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Following the passage of Senate Bill 2899, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano has introduced its companion, Assembly Bill 4092, in the hopes that the FY 2012 budget will contain funding for women’s health and family planning clinics throughout the state.

“I am proud to have introduced this bill, but nothing would make me happier than to see it become a law,” continued Quijano (D-Union). “We cannot simply stand by while the Governor systematically dismantles the framework we have in place to help our neediest residents. Family planning clinics and Medicaid were put in place decades ago to help provide healthcare services to segments of the population that are typically underserved. Getting rid of these programs will only further disenfranchise those who need the most assistance, and I refuse to stand for that.”

“I am thrilled to have helped pass this important piece of legislation through the Senate,” said Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-Union), a cosponsor of S2899. “Family planning clinics provide so many vital services to women, and it is essential that we continue to fund these facilities to promote the overall health of our society.”

The Senate and Assembly bills appropriate $7.45 million for distribution to women’s health and family planning facilities throughout the state. The bills also mandate that Medicaid coverage be extended to all applicants who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The Medicaid provision comes as a protection against a proposal by the Governor to dramatically reduce eligibility limits.

“Getting this bill passed is crucial for providing important healthcare services to New Jersey’s struggling women, families, and elderly residents” added Quijano. “If we do not act to keep these programs operational, there will be nowhere for people without health insurance to receive cancer screenings, vital preventative care and reproductive health services. Defunding women’s health clinics would come at a tremendous cost to the health of women and families statewide and should not be held hostage by the Governor’s ideological viewpoint.”