In 2010, Governor Chris Christie eliminated a state budget line that allocated $7.45 million for basic, preventive reproductive health care services. These services included life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs including HIV/AIDS, and other health screenings. This funding was not used for abortion services. In 2009, this funding helped support services for more than 136,000 patients.
In 2012, New Jersey’s family planning providers saw at least 33,000 fewer patients compared with 2009—a 24% drop in patients served. Some patients may have lost services immediately because their health center closed and they did not have access to other providers. Others have experienced longer wait times for appointments or have had to pay more out of pocket.
- In 2012, New Jersey’s Title X health centers provided reproductive and preventive health care to 95,471 women and 7,826 men. Nearly 70,000 patients were uninsured, and an additional 20,000 were covered by public health insurance (such as Medicaid, Medicare, or NJ FamilyCare).
- The number of clinical breast exams performed performed at these providers dropped from 70,506 in 2009 to 48,441 in 2012 – a 31% drop over three years.
- Family planning providers also performed far fewer STI tests in 2012. From 2009-2012, the number of gonorrhea tests declined by 24%, chlamydia by 28%, syphilis by 29%, and HIV by 18%.
- At the same time, 434,950 women in New Jersey were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies in 2012. In tough economic times, more women than ever need access to essential health care services so it’s likely that this number is even higher today.
- Family planning agencies are often the gateway to primary health care services for low income and working families. In fact, more than 6 in 10 patients who receive care at a family planning center consider it their primary source of health care.
- Studies show that for every $1.00 invested in publicly funded family planning services, $7.09 is saved in Medicaid and other public expenditures that otherwise would have been needed.
- In New Jersey, the services provided at publicly funded family planning centers in 2010 helped save $275,766,000 in public funds. That accounts for savings from reduced maternity and birth-related costs, along with reduced costs related to miscarriage and abortion and savings related to STI screening and cervical cancer prevention services.