CONCORD, N.H. – On Tuesday, December 22, the Strafford County Superior Court ruled that New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services should not have delayed releasing documents under a valid “right to know” request from New Hampshire Right to Life.
The documents in question related to the licensing of Planned Parenthood’s distribution of the abortion drug RU-486 and FDA safety protocols required under NH state law.
“It was clear Planned Parenthood and the NH Dept. of Health and Human Services worked together to try to thwart a legitimate Right to Know request from NHRTL,” says Jane Cormier, President of NHRTL. “This was a victory for all community organizations, businesses, and individuals who seek transparency and fairness from their government. NH DHHS broke the law when it did not enforce a simple right to know request. By doing so, they gave Planned Parenthood the ability to redact important information regarding RU-486 protocols, which Planned Parenthood was legally required to fully disclose. It is our hope that in the future, Planned Parenthood will not receive unfair advantage and support from the New Hampshire Dept. of Health and Human Services,” says Cormier.
While the state and Planned Parenthood admitted they spent time working together to determine which parts of the documents should and should not be released to NHRTL, Judge Tucker of the Strafford County Superior Court concluded “it should have produced the protocols to NHRTL without redactions.” Judge Tucker also ruled the state must pay all attorneys’ fees and costs to New Hampshire Right to Life.
“The people of New Hampshire do not need permission from Planned Parenthood to see records that are theirs to see. The court was right to recognize that the state should not have given Planned Parenthood the ability to determine what is and is not a public document,” says Michael Tierney, legal counsel of NHRTL and attorney of Wadleigh, Starr, and Peters in Manchester.