Family Planning Clinics on the Chopping Block in New Jersey
July 13, 2010
“Family planning” might sound like the title of your freshman year health class or what your parents did while picking out cribs and Onesies. But for teens, the phrase means access to vital sexual health services. These clinics can provide counseling about birth control, pregnancy and STDs. They also offer sexual health exams and give STD and pregnancy tests.
In New Jersey, these services may be denied to people who need them. Governor Christie cut $7.5 million of family planning funding from the proposed state budget, but the state senate squeezed that money back into the budget with a new bill. The victory isn’t final though. If the governor chooses to veto the bill, it will return to the state senate for a final vote. This means over 50 clinics, most run by Planned Parenthood, must continue to brace themselves for big cuts.
These clinics are absolutely necessary. Many working people without health insurance, including teens with low salaries, can’t afford clinic services. And for those teens who can’t talk to their parents or guardians about sexual health, a state funded clinic may be the only way to get health care services, like pregnancy and STD tests. Cutting this funding would affect over 130,000 people throughout New Jersey, including many teens. And similar changes may follow nationwide. With unplanned pregnancy and STD rates on the rise, we, especially lawmakers, must remember that even in a difficult economy we can’t afford to cut family planning. The consequences are simply too grim.
—Meg Gibbon, 18, Contributor