Strengthening Access to Affordable Reproductive Health Care Coverage Advances Equity

Testimony from NJPP Senior Policy Analyst Dr. Brittany Holom-Trundy in support of advancing access to reproductive health care.

Published on Jun 24, 2024 in Health

Good afternoon Chairman Sarlo and members of the Committee. Thank you for this opportunity to provide my testimony on S3452. My name is Dr. Brittany Holom-Trundy, and I am a senior policy analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). NJPP is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution that focuses on policies that can improve the lives of low- and middle-income people, strengthen our state’s economy, and enhance the quality of life in New Jersey.

NJPP strongly supports S3452, which looks to protect and improve reproductive health care access and ensure equity across state coverage here in New Jersey.

All Garden State residents deserve the ability and freedom to choose how and when they grow their families. To truly be a family-friendly state, we need to ensure that all those who are pregnant or who may become pregnant have confidence in their health care. This means guaranteeing that they will have access to affordable and quality care, regardless of their health conditions, income, immigration status, and other circumstances. By requiring that all state programs consistently offer all critical coverage for pregnancy, including abortion, and removing financial barriers to that care, this bill gives families the knowledge and certainty that is so desperately needed for the delicate, and often unpredictable, processes of reproductive health.

While we do not yet have a published OLS fiscal note on this bill, we know that the costs, especially because many state programs have already offered this coverage, will likely be minimal in comparison to other spending in the state budget. Additionally, each dollar that is committed to guaranteeing this coverage across programs represents an investment in the future; with health care, we know that accessing vital care when it is needed reduces long-term health problems and future — and, often, growing — costs for on-going medical issues. As a result, this investment saves the state money in the long run.

There is simply no need to artificially continue gaps in coverage and needlessly threaten uncertainty in health care for any New Jersey residents. Doing so creates economic hardship and discourages families from growing and investing in their own futures. It continues sexist, racist, and xenophobic tropes that we know we should leave far behind in our history. In the year 2024, no one in our state, which offers such great opportunities for advanced medical care, should have to wonder if they can access or afford life-saving reproductive care.

We hope that the Committee will agree and release this bill today.

Thank you for your time.