WATCH IT HERE : A group of Democratic state Assemblywomen are pressing Gov. Christie to restore funding for family-planning clinics, in a video news release that urges him to sign a women’s health care bill that has been sitting on his desk more than a month.
NJ Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, North Bergen native, now Bergen legislator
By letting the legislation launguish, the governor, in essence, is forcing many women’s health centers to close, cutting equal access to basic health care and cancer screenings to roughly 140,000 women, say the bill’s Assembly sponsors, Linda Stender (D-Union), Pamela R. Lampitt (D-Camden) and Celeste M. Riley (D-Cumberland), and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), who heads the Assembly’s Human Services Committee .
The bill would restore $7.5 million in funding cut from women’s health and family planning services in the state budget for this year. It even identifies a funding sources: the State Employees’ Prescription Drug Program, which the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services has said will grow by only 4 percent and not the 10 percent at which Christie has funded it.
To ignore their request, they say, means Christie is willing to “turn his back on the women of New Jersey” and restrict access to basic reproductive health for women statewide, including contraception, pregnancy detection, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV testing, routine gynecological and cancer screenings – including screening for breast cancer – and other health services, including prenatal and postpartum care, menopausal services and infertility testing.
Records show that more than 136,000 patients were served by family planning centers in New Jersey last year, and that 40,000 pregnancies and 19,000 abortions were prevented as a result.