Fighting Against Trump “Gag Rule,” New Downey Law Restores Funds for Women’s Healthcare

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Today, Governor Murphy signed into law a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Freehold) and co-sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune), restoring nearly $10 million in funding to women’s healthcare clinics across New Jersey.

The bill (A-5802), which dedicates $9.5 million to family planning clinics such as Planned Parenthood, was written to support women’s healthcare providers who defied the Trump administration’s so-called “gag rule” - a heavy-handed regulation that made it illegal for healthcare providers to receive funds under the federal Title X program if any information provided by those organizations told patients how or where to access an abortion.

Soon after the rule was implemented last year, New Jersey’s two Planned Parenthood affiliates formally withdrew from the federal program - a move that preserved their ability to provide affordable and accessible reproductive healthcare services, but at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding.

“I’m proud of Planned Parenthood and women’s healthcare providers across New Jersey for standing up for their values in the face of the administration’s cruel and unconscionable attack on women’s healthcare,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “With this new law, we’re making sure that every woman can continue to receive essential services like pap smears, STI treatments, and pregnancy counseling.”

“In many communities, these clinics are the only option that many lower-income families have for finding reproductive healthcare and help with family planning,” added Assemblyman Houghtaling. “Planned Parenthood itself serves an incredible 41 percent of all Title X patients, making the loss of this funding a catastrophic emergency and a huge threat to families who often can’t find help anywhere else. By restoring the funding the administration tore away with its indefensible ‘gag rule,’ we can help make sure that every New Jerseyan, no matter their income, can access affordable birth control, family planning services, and reproductive healthcare.”

“We need to make it absolutely clear that New Jersey stands with women, and that we will never fail to stand up for women’s healthcare and reproductive justice,” Downey said. “I was proud to be a sponsor of New Jersey’s legislation fully funding women’s healthcare services across our state, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure that Planned Parenthood and every other provider has the support they need to continue this critical work.”

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