DOMESTIC GAG RULE REDUCES CONTRACEPTIVE ACCESS FOR NEARLY 370,000 WOMEN LIVING IN NEW JERSEY
(Washington, D.C.) — According to data released by Power to Decide, an estimated 369,960 New Jersey women of reproductive age (13-44) in need of publicly funded contraception live in counties impacted by the implementation of the Title X Family Planning Program “domestic gag rule.” According to the same data, nearly three-quarters (71%) of New Jersey’s counties have lost Title X resources.
The domestic gag rule requires health providers receiving Title X funds to withhold information from patients about abortion services and care. In addition, health centers are required to cease providing abortion care with non-Title X funds at sites that offer Title X supported services, such as contraceptive care, breast and cervical cancer screening and STI testing. The rule requires that abortion services, no matter how they are funded, be performed at a separate physical site, which is impossible for many health centers.
“The implementation of the domestic gag rule could impact almost 370,000 women in need in New Jersey, affecting almost three-quarters of the state’s counties,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO, Power to Decide. “This federal rule exacerbates an already challenging contraceptive access landscape for women struggling to make ends meet. Even before the implementation of the domestic gag rule, more than 435,000 low-income women in New Jersey lived in contraceptive deserts, which are counties without reasonable access to contraception. As a result, these women face financial barriers related to transportation, child care and taking unpaid time from work incurred just to get the contraception they need.”
Data from Power to Decide show that 435,050 women living at or below 250% of the poverty level in New Jersey live in contraceptive deserts, counties in which there is not reasonable access to a health center offering the full range of contraceptive methods. Nationally, more than 19 million U.S. women of low income live in contraceptive deserts.
In this challenging landscape, states like New Jersey can take proactive steps to partially alleviate the impact of damaging federal policies and to proactively expand access to contraception in various ways. New Jersey has already expanded Medicaid to low-income adults, which helps decrease the percentage of uninsured women, and by extension, give them the contraceptive coverage they need to live healthy lives. In addition, New Jersey requires insurance to cover an extended supply of prescription contraceptives for six months and recently passed legislation to protect insurance coverage of contraceptives without cost-sharing. To further expand access, New Jersey is currently considering legislation that would extend insurance coverage of contraceptives for up to 12 months and allow pharmacists to prescribe contraception. More information about these policies can be found here.
Power to Decide is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to ensure all people—no matter who they are, where they live or what their economic status might be—have the power to decide if, when and under what circumstances to get pregnant and have a child. Please visit us at www.PowerToDecide.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.