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Planned Parenthood

Northern New England

Our History

Legend has it that Planned Parenthood of Vermont (which later became PPNNE after a series of mergers) was founded in 1965 in Burlington, at the kitchen table of the late Priscilla Welsh.


At the time, abortion was illegal, birth control use was prohibited in some states (even for married couples), and a woman needed her husband's permission to have her tubes tied.

Some highlights from the last 40+ years…


1965 -
 Planned Parenthood of Vermont (PPV), founded by Priscilla Welsh, begins as a volunteer-run referral agency and receives official recognition by PPFA.

1966 - In NH, Planned Parenthood Association of the Upper Valley (PPUV) forms with support from local physicians and concerned citizens. Their first site, in Lebanon, sees patients once a month.

1973 - Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision makes abortion legal.

1984 - PPV and PPUV merge to become Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

1989 - Family Planning Services of Southwestern New Hampshire and PPNNE merge, bringing PPNNE services to Keene, NH.

1992 - PPNNE reaches thousands more women by adding 8 sites to its network in Southern New Hampshire & Maine. In the process, Maine becomes the 49th state with a Planned Parenthood affiliate.

1994 - Fatal shootings of health center staff in Brookline, MA, require PPNNE & abortion providers nationwide to invest thousands of dollars to secure health centers.

1999 - In Maine, anti-choice groups place a referendum banning abortion on the November ballot. The “No on 1 Coalition” mounts an unprecedented campaign and voters decisively reject the ban by a 10% margin.

2001 - President George W. Bush takes office on January 21st and reinstates the “global gag rule” the following day. The Bush administration proves to be a danger to family planning programs and reproductive choice. Following the tragic events of September 11th, over 500 anthrax threat letters are sent to PPNNE and other reproductive health care providers. Federal fugitive Clayton Lee Waagner claims responsibility for these letters and is apprehended.

2002 - Following nearly 1½ years of battles with the Zoning Board and the courts, PPNNE opens its new Manchester, NH, health center.

2004 - The March For Women’s Lives on April 25th marks the largest march in history on our nation’s capital, energizing a new generation of Planned Parenthood supporters.
2005 PPNNE celebrates 40 years of providing personal care and personal choices to women, men, and teens in northern New England.

2006 - The U.S. Supreme Court decides Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, ruling in favor of protecting the health and safety of our nation’s women.

2008 - Barack Obama makes history by winning election as the first African-American president of the United States and ushers in a new era of hope, change, and progress.

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Our History