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Five Facts to Know About Women’s Health in New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2017

Contact: Casey Olesko 201.647.5502 / [email protected]

With New Jersey’s two gubernatorial candidates having multiple opportunities this week to state their positions on a multitude of issues facing New Jersey – including an opportunity tonight on New Jersey’s Next Governor with Steve Adubato, and the first gubernatorial debate on Tuesday – it’s likely that women’s health will get brought up. With 78 percent of New Jersey voters supporting state funding for family planning services, women’s health is a key issue in the minds of voters this November. As you cover the candidates’ positions, here are a few key facts to keep in mind.

  1. For the past eight years, Planned Parenthood has been “defunded” in New Jersey. That’s right – this isn’t just a federal issue. In 2010, in his first budget, Governor Christie eliminated a $7.45 million line item from the state budget that went to family planning services – like breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. This funding made up 0.022 percent of the entire state budget. For eight years, Governor Christie vetoed every attempt to restore this lifesaving funding – and for eight years, no other members of the Christie administration stood up for the thousands of women, men, and young people that rely on Planned Parenthood’s health centers in New Jersey every year.
  2. New Jersey is facing a public health crisis. Since 2009 – the last year that these preventive reproductive health care services were funded by New Jersey – the number of cases of bacterial STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphillis) have increased 35 percent statewide. In 11 out of New Jersey’s 21 counties, the increase has been nearly 50 percent – or more. Breast and cervical cancer cases are on the rise, too, with an alarmingly disproportionate impact on communities of color – a 0.3 percent increase among white women, a 6.6 percent increase among Black women, and a 25.1 percent increase among Latinas. 
  3. Phil Murphy has been unwavering in his support for the restoration of women’s health funding. Throughout his campaign, Murphy has been crystal clear that funding women’s health services is at the top of his priority list – his first event after securing the Democratic nomination was to host a women’s health roundtable. Murphy is on the record supporting this funding numerous times. He’s also on the record supporting other economic issues that will impact and improve women’s lives, including pay equity, raising the minimum wage, and expanding paid family leave.
  4. Kim Guadagno claims to be “pro-choice” – but she doesn’t want to restore women’s health funding. Why? She’s mostly been silent on the issue – pivoting and avoiding answering the question of what, exactly, she’ll do to help women – but she did say that she wouldn’t restore the funding because Planned Parenthood provides safe and legal abortion care. No matter what she says, we can’t trust Guadagno to protect women’s access to reproductive health care. She’s been silent for eight years as Governor Christie slashed women’s health funding and limited women’s access to services – and as second in command, she had plenty of opportunity to speak up for the thousands of individuals impacted by rising STD and cancer cases.
  5. As Republicans in Congress try to restrict access to health care, New Jersey women need a governor who will stand strong to protect them. With all the uncertainty at the federal level around the future of access to health care, now is the time to elect a new Governor who will work to make sure that access to care doesn’t depend on your income or your zip code. Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen Congress try to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take insurance away from millions, defund Planned Parenthood, ban abortion, and roll back birth control coverage. We cannot rest while reproductive rights are under attack – and we know that Phil Murphy will stand strong with us, protecting and expanding access to care.