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August 7, 2018

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

New Jersey women’s health supporters protest “gag rule” on reproductive health care providers

Members of state Congressional delegation denounce proposed Trump policy that will cut funding to women’s health centers

TRENTON, NJ — Supporters of women’s health and rights joined Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey at a special briefing on the Trump administration’s proposed “gag rule” that would dismantle Title X and block federal funding to family planning providers who offer comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion and/or abortion referrals. Gathering in Planned Parenthood’s Trenton health center, Christine Sadovy, Legislative and Political Director with Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey, was joined by U.S. Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Donald Norcross, and Frank PalloneDr. Donald Chervenak, chair of the New Jersey section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Kate Clark with the New Jersey Family Planning League, and Natasha, a Planned Parenthood patient.

“The ‘gag rule’ is a direct attack on Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers — and women will pay the price,” said Christine Sadovy, Legislative and Political Director with Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “We will continue to fight to ensure that access to reproductive health care does not depend on who you are, where you live, or how much money you make.”

“This gag rule isn’t about health, because health care providers have already made their opposition clear,” said Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). “This is about taking away women’s basic rights and Republicans’ endless assault on the right to choose. This is a sham, meant only to attack Planned Parenthood, and it will devastate access to affordable care for women nationwide.”

“There’s a war on women’s health in Washington. So far, a few battles have been won, but we need to win the war,” said Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01). “Instead of working to improve women’s health programs, the Trump Administration wants to silence doctors. It’s disgraceful, but we can’t give up. 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.”

“I’m proud to stand with so many against the Trump administration’s war on women,” said Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ-06). “Its proposed rule seeks to overhaul the network of providers participating in Title X and restrict access to the critical health care services that are currently provided through Title X-funded projects. This will weaken the critical safety net that the Title X program provides to millions of women and their families. We must fight this proposed rule and protect access to quality healthcare for women.”

The gag rule, as proposed by the Trump administration, would make three principal changes to Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. First, it would make changes that are designed to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers, which serve more Title X patients than any other provider. Second, it would prohibit Title X providers from referring for abortion, denying women information about how to access necessary health care. Third, it would eliminate existing protections that ensure women have full, honest information about all of their pregnancy options, including abortion. These changes could dramatically reduce access to care in communities across the country, damage the patient-provider relationship, and deepen existing inequities in the health system.

The gag rule is intended to deny people care at Planned Parenthood health centers, which will leave many patients with nowhere to go. As a result of the rule, New Jerseyans and women across the country will not get the health care they need, including birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even well-woman exams. Natasha, a Planned Parenthood patient who attended the briefing, shared that she struggled to access quality, affordable health care.

“I am just one example of why accessing sexual and reproductive health care is so important,” said Natasha. “This kind of care can change lives. But now, politicians in Washington want to shut health center doors, like they are trying to do with the gag rule. Should the gag rule take effect, the security of my access to care could be jeopardized.”

Her story is not unique. Planned Parenthood in New Jersey provides high-quality, affordable reproductive health care and education at 22 health centers across the state, to more than 90,000 people each year — regardless of where they live or their income, immigration status, race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation. One in five women has relied on a Planned Parenthood health center for care in her lifetime.

“The ‘gag rule’ targets women who live in underserved communities, already facing obstacles to accessing health care,” said Sadovy. “We won’t be deterred; Planned Parenthood is committed to providing the care patients need — no matter what.”

A Facebook Live stream of the event is available at https://www.facebook.com/PPActionNJ/.

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