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Another bad bill

If they succeed, a small group of men - the six state representatives sponsoring of House Bill 228 - will make it difficult or impossible for low-income women to get cancer screenings, family planning services and birth control information. The bill is nothing less than an assault on the rights of women and a state intrusion into the lives of families. It should be defeated.

The bill, whose prime sponsor is Milford Republican Robert Willette, would prohibit the state from entering into a contract with Planned Parenthood or any organization that provides abortions. The ban, which extends to federal money that passes through the state's hands as well as state funds, could include Medicaid payments to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other hospitals that provide abortions.

Though some of the bill's sponsors apparently don't realize it, neither the state nor federal government pays for abortions. Public funds are used for family planning and other health care services. Organizations that perform abortions free or at reduced cost must do so with privately-raised money.

If lawmakers agree with the anti-abortion zealots, who speak in terms of preventing mass murder and chopping children into pieces, and pass the bill, women will be denied access to critical health care services. In a triumph of self-defeat, lawmakers will have succeeded not in reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, but increasing them.

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