Stender: Christie’s Veto of Women’s Health Funding is Disingenuous at Best

Assemblywoman Linda Stender on Monday called Gov. Christie’s decision to once again veto $7.5 million for women’s health care a continued assault on low-income women, children and taxpayers throughout New Jersey.

Since the Governor originally eliminated the funding in 2010, Democrats in the legislature have tried to restore the critical allocation to help preserve health care access for low-income women throughout New Jersey.

“Since the Governor first vetoed women’s health funding, his arguments have rung increasingly hollow,” said Stender (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “To claim the state has no money to fund women’s health care while wasting $12 million on an unnecessary special election date is disingenuous at best.

“We’ve seen the statistics. As a result of his repeated vetoes, six health centers have closed statewide, many have been forced to cut back or eliminate services and at least 33,000 fewer patients were served in 2012 compared with 2009, a 24 percent drop in patients served. For many low-income women, this is their only access to preventative care and family planning services.

“If this is about pandering to the Governor’s conservative base and putting ideology before the best interests of the people of this state, then it is a sad day for New Jersey.”

The bill (A-4172) Stender sponsored, along with Assemblywomen Gabriela Mosquera, Pamela Lampitt, Mila Jasey and Bonnie Watson Coleman, would have provided $7,453,000 in supplemental funding for the Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Appropriations Act for Family Planning Services grants through the state Department of Health.

Stender noted that the $7.5 million annual allocation was used to provide roughly 131,000 women, children and families with access to routine gynecological exams; screening for high blood pressure, anemia and diabetes; breast and cervical cancer screening and education; screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; contraception; HIV testing and counseling, pre-pregnancy counseling and education; pregnancy testing and confirmation and prenatal care.