|Planned Parenthood® of Central New Jersey|
What's Happening in Trenton
Planned Parenthood supports legislation to provide equity in insurance coverage for contraception. Assembly Bill 292 provides equity in insurance coverage for contraception by requiring health insurance plans that already cover prescription drugs and devices to include equal coverage. The bill was approved in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. On June 17th, the NJ Senate voted to approve the measure and has sent it on to the Assembly for consideration.
contraception is a basic health care need, this coverage should apply
equally to all employees regardless of their employers’ religious beliefs.
At least 20 other states have now passed bills that require insurers to
provide coverage for contraceptive prescription drugs.
For a copy of S- 556, click here.
Emergency Contraception in the Emergency Room
On March 21, 2005, Acting Governor Richard Codey signed S-1668/A-2698, the Compassionate Care for Survivors of Sexual Assault bill. The newly signed law, also called “EC in the ER”, will require healthcare facilities that treat sexual assault survivors to provide emergency contraception (EC) information and, if requested, the contraceptives as part of their protocol.
EC is a concentrated dose of birth control pills that can prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex. Often called the “morning after pill”, emergency contraception does not cause an abortion but instead inhibits or delays ovulation; it is not effective if the woman is pregnant. In 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of emergency contraception as safe and effective. Both the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have endorsed the widespread availability of emergency contraception.
The new state law will require hospitals to provide survivors of sexual assault with information on or access to emergency contraception. Since a woman must take emergency contraception within 120 of unprotected sex, it is crucial that sexual assault victims be informed about the availability of emergency contraception when they are being treated at the hospital.
For a copy of P.L. 2005, c. 50, click here.
In New Jersey, state legislation has been introduced which prohibits pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral or religious reasons (A-3772/S-2178).
Throughout the country, some pharmacists are refusing to dispense valid, safe prescriptions for women not based on the patient’s health or safety, but on their own personal beliefs. For example, last year in Texas, a rape survivor was denied access to emergency contraception because her pharmacist refused to dispense the prescription and a married mother of two could not get her prescription for birth control filled by her pharmacist because of his religious beliefs. A pharmacist who refuses to fill a prescription poses a significant burden on a woman seeking access to valid healthcare, particularly for emergency contraception where its effectiveness is time sensitive.
Contraception is basic healthcare for women, and a vast majority of women will use birth control at some point in their lives. Prescription refusal is a disturbing trend that can jeopardize a woman's reproductive health. Denying women access to valid, legally prescribed medication is an unacceptable imposition on their rights and an act of outright discrimination.
In a recent Star-Ledger article, a spokeswoman for New Jersey Right to Life claims that there are a number of pro-life pharmacists in New Jersey who are refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception. Pharmacist’s personal beliefs should not take precedence over the individual health decisions of customers and their physicians.
Several years ago, the
New Jersey Legislature attempted but failed to restrict minors’ access to
confidential health services by requiring parental notification before a
minor could receive treatment for a pregnancy related condition. In other
states, attempts have been made to require parental notification or consent
before minors could receive contraception.
of Pediatrics, NJ
Chapter, filed suit contesting the constitutionality of the law under the
New Jersey Constitution. Planned Parenthood of Central New Jersey was the
lead plaintiff in that case. The New Jersey Supreme Court struck down the
parental notification law. The court reaffirmed that the right to abortion
is a fundamental right under the NJ Constitution and that the law violated
the equal protection clause.
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court determined in Roe v. Wade that the state could not interfere with a woman’s decision to have an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. Additionally, the court held that the state could regulate abortion during the second three months if the regulation was narrowly tailored to protect the woman’s health and the state can bar abortion in the last three months except when the procedure is necessary to preserve the life and health of the woman.
The public debate on “so called” partial birth abortions has focused on a small number of late term abortions. Courts across the country have found that language in these bills are so broad that it covers abortions and procedures commonly done in the second trimester of pregnancy. The Nebraska version of this law was reviewed by the US Supreme Court and found to be unconstitutional. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Stenberg v. Carhart that restrictive abortion bans place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion and are unconstitutional.
Anti-choice legislators continue to disregard the importance of protecting
the woman’s health and refuse to include that reasonable exception.
A federal law that bans certain abortion procedures is now being challenged in the courts.
planning services provide women, mostly the uninsured working poor, with the
ability to plan or prevent pregnancies and to remain economically
self-sufficient. Funding family planning helps prevent unintended
pregnancies, lower rates of abortion and sexually transmitted diseases,
substantially decrease the risks of infant mortality and provide essential
screenings for breast and cervical cancer, hypertension and diabetes.
Additionally, adequate funding for family planning reduces state costs for
pre-natal and delivery, abortion, welfare and social services.
Unfortunately, New Jersey ranks 42nd out of 50 states in state family
Responsible, balanced and medically
accurate sexuality education seeks to assist young people in understanding a
positive view of sexuality, provide them with information and skills about
taking care of their sexual health, and help them acquire skills to make
responsible decisions now and in the future.
By promoting abstinence-only education that omits complete, medically accurate information, U.S. policy ignores research, public opinion and the experience of other countries about what actually works to prevent teenage pregnancy and STIs. For more information about a recent federal study on the failures and misinformation of abstinence-only education programs, click here.
For a copy of A 787, click here.
By promoting abstinence-only education that omits complete, medically accurate information, U.S. policy ignores research, public opinion and the experience of other countries about what actually works to prevent teenage pregnancy and STIs.