TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday signed bill A5802, which makes a Fiscal Year 2020 appropriation of $9.5 million to the New Jersey Department of Health for family planning services.
The legislation will replace critical federal funding for family planning services that are impacted by the Trump Administration’s implementation of the Title X gag rule, which limits access to health care and family planning resources, Murphy said.
“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,” Murphy said. “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.”
“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,” First Lady Tammy Murphy said. “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,” Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver said, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “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.”
“I am grateful to the Governor and the Legislature for protecting access to reproductive health care for tens of thousands of New Jerseyans,” Acting Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli said. “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.”
Gov. Murphy signed his first piece of legislation in Feb. 2018 which restored $7.45 million in funding to Planned Parenthood and other women’s health facilities that had been cut during the Christie administration. Murphy also signed legislation (S105/A1656) providing Medicaid coverage for family planning services to low-income individuals.
With the signing of this legislation, the New Jersey Department of Human Services created a new family planning benefit program for women and men with incomes that are higher than traditional Medicaid eligibility. The benefit, called Plan First, launched in October 2019, and provides coverage for birth control, the HPV vaccine, family planning-related lab testing, and other targeted family planning-related health care needs, Murphy said.