court is correct that there was no evidence of strictly illegal action, perhaps Sununu should allow the pull of his conscience to shape his principles.

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