Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

Planned Parenthood group meets with state representatives

South Jersey Times – A small yet strong assembly of women clad in pink visited Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s office on June 13 to discuss the upcoming vote on the budget regarding family planning, representing their group, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Gloucester County. A meeting that was supposed to last only 10 or 15 minutes became an hour-long discussion, where the advocate group and Sweeney, along with Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Adam Taliaferro, talked about ways they each are trying to accomplish the same goal — fund Planned Parenthood in New Jersey with surety.

“Did you ever think you’d be working this hard in 2017, on this subject?” Burzichelli asked the group, continuing, stating “it’s been our intention to keep this conversation alive.” This expressed awareness thrilled the group, but the women still had a lot to discuss with those who represent them. They want funding passed through New Jersey Senate for Planned Parenthood, and they made it known.

“We’ve been writing letters furiously,” Maureen Schultz stated with a chuckle, but it is plain to see that she was not kidding in the slightest. While the women brought cupcakes and balloons to the office, which was gratitude for representing their district with support of family planning, they hope to encourage their representatives to vigorously work to get this passed, something everyone in the meeting hopes to see in 2018.

“We’re here to support you just as much as you support us,” Schultz stated.

Lisa Harris, who has been in healthcare for over 30 years, made a point of expressing her observation in the field that preventative medicine saves taxpayer dollars in the long run. “Basic reproductive healthcare needs are not being met,” she states, explaining that when a patient without healthcare with these same needs go to the emergency room for medical attention and need to apply for Medicaid or charity care, “either way taxpayers will bear the burden.”

“I’ve never felt the need as much as I do now to have a voice,” Harris stated. Sweeney answered her by telling her “we agree.”

The group of women want to educate about reproductive health and family planning in Gloucester County. Some of the things they want to bring to light: increasing cases of bacterial sexually transmitted diseases each year (77.2 percent increase from 2009 to 2015), as well as breast cancer (8.7 percent increase) and HIV cases and the need for publicly funded contraceptive services and supplies.

Maureen Shultz and Elaine Ingulli of West Deptford lead the advocate group and host meetings twice a month. They hope the group continues to grow, and encourage women in Gloucester County to get involved.

District Offices

Gloucester County
Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808
Fax: (856) 339-9626

The Bridgeton Library Satellite Office
1st Tuesday of the month
3 pm - 5 pm
150 East Commerce Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
Phone: 856-455-1011