Love Letters For Legislators: Locals Pen ‘Valentines’ for Planned Parenthood

by Carolyn Maynard-Parisi
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A group of roughly 70 women gathered at a home in South Orange on Saturday to show some love to Planned Parenthood and protect access to affordable health care by writing “Valentine’s” to elected officials.


“Right now, Planned Parenthood is under attack like never before,” read the invitation. “Extremists in Congress are gearing up to block millions of patients from accessing birth control, cancer screenings, and other care at Planned Parenthood, which hits low-income folks and people of color the hardest.”

Hosted by Jen Greenberg and Kim Collins, the event was attended by NJ Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, South Orange Village President Sheena Collum (also a co-host), South Orange Trustee Deborah Davis Ford, Maplewood Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams, Maplewood Committeewoman India Larrier and SOMSD Board of Education member Madhu Pai.

Deborah Davis Ford, Mila Jasey and Sheena Collum

Deborah Davis Ford, Mila Jasey and Sheena Collum

“This is a really important issue and it’s one we can have an impact on,” said Jasey.

PP Collum“For the past seven years in New Jersey, we have put $7.5 million into the state budget every year to fund women’s health” which includes Planned Parenthood but also health clinics that serve women and men, said Jasey. More than 90% of what they do is screening, treatment for STDs, giving contraceptive choices. However, Gov. Chris Christie has line item-vetoed that funding every year — leading to closing of clinics and reduced access to health care for many.

“Until you take control of your fertility, you can’t take control of your life.”

Jasey continued, “This is exactly what we need to be doing, all over the country. The best approach is to begin locally, and to know who your local and state officials are. Know that calls and postcards are important and effective.

The silver lining to the Trump presidency is that people “are paying attention,” said Jasey. “This is a major wake-up call.”

All photos are credit Laura Griffin.

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