The Montclair Girl spoke with Erin Chung, Director of Communications and External Relations of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey (PPMNJ) to learn about what services are offered in Essex County and beyond. One in five women in the U.S. will visit Planned Parenthood in their lifetime. About 18% of patients are male. With telehealth accessible online and in-person appointments available at five clinics in the area, Planned Parenthood provides inclusive, welcoming healthcare for clients across the gender spectrum. Clinic locations include East Orange, Montclair, Newark, Mulberry, and Paterson. Read on to learn more about what PPMNJ provides and how to access their services plus education, internship, volunteer, and advocacy opportunities.
History & Mission
The first Planned Parenthood in New Jersey opened in 1928 as the Newark Maternal Health Care Center and primarily provided information about birth control to married women. PPMNJ has a rich history and the mission has expanded to “empower individuals to make voluntary, informed decisions about their reproductive lives by providing safe, affordable healthcare, educational services, and championing public policies to make those services available to all.” As Chung shared, “Planned Parenthood provides healthcare for people who may not be able to get it, without judgment. We are here to keep people healthy.”
PPMNJ provides comprehensive, high-quality reproductive and sexual health care to patients across the gender spectrum including wellness exams, cancer screenings, health insurance enrollment, gender affirming hormone therapy, birth control, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing and options counseling, the HPV vaccine, sexually transmitted infections testing, HIV testing and counseling, PEP, PrEP, medication abortion, and surgical abortion referral.
Planned Parenthood “serve[s] all people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, national origin, socioeconomic status, disability, or sexual orientation with excellence, integrity, and pride.” One way that mission is realized is through Patient Navigators who can help patients apply for health insurance and with following up on information learned in appointments such as how to proceed if a health concern is found.
Chung is very proud of working for PPMNJ and explains, “we pride ourselves on health centers that exude respect and compassion to patients with nice waiting rooms and clean and up to date facilities.” Patients can schedule appointments online by selecting the clinic they’d like to visit. Planned Parenthood accepts patients regardless of insurance or documentation status. Payment depends on clients’ insurance status and for clients without insurance, fees are based on a sliding scale.
PPMNJ provides rigorous sexuality education through workshops and training for all ages in schools and communities. Professional development is also available for educators and mental health providers. Requesting an education service is easy to do online.
Teens can get involved through Teen LINKS, a peer-to-peer health education paid internship program which “provides high school students with the opportunity to grow into young leaders, educators, and activists within their own community.” Follow the group on Instagram. In fact, PPMNJ’s CEO, Roslyn Rogers Collins, started as an intern doing sex education.
Volunteer & Advocacy
Volunteers can follow their individual passions in supporting Planned Parenthood by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Interns and volunteers can work with PPMNJ to address medical racism, provide Covid-19 vaccine education, escort patients to clinics, and more.
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ offers more ways to get involved with advocacy and build community such as through events, story sharing, and legislative initiatives. Follow the The Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ Facebook page to stay updated.
To support the mission of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey to “offer factual, medically accurate education programs that emphasize responsible choices and lifestyles” financially, donors can contribute online or by phone.
MG Pro Tip: There will be a North Jersey Women’s March to “mobilize and defend reproductive rights” on October 2, 2021, in Montclair sponsored by the New Jersey Federation of Democratic Women and BlueWaveNJ. For updated information, join the event’s Facebook page.