Fuller Clark calls on Republican Leaders to Stand Up Against Vulgar Attacks on Women, Family Planning
Concord, NH - Former Senator Martha Fuller Clark, a long-time leader in the fight to ensure quality health care for women, today called on Republican leaders to let New Hampshire women know whether or not they agree with Republican Executive Councilor Ray Wieczorek's vulgar and outrageous comments regarding women and family planning.
Wieczorek told the Concord Monitor that he didn't believe the state should support family planning efforts. "If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it," he remarked.
"Is this the new position of New Hampshire's Republican party?" Fuller Clark asked. "Do other Republican leaders in New Hampshire -- Kelly Ayotte, Frank Guinta, John Stephen, and Ovide Lamontange -- agree with this insulting remark? Do they also oppose all efforts to support responsible family planning?"
"Along with Republican Councilors Dan St. Hilaire and David Wheeler, Councilor Wieczorek voted to deny a contract with Planned Parenthood of New Hampshire. In the last year, Planned Parenthood has provided contraception for 13,242 patients in New Hampshire. It has also provided 6,112 breast exams, 5,548 screenings for cervical cancer, and 18,858 tests for sexually transmitted infections. Councilors Wieczorek's, St.Hilaire's and Wheeler's votes ended access to these services July 1st."
Today, hundreds of women are being turned away unable to access affordable birth control and life saving exams and screenings because of the votes of St. Hilaire, Wieczorek, and Wheeler.
"Mr. Wieczorek's comments and votes are shameful!" said Fuller Clark. "Not only did he put the health care of thousands of women at risk with his irresponsible vote, this comment makes it clear that he hasn't considered the dangerous effects of eliminating family planning resources and that his respect for women is at an all time low."
Insinuating that women who visit Planned Parenthood for health care or contraception are merely looking for 'a good time' is vulgar, ignorant, and disgraceful. Women deserve more. First and foremost they deserve respect. And they deserve the same right to reproductive and preventive health care and contraception as men do. But Mr. Wieczorek, it seems, is only interested in cutting access to affordable and responsible health care for half the people needed to produce a child."
"I sincerely hope that the New Hampshire Republican Party will not allow this comment to speak for all Granite State Republicans. Access to preventive and reproductive health care for women should not be a partisan issue. I call upon Senator Ayotte, Congressman Guinta, and the Republican leadership to speak out against these dreadful comments and stand up for the rights and respect of women in this state and across the country."
Martha Fuller Clark sent the letter below to Senator Kelly Ayotte, Congressman Frank Guinta, John Stephen, Ovide Lamogntange, and Chairman Jack Kimball this morning.
Hon. Martha Fuller Clark
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
July 13, 2011
Senator Kelly Ayotte
Congressman Frank Guinta
Chairman Jack Kimball
New Hampshire Republican Party
Dear Congressman Guinta, John Stephen, Ovide Lamontagne, Chairman Kimball, and Senator Ayotte:
Access to quality, affordable reproductive health care is a critical issue for both the men and women of New Hampshire. Reproductive health care helps catch and ensure early treatment of diseases such as breast and ovarian cancers. It helps prevent the spread of diseases that may endanger the public health. Comprehensive reproductive health care also helps men and women access responsible family planning methods that will reduce unwanted pregnancies, which in turn reduces health risks to women, the need for abortions, and public health expenses.
That is why I was so concerned last week when a prominent leader of the Republican Party condemned the concept of family planning. Republican Executive Councilor Ray Wieczorek told the Concord Monitor that he didn't believe the state should support family planning efforts, remarking that, "If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?" This comes on the heels of a vote by three Republican members of the Executive Council to block family planning contracts, including a contract to Planned Parenthood.
Mr. Wieczorek's comments and votes are shameful. Insinuating that women who visit Planned Parenthood for preventive health care or contraception are merely looking for 'a good time' is vulgar, ignorant, and disgraceful. Women deserve more. First and foremost they deserve respect. And they deserve the same right to reproductive health care, preventive health care, and contraception as men.
In the last year, Planned Parenthood has provided contraception for 13,242 patients in New Hampshire. It has also have provided 6,112 breast exams, 5,548 screenings for cervical cancer, and 18,858 tests for sexually transmitted infections. Since July 1st, as a direct result of the Executive Council's vote, all six Planned Parenthood clinics in New Hampshire are no longer able to provide access to affordable birth control and life saving exams and screenings. They will have to turn away hundreds of women throughout the state in need of these vital services.
I am deeply concerned by the actions of the Executive Council and the words of Councilor Wieczoreck. I am equally concerned by the silence from the other leaders of the Republican Party, both elected officials and potential candidates. For decades, there has been support from Republican governors, members of Congress, members of the legislature, and members of the Executive Council for family planning. Two members of the Executive Council, Chris Sununu and Ray Burton, continued that tradition last week. The people of New Hampshire deserve to hear from other Republican leaders about whether you support Councilor Wieczoreck's comments and the vote of the Executive Council to reject family planning contracts which will result not only in the loss of services to the women of New Hampshire but also increases costs to state taxpayers.
I sincerely hope that the New Hampshire Republican Party will not allow this comment and the votes of Councilors Wieczoreck, Wheeler, and St. Hilaire to speak for all Granite State Republicans. Access to preventive and reproductive health care for women should not be a partisan issue.
I am asking each of you, as one of the leaders in the Republican Party, to make clear publicly that you do not agree with Councilor Wieczoreck's statements or with the votes of Councilors Wheeler, Wieczoreck, and St. Hilaire.
Martha Fuller Clark