“Even though New Jersey is a pretty liberal state, Sussex County is very, very red, and it can feel lonely sometimes,” said Lindsay Campbell of the Sussex County Chapter of the National Organization for Women. In it’s first public action, Sussex County NOW, which numbers about 30 people so far but is growing, joined forces with others at a rally Saturday to support the Planned Parenthood Clinic in Newton.
We started this group to let everyone up here know that they are not alone,” she told the New Jersey Herald. We are in this together, and we need to take care of each other."
Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care—including cancer and STD screenings, birth control and abortions—is a traditional favorite target of the right, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has pledged to stop all federal funding of its clinics as it dismantles the Affordable Care Act. The organization, which accepts Medicaid and operates on a sliding scale, is often a woman’s only alternative for reproductive health care, and often their first entrée into receiving health care at all.
Campbell was one of about 120 supporters who attended the rally, a group that included Michelle Van Allen, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Freeholder last year and is currently running for the Hardyston Township Council.
“These are my people, and I'm not going to let them stand out here alone,” Van Allen said. This is an important issue, and it affects all of us."
A small group of anti-abortion protesters also attended the rally. According to the Herald, some are under the mistaken impression that the government is only targeting PP’s abortion provision, which the agency says makes up only 3 percent of its services. It is the totality that is being targeted, however.
NOW’s Campbell urged those who support women’s rights, reproductive rights and accessible, affordable health care to get involved right here in Sussex County.
“This all starts at a very local level,” she said. “Contact your congressmen. Talk to your freeholders.”