Assemblywoman Linda Stender, one of the Legislature’s leading champions of women’s health, today warned that without a restoration in funding for family planning centers New Jersey will not only lose money, but likely see a substantial rise in the number of abortions and teen pregnancies according to testimony provided by the Guttmacher Institute before today’s Senate Health Committee.

“Today we heard testimony reinforcing the fact that family planning centers are a proven means to save the state money and prevent abortions and teen pregnancies.

“We all agree that we want to reduce the number of abortions in our state. While no state funding can be used for abortion services, without this funding for preventative services, we will see the number of abortions in New Jersey increase, along with the number of unplanned teen pregnancies.

“In 2008, alone, family planning centers helped more than 30,000 women in New Jersey avoid unintended pregnancies, 12,600 of which would have resulted in abortions. By providing publicly-funded contraceptive services, it is estimated that New Jersey saved $156 million in state and federal Medicaid dollars in 2008, costs we would have incurred on pre- and postnatal care, delivery, and infant care.

“This program is such an effective cost saving measure that the federal government is now actively working to help states apply for the match in Medicaid dollars to increase access to family planning services. It is my earnest hope that the Governor will take all of these facts into account and sign the family planning funding bill into law soon.”

Stender is one of the lead sponsors of bill S2139, a measure that would restore $7.5 million in the state budget for family planning centers and make the state eligible for a 90 percent match in federal dollars. The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature on June 28 and has been awaiting action by the Governor.