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April 29, 2019

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

Congressman Frank Pallone joins Planned Parenthood New Jersey to “Protect X”

Patients, community leaders, and reproductive health advocates discuss the gag rule’s impact on New Jerseyans

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey hosted the final event in their series of roundtable discussions with members of the state’s congressional delegation. Congressman Frank Pallone joined Planned Parenthood patients, medical providers, representatives of New Jersey community organizations, and reproductive health advocates to discuss the harmful impacts of the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule. While last week, federal courts announced an injunction on the rule which was slated to go into effect on May 3, today’s event highlighted that this injunction is only a temporary fix, and more work needs to be done to prevent New Jersey’s patients from losing access to affordable, preventive reproductive health care services.

“While the court decision last week was encouraging, I will continue to fight any attempt to take away life-saving health care,” Congressman Pallone said. “Planned Parenthood provides health care for millions of women across the country, so the Trump Administration’s gag rule would harm the women who depend on Planned Parenthood’s affordable and accessible health care services. I was honored to attend this event to reaffirm our commitment to Title X and Planned Parenthood.”

“While the injunction is a huge victory for patients and doctors, the relief is only temporary,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Legislative and Political Director with Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ. “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. We’re going to continue to fight the Trump-Pence administration in court and in Congress to ensure our patients’ health and rights are protected.”

Participants in today’s event included representatives from NAACP Metuchen-Edison, New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, New Jersey Family Planning League, and New Jersey Policy Perspective. Another participant was Laine Yuhas, a Planned Parenthood patient from Wall who relies on affordable birth control to stay healthy.

“Due to a bevy of health issues that I face, reproductive health care is critical to my overall health,” said Yuhas. “Because of Planned Parenthood, I have a reliable source of hormonal birth control that helps to literally keep me on my feet. Without this one medication, I would lose a week of productivity, of happiness, of life every month just because my body works differently.”

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 fifth and final 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, Congressman Donald Norcross in Camden, and Congressman Donald Payne in Newark.

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

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