U.S. Senators Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, and Cory Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today rallied at the Essex County Historic Courthouse with Planned Parenthood to highlight the historic impacts on the rights of women to make their own medical decisions and the rights of Americans to receive quality, affordable health care.
"With President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the stakes have never been higher, the threat to women's health has never been greater, and our commitment to reproductive freedom must be stronger than ever," said Sen. Menendez. "Today I stand with Planned Parenthood to say that reproductive rights are human rights, and that we cannot afford to let this President tip the scales of justice against women, families, patients, voters and consumers for generations to come."
"Judge Kavanaugh's nomination poses a clear threat to so many of the rights New Jerseyans hold dear, including the reproductive rights of women, voting rights, labor rights, and the right to quality, affordable healthcare," said Sen. Booker. "We are at a moral moment in our country, and there's simply too much at stake to stand idly by. We all must resolve to fight back against this nomination and cast our light by standing up and speaking out."
While President Trump was a candidate he repeatedly said that he would only put justices on the Supreme Court that pass his litmus test of overturning Roe v. Wade. As a judge on the D.C. Circuit, Kavanaugh has actively worked to block access to safe, legal abortion.
"I'm proud to know that we have two Senators from New Jersey who are willing to stand up for the right to access safe, legal abortion and birth control, and who will oppose President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and any nominees that do not meet the Personal Liberty Standard," said Roslyn Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Metropolitan New Jersey. "Planned Parenthood will always stand up for the right of every person to access the health care they need and deserve."
"At the core of our anti-sexual violence work are critical conversations relating to bodily autonomy and gender equity," said Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault. "The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault works to elevate the voices of the nearly two million sexual assault survivors living in New Jersey -- individuals who have had their choice taken from them in a violent act. We stand in opposition to any candidate for the Supreme Court of the United States that could inflict further harm by limiting a woman's right to make important decisions about her healthcare and her body."
In May, the Trump Administration announced plans to implement a domestic gag rule on Title X, the only federal grant program solely dedicated to family planning and related preventive services.
Each year, roughly four million people rely on Title X-funded health centers for basic preventive health care, including cancer screenings, birth control, sexually transmitted infection screenings, pregnancy testing, and well-woman exams. In keeping with longstanding legal, ethical and medical standards of health care, Title X providers can offer patients medically accurate counseling on and referrals for all pregnancy options-including parenting, adoption, and abortion.
Reinstatement of the gag rule, which has never been fully implemented, would be President Trump's latest attempt to fulfill his pledge to "defund Planned Parenthood," whose health centers serve 40% of the patients who go to Title X for contraceptive care. If Planned Parenthood were eliminated as a Title X-funded provider, other Title X-funded health centers would have to expand their contraceptive caseloads by an average of 70%. The move would disproportionately impact communities of color, the uninsured, and low-income individuals, and could reverse progress made in critical areas. Title X has helped women avoid 822,000 unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in 387,000 unplanned births and 278,000 abortions. Title X also yields critical cost savings to the American healthcare system - every dollar invested in Title X saves more than seven dollars in Medicaid-related costs.