(TRENTON) — Assemblywoman Linda Stender issued a multimedia package Tuesday on her continued calls to Gov. Chris Christie to sign her legislation (A-3019) that would restore $7.5 million in women’s healthcare funding in this year’s budget.
In her latest call for action from the governor’s office, Stender (D-Union) highlighted testimony provided Monday to the Senate Health Committee by the Guttmacher Institute, which said that without a restoration in this funding, family planning centers in the state will not only lose money but will likely see a substantial rise in abortions and teen pregnancies.
The multimedia package consists of a video of Stender’s comments, audio of same and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of Stender’s comments is appended below:
Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union):
“When Sen. Weinberg and I met with the governor, we had a very good meeting. I felt that we had a good opportunity to explain why this is so vitally important to the State of New Jersey and left feeling that he was going to give fair consideration to the facts that we have that show that when you look at the merits of this bill — on the finances and on the service levels — that this bill must be signed, that these services must be provided.
“Today, I was very disturbed, though, by the fact that the commissioner of health really was not responding in a straightforward way to the questions about the services and how they were going to be provided. She was fast and loose with statements about the federally qualified health centers filling the gaps, or emergency rooms. Now, we all know that an emergency room is not the answer to getting primary healthcare; to getting access to birth control; to getting the screenings that women need for their health in the State of New Jersey.
“But the most important statements that I believe were made today — that we haven’t really heard loudly and clearly — is that the elimination of this money will mean more abortions in the State of New Jersey. And I think we all agree that we want to reduce the number of abortions in the State of New Jersey.
“Just on the merits, the facts are that 136,000 women were served last year; that the screenings for breast exams and pap smears were done; and the access to birth control. And when this money goes away, those services go away with it.
“We can’t afford it, and the women of the state deserve to be treated as a priority and not have their back turned on by the State of New Jersey.”