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April 17, 2019

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

U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill joins Planned Parenthood New Jersey to “Protect X”

Patients, students, and activists discuss the gag rule’s impact on young people

MORRISTOWN, NJ – Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey hosted a roundtable discussion with U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill on the harmful impacts of the Trump-Pence administration’s Title X gag rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on May 3. Local students, activists, representatives of statewide advocacy organizations, and Planned Parenthood staff focused on how the gag rule will have an outsized impact on young people, as young people represent the large majority of Title X patients. In New Jersey, 60 percent of Title X patients were age 29 or younger in 2018.

“I appreciated the opportunity to hear from so many people and so many different voices about their experiences related to Planned Parenthood,” said U.S. Rep Mikie Sherrill. “These stories put into words the understanding we have that Title X funding is so important to communities across this nation and communities across New Jersey, and that’s why this gag rule is just so harmful for the 11th district.”

Participants in today’s event included Liliana Alcaide, a young woman from Dover who benefited from Title X services when she accessed affordable testing and treatment for precancerous cells growing on her cervix.

“As a Title X patient, I am beyond grateful for these health centers and affordable services that have helped patients like me all across the country,” said Alcaide. “I’m one hundred percent sure that if it weren’t for Planned Parenthood and the Title X program, I would not be here today sharing my story.”

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/.