PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACTION FUND OF NEW JERSEY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 21, 2018
Contact: Casey Olesko 201.647.5502 / [email protected]
Governor Murphy signs family planning funding restoration bill into law
Funding goes to support the provision of preventive reproductive health care services at New Jersey’s family planning providers
TRENTON, NJ – On a momentous day eight years in the making, Governor Murphy signed into law two pieces of legislation to protect and expand access to reproductive health care in New Jersey. Surrounded by legislative champions, heath care providers, and passionate activists who have worked tirelessly since 2010 to have this funding restored, Governor Murphy made these bills the first to be signed into law during his administration.
“New Jersey is getting back on the right path when it comes to women’s health care,” said Triste Brooks, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey. “We are grateful that Governor Murphy and the state Legislature have taken such swift action on behalf of our patients.”
“At Planned Parenthood, we believe that access to reproductive health care should not depend on who you are, where you live, or how much money you make,” said Roslyn Y. Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “This funding will help ensure access to lifesaving, preventive care, no matter your income or your zip code.”
In 2010, in his first budget after taking office, former Governor Chris Christie eliminated a longstanding line item in the state budget that provided funding for preventive reproductive health care services in New Jersey, including lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings, affordable birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS. This funding accounted for a mere 0.022 percent of the state budget, a drop in the bucket when it came to keeping New Jersey’s women, men, and families healthy.
Immediately after the cuts, six family planning health centers across the state closed, and others cut hours, services, or staff. In the years that followed, New Jersey felt the impact. Since 2009, the last year that these services were supported in the state budget, the number of cases of bacterial STDs have skyrocketed 35 percent statewide; in 11 out of New Jersey’s 21 counties, the increase has been nearly 50 percent or more. In addition, breast and cervical cancer cases have increased since 2009, with a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Breast and cervical cancer cases increased 0.3 percent among white women, 6.6 percent among Black women, and an alarming 25.1 percent among Latinas.
The two bills signed into law today will help New Jersey’s family planning providers work to expand access to care. S120 reinstates the funding for preventive health services cut by former Governor Christie, and S105 expands Medicaid coverage for reproductive health services to more New Jersey women. After numerous attempts by the state Legislature to pass these bills were continually thwarted by former Governor Christie’s veto pen, Governor Murphy campaigned on a promise to restore this funding and stand up for New Jersey women.
Murphy was joined at the bill signing event by Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards. Speakers at the event thanked the hard work of volunteer activists who spent the last eight years making their voices heard, ensuring that New Jersey did not forget about the patients who rely on New Jersey’s family planning providers for care. These advocates wrote letters to the editor, called their elected officials, and held rallies at their legislators’ offices in district and in Trenton. These advocates were not alone; in 2017, two separate polls from the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling showed that three-quarters of New Jerseyans support these funds. The polls also showed strong bipartisan support.