New Jersey state senate is meeting today to vote one more time on overturning Gov. Chris Christie’s override of family planning funding to the state. The day should be a busy one for the body, which has been met with an onslaught of opinions from groups invested in the issue.
First, the day should start off with a rally. Via New Jersey Newsroom:
The ongoing battle to restore $7.5 million to family planning clinics in the state will be met in front of the State House on Monday, September 20 at noon. That’s when a slew of women’s groups, including the NJ chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW/NJ), the League of Women Voters, the National Council of Jewish Women, Health Professional and Allied Employees, the Women’s Political Caucus, and Women Advocating for Good Government (WAGS), will send representatives to call on women in the state to support Senator Loretta Weinberg’s ([D] District 37/Bergen County) bill to override Governor Chris Christie’s July veto of restored funding to Family Health Care.
Legislators are pushing their fellow politicians to consider overriding the veto, citing the need for more family planning access for the women of the state. Nj.com reports:
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Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein is urging her state Senate opponent to join her in voting to restore $7.5 million in family planning funds.
Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) yesterday called on state Sen. Tom Goodwin, her opponent in the upcoming 14th District state Senate special election, to unite with her in an effort to restore the family planning and women’s health funds the governor vetoed in July.
“If the state Legislature does not override the governor’s veto and health care services are not restored, thousands of New Jerseyans will be left without access to critical care,” Greenstein said in a press release. “We cannot afford to leave these people out in the cold without preventative care, gynecological or prenatal treatment, or necessary screenings.”
Other legislators are making their case to the citizens of New Jersey, such as this letter in NorthJersey.com:
It shouldn’t surprise most New Jersey residents by now that Governor Christie’s misguided public policy even extends to women’s health issues. Apparently leaving senior, disabled and low-income residents vulnerable was not enough. Now essential clinical services for women are suddenly the latest target in his maligned cost-cutting crusade.
The budget for the 2011 fiscal year, passed in June, was vacant of funding necessary to support clinical family planning for a meager savings of $7.5 million; this is one of the major reasons why I voted in opposition. So along with several of my colleagues, and the leadership of Sens. Loretta Weinberg and Joseph Vitale, we sponsored a measure to restore funding, only for it to be rebuked by the governor’s midsummer veto.
The governor’s approach to this issue, which did not convey any sort of sensitivity to women’s health concerns, has all kinds of implications, among them precluding access to matching federal funds of about $20 million.
Planned Parenthood estimates that about 40,000 current patients will no longer be able to receive care; that is almost a third of the uninsured patients statewide who depend on its services. Their research suggests that for every dollar spent on public planning, $4 is saved in Medicaid costs. Without adequate family planning services for women, the state will be faced with even higher costs for treatment, and jeopardize access to proactive alternatives for women.
Which services will be limited as a result of the reduction in funding? One in particular is screenings for cervical cancer. The rate in New Jersey exceeds the national average. That is why access to Pap smears and vaccines is so vital. Another is breast exams. It will also affect STD testing, HIV testing and prenatal and postnatal care.
Now it will take opposition by two-thirds of both houses to override the governor’s veto. We have been here before.
It is critical that the Legislature override the governor’s veto and restore family planning funding.
To put it in perspective, New Jersey already ranks in the bottom third nationally of funding for family planning services. I suggest the governor realize the gravity of reducing family planning services.
The legislators who voted against this measure have another chance. They should reevaluate their positions and vote in favor of family planning.
John A. Girgenti
The writer is a state senator representing the 35th Legislative District.
Even the media itself is editorializing on the need to pass the funding. The Record writes:
THESE NUMBERS should tell the story of family planning clinics in New Jersey: 136,000 low-income citizens served last year, 40,000 unplanned pregnancies prevented, 28,000 HIV tests and 70,000 breast exams performed.
But there’s only one number that Governor Christie cites when it comes to women’s health: 7.5. As in the $7.5 million cut from the program to balance the state budget — each and every dollar that Trenton sent to 58 clinics across the state last year. As in the $7.5 million cost he used to justify his veto of the Legislature’s vote to reinstate the funding.
To an estimated 40,000 women now shut out of the clinics, without regular screenings for cervical and breast cancer, without access to affordable birth control or prenatal care, he says let them visit federally qualified health centers — generalists already coping with a growing underclass of uninsured New Jerseyans, not to mention those recently trimmed from the rolls of NJ FamilyCare. Let them eat cake.
Still, the worry is that although the bill passed originally with a veto-proof majority, 6 of the 7 Republicans who supported it said they would not override a veto. Why? Because even though it explicitly states no money will be used on abortion, Planned Parenthoods in the state would be a receipient of funding should the bill pass, and Republicans would rather see women suffer than have the group get any state dollars.
