Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator Linda Greenstein and Senator Troy Singleton joined with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey today to support Title X health care services.
The legislators pledged to restore and preserve funding for reproductive care in defiance of President Donald Trump’s “gag rule,” which forces care providers to withhold medical information from their patients.
“Doctors should be able to tell their patients whatever they feel is in their best interest, including recommendations for where to seek further care. It is unethical for the federal government to leverage funding to prevent doctors from sharing certain information with their patients,” said Senate President Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “I commend Planned Parenthood for standing tall and sacrificing funding in order to stay true to their values. I promise the Legislature will ensure that all women’s health care facilities opting out of Title X funding will be able to maintain their level of care for those in need in New Jersey.”
The gag rule makes it illegal for health care providers in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access an abortion. New Jersey’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates formally withdrew from the federal program in order to preserve their ability to provide affordable, accessible reproductive health care services.
“The Trump-Pence administration is fundamentally anti-women,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “They have bullied their way through life on white-male supremacy and I am proud to see Planned Parenthood refuse to be manhandled. The women of New Jersey deserve the health care Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics provide, without exception or stipulation. I know the Legislature and Governor will immediately stand behind and help fund these essential health care providers so they can make the right decision for their patients.”
Title X is the nation’s decades-old bipartisan program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. New Jersey currently receives $8.3 million in federal funding for Title X services. The senators pledged to provide state support to maintain the services.
“This is an attack on reproductive health care that threatens providers like Planned Parenthood from serving their patients,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “They are trying to force expert health care providers out of our nation’s program for affordable birth control. But, we won’t be bullied.”
The Title X program was meant to ensure that those struggling to make ends meet or who don’t have health insurance can still access birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and annual exams, among other important medical services.
“This move by the Trump administration is the latest salvo in its continuing war on women’s health care, which will be disproportionately shouldered by lower income and women of color,” said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “As the majority of women in the Title X program are either Black or Hispanic, the proposed restrictions on this program will only increase the existing disparity in health outcomes even further. We have to stand together to repudiate this action and ensure that women’s reproductive freedoms and health care will never be compromised.”
In New Jersey, 120 clinics provide publicly supported contraceptive services with 45 of them receiving Title X funding. In 2018, 110,000 patients were cared for. Planned Parenthood was the sole Title X provider in 13 counties and 86 percent of their patients earn below the Federal Poverty Line.
“In New Jersey, Planned Parenthood’s health center doors are open today, and they will be open tomorrow – but the future remains uncertain,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Legislative and Political Director with Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ. “We will continue to fight on behalf of all Planned Parenthood patients, who deserve the best information and health care available and deserve to make their own personal medical decisions. Access to lifesaving reproductive health care services should not depend on the state or the zip code that you live in.”