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April 24, 2019

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

Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. joins Planned Parenthood New Jersey to “Protect X”

Faith leaders, medical providers, and reproductive health advocates discuss the gag rule’s medically unethical directives

NEWARK, NJ – Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey hosted a roundtable discussion, in conjunction with Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., on the harmful impacts of the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule. Faith leaders, medical providers, reproductive health advocates, and Planned Parenthood staff focused on how medically unethical the gag rule is, as it requires doctors in the Title X program to withhold information about the full range of pregnancy options from their patients. This event came on the heels of last night’s news that the federal district court in Oregon announced it would issue a preliminary injunction to block the gag rule from taking effect on May 3. But while this is a huge victory for patients and providers, it is only a temporary celebration. The preliminary injunction provides relief for Title X patients and health care providers while the case continues to be litigated; it is virtually certain that the Trump-Pence administration will appeal this ruling.

“Health care decisions should be made by patients, in consultation with their doctors and medical providers,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “The federal government should not be squeezing itself into examination rooms to dictate what a doctor can and cannot say to a patient. By prohibiting medical caregivers from making decisions in the best interest of patients, the gag rule puts lives at risk, and I will continue to fight to keep it from taking effect.”

“The Title X gag rule is unethical, contributes nothing to the health and safety of our patients, and directly interferes with our patients’ ability to get the best medical care and information possible,” said Roslyn Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey. “Because of our commitment to ethical patient care, it would be impossible for Planned Parenthood in New Jersey to continue participating in the program should the gag rule eventually go into effect.”

Participants in today’s event included representatives from Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, the New Jersey Family Planning League, National Council of Jewish Women – Essex County Section, and Unitarian Universalist Faith Action NJ.

“As a medical provider, this rule is appalling to me,” said Dr. Ena Marsan, PPMNJ’s board chair and a practicing physician. “My patients trust me to provide all the information to support their health care decisions, and this rule prevents me from being able to do so.”

“As a person of faith – or just a person of good will – you know that anything that takes away the ability for anyone of any race, ethnicity, background, or socioeconomic status to make their own health care decisions is immoral and unethical,” said Reverend Rob Gregson of Unitarian Universalist FaithAction NJ. “We are standing firmly against this gag rule.”

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.

Today’s event was the fourth roundtable in a series of events with members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation hosted by Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. Previous roundtables featured Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in Trenton, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill in Morristown, and Congressman Donald Norcross in Camden.

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