NJ considers another $9.5M for Planned Parenthood, family clinics
TRENTON — New Jersey would provide another $9.5 million in state funds to family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood, on top of nearly $10.5 million already in the budget, under a bill set for a vote Monday in the Assembly. The state Senate is expected to take it up next month.
Lawmakers are moving to allocate the additional money to help the clinics cope with new federal restrictions taking effect in March that prohibit Title X providers from referring most patients for an abortion. The new rules also require them to physically separate family planning and abortion services.
Kaitlin Wojtowicz, vice president of public affairs for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey, said the changes forced her organization out of Title X, which provides funding for reproductive health services for people with low incomes. Providers had to decide by mid-August whether they would remain.
“This gag rule is dangerous to the health of patients in New Jersey and across the country,” Wojtowicz said. “It’s simply intended to make sure that patients are not receiving the full information about all of their health care options.”
Assemblyman Hal Wirths and groups opposed to abortion said Planned Parenthood chose to leave the program and state taxpayers shouldn’t have to make up the difference.
“They turned down the funding,” said Wirths, R-Sussex. “And we know this is all politics. Whatever D.C. does, Trenton has to do the opposite. We have to show the people that we’re in charge.”
“With so many budget issues in New Jersey and so many health-care options with federally qualified health care centers, why must the largest, richest, wealthiest abortion provider in the world get a raise?” said Shawn Hyland, director of advocacy for the Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey.
Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, said Planned Parenthood already receives the bulk of the $10.5 million New Jersey gives family planning providers.
“The taxpayers of New Jersey should not be forced to fund abortion. And make no mistake, this is what this legislation will do,” Tasy said.
While the proposed funding wouldn’t all go to Planned Parenthood, the organization’s clinics serve around 70% of Title X recipients in New Jersey. That’s higher than the national average of around 40%.
“Without the state’s support, providers like Planned Parenthood cannot continue to offer the same level of services we are currently providing” Wojtowicz said. “While we are operating on emergency funds for now, this cannot last forever.”
Wojtowicz said the new rules have been deemed medically unethical by organizations such as the American Medical Association.
The bill is A5802/S4103.
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