Resolution Reaffirms Women's Fundamental Right to Reproductive Health Care
Legislation Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto and Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt and Elizabeth Muoio sponsored to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Planned Parenthood's founding gained approval Thursday in the General Assembly.
Since its founding in Brooklyn, New York in 1916, Planned Parenthood has grown to more than 600 health care centers across the country. The organization, founded upon the notion that women should have the information and health care needed to live strong, healthy lives, provides high-quality, affordable reproductive and preventative health care services to women regardless of their marital or economic status, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation and acts as a safety net for the medically underserved.
Sponsors of the resolution (AR-182) noted the importance of honoring an organization that provides care for one in five women in the United States, particularly in the face of threats to defund Planned Parenthood and limit access to vital health care services.
"We will not rest until access to health care is a reality for all people," said Zwicker (D-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset). "We must build equity into a health care system that has left many communities behind. In the world we want, all people have full control of their own bodies and can determine their own destinies. Planned Parenthood is determined to fight for this vision, now and always."
"Planned Parenthood is essential to our communities," said Speaker Prieto (Bergen/Hudson). "In New Jersey, thousands of people are served by Planned Parenthood every year, which makes clear how vital these services are to the health and well-being of all New Jerseyans."
"The dogmatic ideological attacks on Planned Parenthood are really attacks on the health and wellness of economically disadvantaged women who rely on this organization for life-saving care," said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), chair of the Assembly Human Services Committee. "Honoring Planned Parenthood is about commemorating its century of service, but more importantly, it's about standing with women everywhere."
"For 100 years, access to family planning and other reproductive health care services has improved and transformed the lives of women, men and young people in the United States and around the world, and that's largely because of Planned Parenthood," Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington), chair of the Assembly Women and Children Committee. "This organization has played a major role in empowering women, and we have a responsibility to ensure that it continues doing so for years to come."
"Planned Parenthood provides care regardless of a person's gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. That's how the provision of health care should be," said Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). "This organization is dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, and so it is in our best interest as a state to commemorate it and commit to ensuring its longevity."
New Jersey Planned Parenthood health centers conducted 98,000 tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV tests, and 30,000 pap smears and breast cancer screenings in 2015. Each year, the centers offer education and outreach programs providing sexuality and family planning education to more than 37,000 women, men and young people throughout the state.
The Assembly passed the measure 48-18-4.