Coalition of GOP assemblywomen introduce measure to restore funding for clinics

TRENTON – A group of Assembly Republicans have introduced a budget resolution to increase funding for women’s health services by $7.5 million in Fiscal Year 2012.

The resolution would allocate $6.2 million to Federal Qualified Health Centers and $1.3 million for New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection. No public funding would go toward Planned Parenthood and the resolution would change budget language from “Family Planning Services” to “Women and Family Health Services.”

“This makes sure the money we spend goes to legitimate clinics that perform actual health services for our New Jersey women and children in need,” said Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, (R-12), Monmouth/Mercer. “This is a responsible and compassionate approach to make sure important health needs are not neglected.”

Other sponsors include Nancy Munoz, (R-21), Union; Mary Pat Angelini, (R-11), Monmouth; Diane Gove, (R-9), Ocean; Amy H. Handlin, (R-13), Monmouth; and Denise Coyle, (R-16), Somerset.

Regarding the measure introduced by the Republican Assemblywomen, Gove said, “If women can’t get treatment at clinics, they will wind up in emergency rooms, which will cost us all more in the long run. This resolution will ensure healthcare for women and their children without abandoning the fiscal discipline we have brought to the state’s budget.”
The issue of money for Planned Parenthood has been a major issue in discussions about funding for family planning.

When Democratic Sen. Loretta Weinberg convened a committee hearing into women’s health care issues in May and talked about restoring $7.5 million to clinics, she emphasized that they were not all Planned Parenthood clinics, and said that the administration’s cuts had hurt a lot of people in need of various kinds of health care.

In May, Weinberg reintroduced legislation to restore the funding for women’s health care that was cut by Gov. Christie.

She said in May that especially in light of the revenue windfall there should be money available.

Regarding the GOP plan to restore the funding, Handlin said in a release: “The fiscal policies we enacted last year have improved our revenue stream that we can begin to restore funding to important programs and make investments in issues that we all care about, such as health services for women and children.”

Later today, Weinberg issued a response to the GOP proposal.

“The Assembly Republicans are utterly confused. It’s not a question of money, it’s a question of access,” she said in a release.

“We face a crisis in women’s health care because the governor’s decision to write his political ideology into his budget has forced six family planning clinics to close, and many others to cut back hours and services.”

“We face a crisis because last year the same Republicans who now magically care so much about women literally couldn’t be bothered to lift their fingers to vote to keep those clinics open and fully functional.”

She pointed out that Republican Sens. Diane Allen and Jennifer Beck support the Democratic-sponsored legislation.

Coalition of GOP assemblywomen introduce measure to restore funding for clinics