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October 30, 2017

Contact: Casey Olesko 201.647.5502 / [email protected]

Kim Guadagno: Pro-Choice, Except For Poor Women?

Interview with Brian Lehrer leads to more questions than answers

TRENTON, NJ — Just one week before the gubernatorial election, Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno had the opportunity today to finally clarify her views on funding for preventive reproductive health care in New Jersey after avoiding the topic throughout her campaign. On WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, Guadagno was asked if she would restore the funding cut from the state budget by Governor Christie in 2010 – but her responses were misleading, confusing, and harmful to the women, men, and families of New Jersey. But she did make one position crystal clear: Kim Guadagno will not restore funding for Planned Parenthood and other women’s health care providers in New Jersey because Planned Parenthood also provides abortions – a service that is not funded by the family planning dollars in question. Despite claiming to be “pro-choice,” host Brian Lehrer grilled Guadagno on her position, wondering if she was “pro-choice except for poor women.”

In 2010, the Christie-Guadagno administration slashed $7.45 million dollars from the state budget for women's health care. This funding went to lifesaving reproductive health care services, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STDs). This funding did not go towards abortion services. Now, eight years later, New Jersey faces a public health crisis. There has been a 35 percent increase in cases of bacterial sexually transmitted diseases since 2009 and an increase in breast and cervical cancer cases with a disproportionate impact on communities of color, including an alarming 25.1 percent increase among Latinas.

During the interview, Guadagno claimed to be in favor of “reproductive health care for all women.” But yet she remained silent during the eight years that Governor Christie proudly vetoed attempts to restore funding for cancer screenings and birth control. She did not take action as health centers closed their doors, cut hours, ended services, and laid off staff in order to make ends meet – which all unfortunately led to reduced access to reproductive health care for women across New Jersey. Not once has she addressed the rise in STDs and cancer cases that have affected individuals across the state for the last eight years. Not once did she stand up to help get New Jerseyans the reproductive health care they need. Guadagno’s silence over the last eight years speaks volumes.

Voters this November do have a candidate on the ballot that unequivocally stands with Planned Parenthood and will protect and expand access to care: Phil Murphy. As Republicans in Congress try to restrict access to health care, New Jersey women need a governor who will stand strong with them. We cannot rest while reproductive rights are under attack – and we know that Phil Murphy will stand strong with us.

The Brian Lehrer Show, 10/30/2017

Reproductive health questions start at 29:15