New Jersey Right to Life spokesperson Mary Tasy expresses their position in a New Jersey Newsroom editorial:
The truth of the matter is that Primary Health Care Facilities and/or FQHCs located throughout the state of NJ are available to provide comprehensive health care for women including those without the ability to pay. In addition, access to routine cancer screenings through the NJ CEED program will be available as well as hospital services through the Charity Care Program if needed.
Planned Parenthood supporters claim that none of the money will be used for abortion, but every single family planning clinic counsels and refers for abortion and some perform abortion. Everyone knows that all money is fungible; providing funding to Planned Parenthood effectively underwrites its abortion business. A recent former director of a Texas Planned Parenthood, Abby Johnson, explained it very clearly when she told interviewers, “Abortion is the most lucrative part of Planned Parenthood’s operations. Even though they’re two separate corporations, all of the money goes into one pot.”
So, how much help will women be missing out on if the veto is not overridden? NorthJersey.com has the numbers:
The Women’s Health Care Bill, S-2139, would appropriate nearly $7.5 million for family planning clinics where patients receive tests for blood pressure, anemia, breast and cervical cancers, HIV/AIDS and diabetes, McNerney said.
The program helped about 97,000 uninsured people in 2009, with 70,000 women receiving breast examinations and 4,000 of those referred for additional testing, McNerney said.
It aided about 8,100 women, he said, adding that nearly 4,000 of those women also received Pap tests.
The fact that there is a fight to uphold the funding is “outrageous,” said Calabrese, who added that she is a breast cancer survivor.
“What has become of our society here in New Jersey when this sort of thing is being politicized?” Calabrese asked.
Mini Roundup: A Catholic church rescinded its invite to let a local Jewish group use its space for Yom Kippur services because the Rabbi was on the board of Planned Parenthood, and could “sex in space” research renew people’s interest in bring back funding to space programs?
- U of S student explores fertility in space – StarPhoenix
- Maternal Mortality: Can We Talk About Sex (at the UN)? – Huffington Post (blog)
- Population explosion still taboo – Edmonton Journal
- Can Mormon Glenn Beck Unite the Christian Right? – Religion Dispatches
- Annual exams important for gynecological cancers – Maryville Daily Times
- The Pill at 50: Maybe not the best birth control for 2010 – Philadelphia Inquirer
- Teenage rape: Counselling, education vital to fight sex-related social ills – AsiaOne
- Priority: Parents or special interests? – Helena Independent Record
- One in four youngsters ‘not using contraception’ – The Guardian
- Graphic anti-abortion images stir TCNJ campus – The Times of Trenton – NJ.com
- India: Maternal Health Gains Disputed – Tolerance
- Sydney doctors resume circumcision debate – ABC Online
- Fetus dumped in trash heap in QC found with rosary – GMANews.TV
- India: Maternal Health Gains Disputed – Human Rights Watch (press release)
- World Vision Urges Action On Child And Maternal Health At MDG Summit – Voxy
- Anti-Circumcision Stance Must End to Fight HIV, Australian Researchers Say – Bloomberg
- How should schools handle transgender kids? – Orlando Sentinel
- Cambodia wins award from United Nations for cutting HIV/AIDS – Monsters and Critics.com
- No Biological Father, High Income Spawns Early Puberty in Girls – eMaxHealth
- Weigh-in plan for new babies – Express.co.uk
- Bill would lift military abortion ban – Washington Times
- Socially Conservative Voters Refuse To Be Ignored at Washington Summit – The Washington Independent
- Neb. abortion docs to file fetus’ age with state – CNBC
- Early female puberty linked to absent biological father – Tehran Times
- Neb. abortion docs to file fetus’ age with state – Action 3 News
- Vatican declares Pope’s visit to Britain a success – The Associated Press
- NY governor vetoes popular AIDS, HIV housing bill – WCAX
- Health information sent to new mothers via free text messages – Alexandria Echo Press
- Abortions and jueteng – BusinessWorld Online
- Health: Let’s Talk About Sex – Krakow Post
- Study: Affluent Girls Without Dads Hit Puberty Earlier – AOL News
- Tulsa: May be unsafe for babies – Tulsa World
- Perfect example of why universal health care is needed – Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
- Guest column Senator Lincoln blunders on parental notification – NWAOnline (subscription)
- Bredfeldt: Keeping five promises will give children better lives – News-Leader.com
