TRENTON, NJ – Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Linda Stender, the leading advocates for the restoration of $7.5 million in funding from the FY 2011 State Budget for women’s health and family planning programs in New Jersey, will hold a news conference tomorrow, Tuesday, August 3, to officially kick off the campaign to encourage the Legislature to override the Governor’s veto of their bill to reinstate the funds.
“The Legislature approved the restoration bill once and sent it to the Governor to do the right thing, but now it’s back on our shoulders to maintain access to women’s health care,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “We’re going to be reaching out to all of our legislative colleagues to convince them that funding for women’s health and family planning programs is too important to let lapse.”
“There’s simply too much at stake to walk away from this fight,” said Assemblywoman Stender, D-Union, Somerset and Middlesex. “Last year, 136,000 men and women received basic health care services from women’s health centers and family planning clinics, including cancer and STD screening, HIV testing, pre- and postnatal care, and contraception. Without funding in place, you will see more unplanned pregnancies, more abortions, and higher health care costs to New Jersey’s health care safety net.”
On Friday, July 23, Governor Christie vetoed S-2139, legislation which would have restored $7.5 million in State funds which were cut from the FY 2011 Budget for women’s health and family planning programs. The legislators had found a budget-neutral funding Dest, but Governor Christie maintained that he and the Treasurer had problems with the funding, despite a nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services budget analysis verifying the availability of the funds and multiple private meetings and at least one public hearing in which the Governor and Treasurer were invited to identify specific areas of concern.
The bill was approved by a bipartisan, veto-proof majority in the Senate, 30-10, and by a smaller margin in the Assembly, 42-22, with 13 abstentions. Senator Weinberg and Assemblywomen Stender said they will be working in both houses, on both sides of the political aisle, to make sure they have enough support for a successful override attempt.
Tomorrow’s news conference will be held in Statehouse Room 103, across from the Senate Chambers, at 11:30 AM.