Assembly Democrats Vince Mazzeo and Gabriela Mosquera on Thursday expressed their disappointment that Assembly Republicans did not join Democrats in standing up for low- and middle-income women and their families during the attempted veto override of legislation they sponsored to restore funding for women’s health centers.
The bill (A-3492) was initially approved during last year’s budget cycle and vetoed, once again, by Gov. Christie. It would have restored the $7.5 million for women’s health centers that the governor has routinely eliminated since taking office.
The sponsors noted that in 2009 the funding proposed in the bill helped provide more than 136,000 patients with life-saving services, including cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, breast health services, Pap tests and other health screenings. As a direct result of the governor’s cuts, at least six women’s health and family planning centers closed while other health centers had to cut back staff or hours. In 2013, New Jersey’s family planning providers saw at least 37,000 fewer patients compared with 2009 – a 27 percent drop in patients served.
“For the past eight years, the Governor has repeatedly ignored what is best for New Jersey in favor of what is best for his ambitions,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “And at nearly every turn, Republicans in our house have caved to his wishes. During this time of healthcare uncertainty, we had hoped they would finally put the people of this state first now that the Governor is leaving office. Obstructing the road to better health for partisan reasons – particularly when that decision hurts low- and middle-income women most – is a blatant dereliction of duty.”
“Because of the repeated failure of Republicans to stand up to the Governor, numerous health care centers have closed across our state, leaving thousands of women without access to essential life-saving services like mammograms, cervical cancer screenings and pre-natal care,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “With the national debate over the Affordable Care Act casting massive doubts over the stability of healthcare in this country, now more than ever we should be standing up for working-class families in this state.”