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The organization that eventually became Planned Parenthood of Northern New England was founded in 1965.

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. 

  • 1916-1964: To read how Planned Parenthood Federation of America was formed, to which PPNNE belongs, visit the 100th anniversary website.
  • 1965: After a discussion at the Unitarian Church in Burlington, VT, Priscilla “Puss” Welsh, along with Minister Gaston Carrier, Betty Van Buren, Jody Thomas and Mary Jane Gray, formally organize themselves into a private, voluntary family planning organization known as Planned Parenthood Association of Vermont (PPV).
  • 1966: In New Hampshire, Planned Parenthood Association of the Upper Valley (PPUV) is officially formed with support from local physicians and concerned citizens including Shirley Anderson, Jackie Clement, John Copenhaver, Dr. Jack Schleicher, and Madlyn Smith.
  • 1968: Cumberland County, ME Community Action Program begin the process of developing a family planning program and
    holds its first clinic in North Windham at the office of Dr. Henick, under the leadership of first Executive Director Judy Coggeshall. This eventually grows to become Southern Coastal Family Planning, serving 4 counties and 7,000 patients.
  • 1971: PPV begins working with groups to overturn Vermont's anti-abortion law. It takes over a year to and patient willing to testify, but finally Jacqueline R. comes forward.  Dr. Jack Beecham argued before the court that Jacqueline’s privacy was invaded and his right to take care of his patient was denied. The court dismisses the case and we appeal to the
    Vermont Supreme Court.
  • 1972: The Vermont Supreme court rules in favor of Jacqueline R. and Vermont becomes the fourth state to legalize abortion.
  • 1973: January 22nd - Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision makes abortion legal across the United States. 27 year old Attorney Sarah Weddington won the case.
  • 1984: PPV and PPUV merge to become Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
  • 1989-1992: Through mergers with Family Planning Services of Southwestern New Hampshire in Keene, Health Options in Manchester, NH, Southern Coastal Family Planning, and Rockingham County Family Planning, PPNNE reaches out to thousands more women, adding 8 health centers to its network in southern New Hampshire and Maine. In the process, Maine becomes the 49th state in the nation with a Planned Parenthood affiliate.
  • 1992: The “Gag Rule” is introduced, prohibiting patients in federally funded Title X health centers from receiving any answers or information on abortion. PPNNE refuses to be gagged and separates its pregnancy testing and counseling services from Title X subsidized funds, attempting to make the Gag Rule irrelevant.
  • 1994: A crude, homemade bomb is discovered outside of PPNNE’s St. Albans Health Center. This, as well as the brutal
    murders of doctors and health center staff in Brookline, MA and Pensacola, FL, prompts PPNNE 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 percent margin.
  • 2000: President George W. Bush takes office and reinstates the “Gag Rule.”
  • 2001: Following September 11th, over 500 anthrax threat letters are sent to PPNNE and other reproductive health care providers.
  • 2002: Following nearly 1 ½ years of battles with the Zoning Board and the court, PPNNE opens its new Manchester, NH health center.
  • 2004: On April 25, The March For Women’s Lives is held and becomes the largest march in history on our nation’s capital, energizing the next generation of Planned Parenthood supporters.
  • 2006: The U.S. Supreme Court decides Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, ruling in favor of protecting the health and safety of women by ensuring that parental notification laws contain a medical emergency exception.
  • 2011: The federal government nearly shuts down over funding for Planned Parenthood. Ultimately, President Barack Obama stands with us and protects services for millions of women, teens and families. Also in 2011, The New Hampshire Executive Council votes against renewing the state’s contract with PPNNE. PPNNE is suddenly stripped of the ability to dispense low-cost birth control and antibiotics to uninsured patients. In September, funding was restored through contracting directly with the federal government.
  • 2012: PPNNE launches a sexual health information video series on YouTube called A Naked Notion. Also in 2012, The Affordable Care Act requires private insurance plans to cover a wide range of preventive services, including birth control, without patient co-pays.
  • 2013: PPNNE is awarded competitive Navigator grants in VT and NH to help individuals find and enroll in health insurance coverage. PPNNE secures support through a private grant to launch a health insurance information and outreach program in southern Maine. Also in 2013, PPNNE brings a telemedicine pilot to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, paving the way for increased access to medical care in rural communities.
  • 2014: The Affordable Care Act’s insurance market place rolls out and PPNNE assists more than 4,000 individuals in finding and enrolling in a health insurance plan. PPNNE enrolls thousands more in expanded family planning coverage programs in Vermont and New Hampshire. 
  • 2015: PPNNE celebrates 50 years of providing, promoting, and protecting access to reproductive health care and sexuality education so that all people can make voluntary choices about their reproductive and sexual health.

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