Democrats press Christie to restore family planning cuts

Days after the Senate voted on a bill to restore money for family planning centers and the Assembly simultaneously approved a similar measure, Assembly Democrats took their case directly to Gov. Chris Christie to let stand the allocation of $7.5 million for women’s health programs.

“Restoring these vital programs will save lives and money,” Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Fanwood) in a release issued by the Assembly Majority Office. “We continue to urge Gov. Christie to enact this restoration so that we can continue to prevent New Jerseyans – especially women – from needlessly dying from diseases that can be treated with proper screening.”

Assembly Bill 3019 would reverse Christie’s $7.5 million cut to family planning and women’s health services.  Lawmakers said family planning served more than 136,000 patients in New Jersey last year; and helped prevent 40,000 pregnancies and 19,000 abortions while saving $150 million.

“Gov. Christie may still have his back turned on vital services for women and newborns in his budget but he has the ability to correct his mistake by signing this legislation,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Collingwood).  “Doing so will improve public health while saving taxpayers money.”

Lawmakers said they had found money for the allocation, so letting the bill stand would be budget-neutral.  In the senate, the bill received 30 votes, making it veto-proff.  Not so in the assembly where it passed, but is vulnerable to a veto from the governor.

“We met every critique and every objection in our efforts to have this critical funding restored,” said Assemblywoman Caridad Rodriguez (D-Hudson). “It continues to be up to Gov. Christie to show us whether he is with or against New Jersey’s most vulnerable women.”

Democrats press Christie to restore family planning cuts