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New Jersey Assembly votes yes on restoring family planning funding



February 15, 2018

Contact: Casey Olesko 201.647.5502 / [email protected]

New Jersey Assembly votes yes on restoring family planning funding

Bill to restore funding for family planning services heads to Governor Murphy’s desk

TRENTON, NJ – Today, the New Jersey Assembly passed two bills to help expand access to reproductive health services in New Jersey. A2134 passed 47-20-6; this bill will reinstate the $7.45 million in reproductive health care funding cuts made by former Governor Christie. This funding goes toward critical health care services, including cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A1656, a bill to expand Medicaid coverage for reproductive health services to more New Jersey women, passed 52-20 with bipartisan support. The New Jersey Legislature has voted on these bills numerous times in previous sessions in order to restore funding for family planning services to the state budget; however, Christie repeatedly vetoed those bills. The bill now heads to Governor Murphy’s desk, where it is expected that he will sign the bill into law, after having made the funding restoration a central aspect of his campaign.

“We applaud the Assembly for passing this bill, and thank all of our legislative champions who have stood up for New Jersey women over the last eight years,” said Christine Sadovy, Legislative and Political Director with Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “It is time to right the wrongs of the previous administration and get New Jersey back on the right track when it comes to reproductive health.”

Since the cuts, there have been statewide increases in bacterial STDs, as well as increases in breast and cervical cancer cases with a disproportionate impact on communities of color — leaving the state in a public health crisis. Immediately following the initial funding cuts, six family planning health centers closed their doors, including centers in Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Hudson, and Morris counties. Other centers cut hours, services, or staff, leading to increased wait times for time-sensitive services and increased distances to travel for care.

Planned Parenthood supporters have worked for the past eight years to ensure that New Jersey did not forget about the patients who rely on New Jersey’s family planning providers. Volunteer activists stood up and made their voices heard. They wrote letters to the editor, called their elected officials, and held rallies at their legislators’ offices in district and in Trenton. In addition to these passionate supporters, Governor Murphy also made his position on women’s health well known. On the campaign trail, Governor Murphy pledged not only to restore funding, but also to work to fill the gaps left by nearly a decade of withheld resources. Studies have shown that publicly funded family planning saves taxpayer money. Every dollar invested saves over $7 in Medicaid and other public expenditures.

This funding is also supported by the vast majority of New Jerseyans. Two separate polls from the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling showed that three-quarters of New Jerseyans support these funds. The polls also showed strong bipartisan support.