U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today led a rally with Planned Parenthood, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and other members of the New Jersey State Legislature outside the Planned Parenthood clinic in Englewood to urge Congress to continue providing federal funding for women’s health programs. House Republicans passed a budget bill that eliminates all federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which is the nation’s leading reproductive health care provider and advocate.
“Planned Parenthood is under attack by Tea Party Republicans who have put their extremist ideology above women’s health,” Lautenberg said. “We’re going to fight to make sure Planned Parenthood can continue serving the health care needs of families in New Jersey and across the country. I am committed to leading the charge in the Senate to protect women from the Republicans in Congress who are trying to take away their access to health care services.”
“Today, we are making crystal clear exactly what Planned Parenthood means to the women and families of New Jersey. The health services that our doctors and nurses provide are critical to this community, and we need to ensure they continue,” said Michele Jaker, Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey. “We thank Senator Lautenberg for his continued support of women’s health, and we urge all of our elected officials to stand up for women and families throughout New Jersey and across the country.”
“All over the country we’re seeing a coordinated, ideological attack that is having significant consequences on the delivery of health services to the working poor,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “For the past year, we’ve witnessed this same battle, firsthand, in New Jersey. We will continue to fight this necessary fight and I’m grateful that we have champions like Senator Lautenberg doing the same in Washington.”
“The conservative misogynistic policies being pushed by Chris Christie and the Tea Party are a full on assault to keep women from being full participating members of society by denying them access to reproductive health care,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “This is not a fiscal issue. For every one dollar not spent on family planning services, we will spend four more. Senator Lautenberg gets this and he is courageously battling the same challenges we are in New Jersey.”
Last week, Senator Lautenberg joined 19 of his colleagues in sending a letter to Vice President Biden voicing their opposition to the House plan to defund Planned Parenthood.
In addition to the cuts from Republicans in Congress, Governor Christie eliminated New Jersey’s $7.4 million family planning budget. New Jersey’s family planning providers estimate that they will see at least 40,000 fewer patients this year as a result of the state funding cuts. Due to state budget cuts, five clinics in New Jersey have already closed their doors, while a number of others, including Englewood, have reduced hours or stopped accepting new patients. A loss of federal funding would result in the closure of an additional 14 health centers in New Jersey.
In New Jersey, Planned Parenthood has 29 centers that serve 90,000 patients a year, providing almost 50,000 breast exams and more than 44,000 cervical cancer screenings.
The Planned Parenthood Truth Tour Bus, which is touring the country to promote women’s health and counter anti-funding protests, was in Englewood for the rally.