‘Pretty Shocking Article’: Murphy Props Women’s Healthcare Funding Bill

Sheila Oliver, with Murphy and the First Lady.

First Lady Tammy Murphy, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver and women lawmakers took center stage this afternoon at an event also attended by Governor Phil Murphy, who signed into law the Women’s Health Care Funding Bill.

The law will protect patients in New Jersey by providing $9.5 million in state funding for lifesaving reproductive health care services at Planned Parenthood and other providers who were forced out of the federal Title X family planning program.  This new federal policy makes it impossible for patients to come to Planned Parenthood to access affordable care through Title X.

“The federal government’s Title X gag rule jeopardizes access to critical health care services such as cancer screenings, sexually transmitted disease testing, affordable birth control, and more for approximately four million patients served across the country,”said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Ensuring access to comprehensive family planning services is critical and this necessary legislation will lead to better health outcomes for New Jersey’s women and children.”
“The Trump Administration’s gag rule pulling funding away from affordable women’s healthcare has put millions of lives at risk in this country, and today, New Jersey is fighting back to provide critical care for women and their families,” said Oliver. “The bill that Governor Murphy is signing today will fill the federal void by replacing critical Title X funding to serve all women in New Jersey, regardless of income, who rely on access to this routine care to survive.”

“Great cooperation and coordination,” said Murphy, referring to his front office’s work on the bill with the legislature, represented at today’s bill signing by Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-18), who labored on the bill, along with Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-15).

Both lawmakers took pains to boost Murphy.

“He is consistent and true,” Reynolds-Jackson said.

In her remarks to reporters at 225 West State Street, Oliver noted that the legislature repeatedly tried – to no avail – to pass women’s healthcare funding protections during the years of Governor Chris Christie.

Pinkin, Oliver, Murphy and Murphy.
Pinkin, Oliver, Murphy and Murphy.

“The federal government has once again put narrow political interests before the best interests of the American people by implementing the Title X gag rule, which blocks women from access to vital information and resources that are critical to their health,”said Murphy.“Family planning providers like Planned Parenthood made a conscious decision to continue providing health care information and resources at the expense of much-needed federal funding. Today, New Jersey is stepping up to replace federal Title X funding for family planning providers to ensure that New Jersey’s women and families have access to high-quality reproductive health care resources and family planning services.”

“I am grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for protecting access to reproductive health care for tens of thousands of New Jerseyans,” said Acting Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli.“With the signing of this legislation, Governor Murphy is ensuring that New Jersey’s family planning providers will not be forced to choose between receiving funding to keep their doors open or delivering care in a comprehensive, patient-centered manner based on national best practices.”
In a q and a session with reporters prior to signing the bill into law, Murphy addressed a Star-Ledger story kicked around all week.

“Pretty shocking article,” Murphy said. “I wish I was completely surprised, but I wasn’t.”

He made a personal plea to clean up the League of Municipalities culture.  “I think putting a committee together, as long as its a whole of government approach, [is a good thing],” the governor added.

Governor Phil Murphy signs the bill.
Governor Phil Murphy signs the bill.

“The Title X ‘gag rule’ has forced family planning service providers, like Planned Parenthood, to withdraw from the federal program in order to protect the quality of patient care it delivers to millions of women and low-income families across the state and the nation,” said Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6).“The funding deficit— if the state did not step in to fill the gap— would have had a significant negative impact on New Jersey’s family planning and women’s health services’ day-to-day operations and the health of women in our state. We stand with Planned Parenthood and other family planning services that have provided extraordinary care to New Jerseyans for decades.”

Planned Parenthood is New Jersey’s largest provider serving 72 percent of the patients in the state.

“The Trump administration’s gag rule on Title X funding forced Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers to make an impossible choice: deny female patients access to health services, or withdraw from the program and lose funding that is absolutely vital to its operations,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11). “Planned Parenthood chose to prioritize the needs of women in refusing to abide by this immoral gag rule, but it would have also meant access to healthcare for thousands of women in New Jersey would be significantly diminished. It would have been far more difficult for women – especially women of color – to find the resources they need to make informed decisions about their health. This gag rule is a blatant attack on women’s rights.”

“We in New Jersey understand the importance of access to care; that’s why the Legislature restored funding for family planning and women’s health services in the State budget in the past two fiscal years,” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-37). “We must keep fighting for equal access to healthcare for all women, starting with ensuring Planned Parenthood and other providers have the tools they need to continue providing quality care.”

“Many low-income women rely on family planning clinics for regular check-ups, care before and after pregnancy, cancer screenings, HIV testing and many other health concerns,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-20). “Restricting access to family planning centers would have left some women with nowhere to turn. The funding allocated in this law is vital to make sure quality healthcare centers like Planned Parenthood are able to keep their doors open.”

The Assembly approved the legislation in November, 49-21. It passed the Senate in December, 25-15.

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One response to “‘Pretty Shocking Article’: Murphy Props Women’s Healthcare Funding Bill”

  1. Governor Murphy has accomplished more in the area of human and health services demonstrating his caring for the people of New Jersey. I have been involved in the rendering of human services for the past fifty one years and our Governor waxes eloquently in his human services concerns.
    Bob Knapp, Jersey City

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