Author Archive: Michele Jaker

Who Would Have Thought That Cancer Screenings Could Become Political?

Michele is Planned Parenthood’s Executive Director in New Jersey.

– promoted by Rosi

Oh, right.  Women in New Jersey took a big hit in 2010, when Gov. Christie decided to eliminate a $7.4 million budget line that helped fund cancer screenings – including Pap tests and clinical breast exams.  This funding supported services for over 136,000 patients; for many without insurance or other access to care, Planned Parenthood had been their primary source of health care.  Despite overwhelming pressure to reinstate funding, the Governor has repeatedly refused to do so.
 
Yesterday the deeply disappointing news broke about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation's recent decision to cease funding for breast health and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers.  It’s sad – and so telling – that the Komen Foundation, an organization that shares in Planned Parenthood’s mission of protecting women’s health, would succumb to right-wing political pressure by refusing to help fund programs that provide life-saving cancer screenings to nearly 750,000 women nationwide.  
 

Speaking Up About New Jersey’s Failings

Promoted by Rosi. FYI Deciminyan has been live-Tweeting from the NJ Assembly budget discussion for hours – from @bluejersey – and it is hot.

Another year, another state budget.  The Democratic sponsored budget proposals are being considered today in Trenton.  They restore funding for women’s health and family planning, and require the state to go after federal funding available to cover reproductive health services.  Outrageously, there is another proposal being pushed by some Republicans that claims to fund ‘women’s health’ but prohibits any funding from going to Planned Parenthood.  The classic bait and switch but with disasterous consquences for the women of New Jersey.

So who are these women that rely on providers like Planned Parenthood?  Let me introduce you to one of my favorites, Angela Giacchetti. A few months ago, Angela posted a video to YouTube to stand up for Planned Parenthood in the face of attacks here in New Jersey.

More on the flip.

Rally for Women’s Health Tomorrow!

Hey Blue Jersey!  Anyone around to tomorrow to show off a little pink??  Please join the big pink Planned Parenthood bus along with U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg, New Jersey Senator Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and Assemblywoman Linda Stender in standing up for women’s health TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 22nd.

We’ll be holding a rally to show our elected officials that New Jersey is opposed to these attempts take away preventive and lifesaving care – including cervical cancer screening, breast exams, and HIV testing for women throughout our state.

Gather the women who are important to you, along with other friends and loved ones, and meet us at 11:00 a.m. at the Englewood Planned Parenthood Health Center to make your voice heard. Just look for the pink bus!

Rally for Women’s Health

11:00 a.m.

TOMORROW, Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Englewood Planned Parenthood Health Center

46 Van Brunt St.

Englewood, NJ 07631

If you can’t make the rally, you can join us online at www.womenshealthmattersnj.org. For questions or to RSVP contact jessica.ohanlon@ppfa.org

Its déjà vu all over again. . .

A little less than a year ago, we learned a lot about Governor Christie’s priorities when he unveiled his first budget.  Specifically, we learned that women’s health wasn’t a priority.   Instead it was a target.   An opportunity for the Governor to burnish those conservative credentials.  

Now, we are learning a lot about the priorities of this new Congress and the similarities are striking.  But now, the stakes are even higher.  

Last year, Governor Christie zeroed out funding for the state’s family planning program.  This funding helped health centers provide basic reproductive health care to women who need it.   We are talking about really ‘radical’ services like breast exams, pap tests, HIV tests and birth control.  This program has been around since the early 1970’s and kept in place through Democrat and Republican administrations until now.   The same Governor who recently stood with the anti-choice crowd on the statehouse steps is the same Governor who zeroed out funds for life-saving health services.  Oh, the irony.

Yesterday, the House Republicans proposed a budget resolution that zeroes out funding for the federal family planning program.  Yup, the same cancer screenings, STD testing and contraception that Governor Christie axed in NJ have been put on the national chopping block.  Only this program was started by that hero of the left, President Richard Nixon.   House Republicans have also offered a handful of equally outrageous, anti-women amendments ranging from completely defunding Planned Parenthood to raising taxes on families whose insurance plan covers abortion.  The idea seems to be that they’re going  to throw all this garbage up against the wall and see what sticks.  The problem is, if anything sticks, its women and their families that lose.  Big time.

So what happens if the federal money for women’s reproductive health goes down the ideological toilet like the state dollars did?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I don’t know where to tell women to go in more rural parts of the state for affordable birth control.  I don’t know what to tell women who are already waiting for an appointment at our health centers because we had to reduce hours and staff.  I don’t know what to tell the woman who found out too late the lump in her breast was cancer.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  What can you do? Call them.  We have a really easy click to call tool.  Tell your friends.  Write about it.  Whatever you do, do something.  Now more than ever, supporters of women’s health need to stand up and be counted.  

Its déjà vu all over again. . .

A little less than a year ago, we learned a lot about Governor Christie’s priorities when he unveiled his first budget.  Specifically, we learned that women’s health wasn’t a priority.   Instead it was a target.   An opportunity for the Governor to burnish those conservative credentials.  

Now, we are learning a lot about the priorities of this new Congress and the similarities are striking.  But now, the stakes are even higher.  

