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April 22, 2019

Contact: Casey Olesko 973-775-2781 / [email protected]

Congressman Donald Norcross joins Planned Parenthood New Jersey to “Protect X”

South Jersey civil rights leaders, patients, and reproductive health advocates discuss the gag rule’s impact on communities of color

CAMDEN, NJ – Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey hosted a roundtable discussion with Congressman Donald Norcross on the harmful impacts of the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on May 3. South Jersey civil rights leaders, patients, representatives of advocacy organizations, and Planned Parenthood staff focused on how the gag rule will have an outsized impact on communities of color, as people of color represent the large majority of Title X patients. In New Jersey, nearly 60 percent of Planned Parenthood’s patients who benefit from Title X services are people of color.

“Instead of working to improve women’s health programs, the Trump-Pence administration wants to silence doctors. It’s disgraceful, but we can’t give up,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01). “We must stand together and fight for the rights of all women to have access to care and the ability to talk openly with professionals when making their own medical decisions.”

Participants in today’s event included Alexis Thompson, a young woman attending Rowan University who relied on Planned Parenthood for information and for lifesaving preventive health services.

“As a young girl, I was faced with the possibility of being pregnant due to lack of education about sex. It frightened me,” said Thompson. “I didn’t know what to do, but Planned Parenthood gave me what nobody else around me would: a choice with background knowledge needed to decide what I wanted to do with my body and future.”

Title X ensures that every person — regardless of who they are, where they live, how much money they make, or whether they’re insured — has access to basic reproductive health services. In New Jersey, more than 70 percent of the patients served by Title X received care at a Planned Parenthood health center. Planned Parenthood was the sole Title X provider in 13 New Jersey counties in 2018. Without Planned Parenthood, all other Title X-funded sites in New Jersey would have to increase their contraceptive client caseloads by 254 percent to serve the women who currently obtain birth control from Planned Parenthood health centers.

The gag rule, which was finalized by the Trump-Pence administration last month, makes it illegal for health care providers who participate in the Title X program to tell patients how they can safely and legally access abortion. This prevents providers from giving their patients all the information they need to make informed health care decisions. The gag rule also imposes cost prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” requirements on health centers that also provide abortion in an effort to stop Planned Parenthood from participating in Title X.

“This rule is unethical, contributes nothing to the safety of patients, and directly interferes with patients’ ability to get the best medical care and information possible,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Legislative and Political Director of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “We’re standing strong in face of these attacks; Planned Parenthood is committed to providing the care patients need — no matter what.”

Photos and video of the event are available at https://www.facebook.com/PPActionNJ/.