U.S. Rep. Lance’s Office Suddenly Closed When Constituents Arrive with 6,000 Comments Against the Title X Gag Rule

Women’s health supporters take action to stop Trump administration’s gag rule that will cut funding for reproductive health centers

WESTFIELD, NJ — Planned Parenthood supporters gathered at U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance’s district office on Wednesday afternoon to speak out against the Trump-Pence administration’s proposed “gag rule” that would dismantle Title X, the nation’s family planning program. The group of approximately 35 supporters attempted to deliver more than 6,000 comments by New Jerseyans against the gag rule to Rep. Lance’s office at approximately 4:40 PM, but found the office had unexpectedly closed early, despite the hours listed on his website showing the office closes at 5 PM. Attempts by CD-7 constituents to call Rep. Lance’s office were also fruitless, as the published number on his website did not allow callers to reach a live person or leave a voicemail after business hours.

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"The ‘gag rule’ is a direct attack on Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers — and women will pay the price,” said Triste Brooks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey and the board chair of Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “We will continue to hold Congressman Lance and his colleagues accountable to the thousands of New Jersey women and men calling on him to stand up against this harmful rule blocking access to life saving health care.”

During their visit to Rep. Lance’s office, Planned Parenthood supporters held signs asking passing motorists to honk in support of women’s reproductive health — and in opposition to the gag rule. Dozens of people held signs and encouraged drivers to send a message to Rep. Lance. Scores of passing cars honked loudly, signifying their support.

"The ‘gag rule’ targets women who live in underserved communities, already facing obstacles to accessing health care,” said Brooks. “We won’t be deterred; Planned Parenthood is committed to providing the care patients need — no matter what.”

The gag rule, as proposed by the Trump administration, would make three principal changes to Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. First, it would make changes that are designed to block patients from getting care at Planned Parenthood health centers, which serve more Title X patients than any other provider. Second, it would prohibit Title X providers from referring for abortion, denying women information about how to access necessary health care. Third, it would eliminate existing protections that ensure women have full, honest information about all of their pregnancy options, including abortion. These changes could dramatically reduce access to care in communities across the country, damage the patient-provider relationship, and deepen existing inequities in the health system.

Photos of the event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/PPActionNJ/.

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey (PPAFNJ) is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) non-profit social welfare organization, and the advocacy arm of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates in New Jersey. We advocate for access to essential health care through education, activism, voter engagement, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. For more information, visit our website at: www.ppactionnj.org.