- Ohio anti-abortion Democrats take flak over vote on health care bill – Plain Dealer (blog)
- Middle-aged lovers catching more sex diseases – Yourcanterbury.co.uk
- Buck softens stance on abortion and “personhood” – Denver Post
- Teen pregnancy problem here is not unique – Pueblo Chieftain
- The Reocrd: Override the veto – NorthJersey.com
- Enroll children for health insurance – LubbockOnline.com
- Herald News: Letters, September 19, 2010 – NorthJersey.com
- Palumbo says R.I. gives undocumented pregnant women free health insurance and … – PolitiFact
- Abortion does not further children’s health – Washington Post
- The Consequences of Electing Ken Cuccinelli – Richmond Times Dispatch
- Circumcision could fight HIV spread, expert says – ABC Online
- Students Suspended for Giving Bible-Verse Donuts to Teachers – Christian Post
- 20000 protest over Pope Benedict XVI’s views on homosexuality and the spread … – PinkNews.co.uk
- Ottawa fertility specialist is accused of using wrong sperm to inseminate two … – Toronto Star
- Joan Smith: I’ll take no lectures on ethics from Ratzinger – Independent
- Anti-abortion activists arrested over graphic banner – Telegraph.co.uk
- UN Poverty Goals Face Accountability Questions – New York Times
- Girls without dad at home reach puberty early – The Money Times
- More Maternal Education Saves Children’s Lives – BusinessWeek
- Condoms Provide Better Family Planning – French Tribune
- Veto battle in Senate Monday on abortion funding – Examiner.com
- HIV virus putting humans at risk for more than 32000 years – Health Jackal
- Planned Parenthood’s abortion business shouldn’t be funded by New Jersey taxpayers – newjerseynewsroom.com
- Abortion is fault line in state race – SILive.com
- Kent County officials warn of fake HIV test results – Michigan Messenger
- The Other Half: Making the invisible visible – The Hindu
- African Polygamy was a means of Birth Control. – NewsTime
- Sex ed curriculum proposal pitches abstinence – Washington Daily News
- Greenstein urges foe to back family planning – The Times of Trenton – NJ.com
- Aid for maternal, newborn and child health doubled over 5yrs – Sify
- UN to Ask $169 Billion Maternal Health Question – Women’s eNews
- Oaks says only states should define marriage – Salt Lake Tribune
- Educator Says Local Sex Ed Isn’t Cutting It – NewsWest9.com
- BURKE: Abortion advocates declare war – Washington Times
- Adwatch: Dems Running Abortion ad in Gov. Race, – WNCT
- Differing abortion views change Yom Kippur service plans – KVUE
- Women Engaging and Responding to the HIV/AIDS Epidemic – The White House (blog)
- Baltimore Mayor Wants To Reduce Teen Pregnancy – WJZ
- LIFE DIGEST: Planned Parenthood’s abortion total rises; La. revokes abortion … – BP News
- Santorum: Don’t abandon social issues – Politico (blog)
- Hiding in Plain Sight: The Christian Right in the Tea Party Movement – Huffington Post (blog)
- Women of Reproductive Age Hit Hard by Recession – HealthNewsDigest.com
- Kent County Health Department warns of phony HIV result calls – Michigan Radio
- Abortion protest set for Oct. 3 in Houma, Lockport – Daily Comet
- APNewsBreak: Democratic ad focuses on abortion – 9&10 News
- Michael Bennet Ad Hits Ken Buck On Reproductive Rights – Huffington Post
- Christine O’Donnell slams Democrats on abortion, school vending machines – NECN
- Recession Pushes Health Care System from Bad to Worse – ColorLines magazine
- Women have place close to home for care – Chiefland Citizen
- Congressman Bart Stupak Claims Obama Has Upheld Order on Abortion Funding in … – LifeNews.com
- Value Voters Hate Gays, Abortion, Climate Change, and The Military – Lez Get Real
- NARAL Downplays Mayor Bloomberg’s Endorsement Of Dan Donovan In AG Race – New York Daily News (blog)
- Study: Schools Teach Abstinence, Not Contraception – The Frisky (blog)
- HealthKey: City, advocacy groups set teen birth prevention plan – Baltimore Sun
- Values Voter Summit Kicks Off With Attacks On Gays, Abortion Rights (VIDEO) – TPMDC
- Condom hole in the Papal vision? – BBC News (blog)
- How faith shapes politics – or doesn’t – CNN (blog)
- Family health care rally set for Trenton – newjerseynewsroom.com
- Misunderstanding Abstinence Begets More Bristol Palins – Huffington Post (blog)
- What the Census Tells Us About the Great Recession – Center For American Progress
- Donovan Brushes Back Questions On Abortion, Paladino – New York Observer
- State’s infant mortality rate hits all-time low – News & Observer
- Poor Sexual Health In The Over 50s – AboutMyArea
- Abortion is focus of play to benefit Planned Parenthood: Production is at Epic … – MLive.com
- Christine O’Donnell: No Tax Hikes, No Abortion, No Masturbation Ban – Politics Daily