Last year, Governor Christie zeroed out funding for the state’s family planning program.  This funding helped health centers provide basic reproductive health care to women who need it.   We are talking about really ‘radical’ services like breast exams, pap tests, HIV tests and birth control.  This program has been around since the early 1970’s and kept in place through Democrat and Republican administrations until now.   The same Governor who recently stood with the anti-choice crowd on the statehouse steps is the same Governor who zeroed out funds for life-saving health services.  Oh, the irony.

Yesterday, the House Republicans proposed a budget resolution that zeroes out funding for the federal family planning program.  Yup, the same cancer screenings, STD testing and contraception that Governor Christie axed in NJ have been put on the national chopping block.  Only this program was started by that hero of the left, President Richard Nixon.   House Republicans have also offered a handful of equally outrageous, anti-women amendments ranging from completely defunding Planned Parenthood to raising taxes on families whose insurance plan covers abortion.  The idea seems to be that they’re going  to throw all this garbage up against the wall and see what sticks.  The problem is, if anything sticks, its women and their families that lose.  Big time.

So what happens if the federal money for women’s reproductive health goes down the ideological toilet like the state dollars did?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I don’t know where to tell women to go in more rural parts of the state for affordable birth control.  I don’t know what to tell women who are already waiting for an appointment at our health centers because we had to reduce hours and staff.  I don’t know what to tell the woman who found out too late the lump in her breast was cancer.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  What can you do? Call them.  We have a really easy click to call tool.  Tell your friends.  Write about it.  Whatever you do, do something.  Now more than ever, supporters of women’s health need to stand up and be counted.  

Its déjà vu all over again. . .

A little less than a year ago, we learned a lot about Governor Christie’s priorities when he unveiled his first budget.  Specifically, we learned that women’s health wasn’t a priority.   Instead it was a target.   An opportunity for the Governor to burnish those conservative credentials.  

Now, we are learning a lot about the priorities of this new Congress and the similarities are striking.  But now, the stakes are even higher.  

Last year, Governor Christie zeroed out funding for the state’s family planning program.  This funding helped health centers provide basic reproductive health care to women who need it.   We are talking about really ‘radical’ services like breast exams, pap tests, HIV tests and birth control.  This program has been around since the early 1970’s and kept in place through Democrat and Republican administrations until now.   The same Governor who recently stood with the anti-choice crowd on the statehouse steps is the same Governor who zeroed out funds for life-saving health services.  Oh, the irony.

more below

The Fight for Women’s Health Goes On

Michele is the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey & Family Planning Association. – promoted by Rosi

Hey Blue Jersey!  We are all so very thankful for all you have done to get the word out there about the cuts to family planning.

It sure has been crazy time here in Jersey, huh?  Earlier this week, we learned six of the seven Senate Republicans who voted in favor of women’s health in June have suddenly decided that the services family planning providers offer just aren’t that important.

And, they have a point, right? I mean really, who needs access to breast exams and pap tests when, according to the Senate Republicans’ press release, the Governor’s budget pays for childhood lead poisoning screening and environmental inspections of homes with suspected lead hazards?  Women are being downright selfish to want access to affordable birth control options too. Seriously ladies, that same budget pays for prenatal care, fetal alcohol syndrome and hemophilia treatments.  In fact, that press release goes on to say that”[t]hese critical investments were a major part of [their] collective decision to support the budget.”  

The one thing we agree on is that these programs are all are important and life-saving.  And, they 100% should be in the budget.  But so should women’s health!  Because women’s health matters too.

Let’s be crystal clear here.  Funding for family planning was not restored in the budget for one reason and one reason only: ideology.  Governor Christie didn’t exercise his veto to balance the budget as he and some legislators are now trying to claim.  Research shows family planning saves taxpayers $4 for every $1 invested.  So, when Governor Christie completely eliminated $7.5 million in state funding that means that you – the taxpayer – are now on the hook for an additional $30 million that will need to be spent in Medicaid.  

In other words, this misguided approach does more than hinder the health and well-being of the 136,000 women and men family planning providers serve. It’s much bigger than that. By failing to fund women’s health, Governor Christie is costing the state money…and costing you money. Because investing in women’s health is not only good policy but good fiscal practice, as well. The elimination of family planning in the budget makes no sense whatsoever from an economic standpoint – especially in these tough fiscal times. Here are some more facts:  New Jersey’s family planning agencies provide basic health care services – including gynecological services, screenings for breast and cervical cancer, testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and contraception. This money does not fund abortion services but instead reduces the abortion rate by preventing unintended pregnancies.

By cutting family planning, Governor Christie and those legislators who support him in this endeavor are hurting the women of New Jersey and hurting the pockets of taxpayers who will have to make up the costs. Please take a minute today to call those Senators on the fence and ask them if they are really ideologically opposed to women’s health. And, if the answer is no, then ask them to come to the table and figure out a way to get this done…just as they did for all the other critical programs listed in their press release.  

So Blue Jersey, the fight goes on.  Many thanks and see you here again soon! In the meantime, head over to www.womenshealthmattersnj.org and add your voice to our cause!