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Let’s tell it like it is: While Chris Christie’s been busy pandering to the far right, the women of New Jersey have been paying the price.

Just last night, Christie vetoed New Jersey’s family planning program $7.5 million that provided lifesaving care like breast exams and Pap tests to more than 136,000 patients in 2009 for the SIXTH year in a row. As a result, New Jersey’s family planning providers have seen almost 33,000 fewer patients — a 25 percent drop in patients served. Clinics have been forced to close, and others have had to cut back on hours or increase waiting periods.

Even his home state’s leading newspaper had harsh words for the presidential hopeful: “Gov. Chris Christie finally admit[ted] he was flat-out lying about his reasons for vetoing funding to Planned Parenthood...He was pandering to conservatives who detest Planned Parenthood, at the expense of women's health.”

A new report, “Women’s Health at Risk” outlines the state of women’s health in New Jersey under Chris Christie’s governorship. The recent headline from a Times of Trenton editorial says it best: “N.J. women do not deserve to be governor's props.” Read more headlines on Christie’s backward position on women’s health.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Let’s be blunt: In Christie’s eagerness to appeal to the far right, he’s left tens of thousands of New Jersey women out in the cold forcing health centers to close, and leaving women without essential care like cancer screenings and birth control.

“There’s no doubt about where Chris Christie’s moral compass points straight toward his political ambitions, at the expense of the people of New Jersey.”  

New Jersey under Chris Christie:

  • As of last night, Chris Christie has vetoed funding for family planning six times in the New Jersey budget.  Every year, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly have passed legislation to restore the $7.5 million in family planning that Christie cut, and every year he has vetoed this legislation, even bragging about how many times he’d cut funding for Planned Parenthood. In 2009, this funding helped support services for more than 136,000 patients; and in 2013, New Jersey’s family planning providers saw almost 33,000 fewer patients compared with 2010 — a 25 percent drop in patients served. An editorial in the state’s leading newspaper called the results harsh: “Six clinics were forced to close, and others had to cut back on hours or increase waiting periods. And none of the money was even being used for abortions. Christie cut it simply because some of it was going to facilities that also perform the procedure. He was pandering to conservatives who detest Planned Parenthood, at the expense of women's health.”

  • Chris Christie has also vetoed efforts to expand New Jersey's Medicaid eligibility for family planning to 200% of the federal poverty level, which would allow thousands of women to have coverage for their reproductive health care needs and bring this to parity with the state's pregnancy eligibility level for Medicaid. Even with the Affordable Care Act, this program is still important for those women who remain uninsured or who "churn" between Medicaid and Marketplace coverage.

Chris Christie’s positions on women’s health:

  • Governor Chris Christie opposes abortion and has reiterated his commitment to groups that aim to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion. Speaking at an anti-abortion rally on the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade decision he told the crowd that they have “an ally.” [Associated Press, 1/24/11; Meet the Press, 6/26/11]

  • Governor Christie celebrates his record of vetoing $7.5 million a year that would go to family planning organizations such as Planned Parenthood, leading to the closure of health centers. In 2012, 434,950 New Jersey women were in need of publicly supported contraceptive services and supplies. Investments in family planning not only help women access affordable birth control, but also helps them avoid sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer, and unintended pregnancies.

  • Chris Christie thinks bosses should be allowed to deny women access to affordable birth control and said he was not concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage after the deeply unpopular Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision. Polling shows that 57 percent of female voters disagree with Christie’s position, saying that they would be more likely to support a candidate who opposes allowing employers to refuse to cover birth control.

  • Chris Christie has called the Affordable Care Act a “disaster” a “train wreck” and an “awful law” and has said he would repeal the law. That means taking away affordable health care from208,467 people in New Jersey who have enrolled through the marketplace as well as the 1,701,115women in New Jersey that now have access to preventive care, including birth control and cancer screenings without a copay.

  • Governor Christie has repeatedly blocked reforms that would support equal pay for women. Back in 2012, Christie blocked two bills that would make it easier for women to learn if they are being discriminated against and recover the back pay they are owed. He did the same thing again in 2014. Christie called one of the bills a “senseless bureaucracy." In New Jersey, women make 80 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts. That disparity is larger for women of color.

  • When Christie vetoed a bill to raise the minimum wage in 2013, proponents of the bill vowed to take it to the people and put it on the ballot. Later that year, 61 percent of New Jersey voters voted for a minimum wage increase, sending Chris Christie a clear message that he was wrong. Two-thirds of minimum wage earners are women, and Wider Opportunities for Women estimates that a single person without children in New Jersey working a job with benefits would still need a wage of $19.55 for basic economic security.

In Chris Christie’s own words:

  • On NBC’s Meet the Press, Christie laid out his opposition to abortion, saying, “I am pro-life...that’s my position, take it or leave it.” [Meet the Press, 6/26/11]

  • At the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2015, Christie told the audience, “I am pro-life, I ran as a pro-life candidate in 2009 unapologetically. I spoke at the pro-life rally on the steps of the State House – the first governor to ever speak at a pro-life rally on the steps of the State House in New Jersey. And I vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget.” [YouTube, 3/13/15]

  • Christie has said that he won’t compromise when it comes to vetoing funding for family planning: “When they send me Planned Parenthood funding year after year after year — and I am the first governor to ever veto Planned Parenthood funding out of the budget — there is no room for compromise there.” [CSPAN, 6/19/15]

  • Following the extremely unpopular Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision last June Chris Christie was asked if he was concerned that some New Jersey women could lose birth control coverage, to which he said, “No.” When asked why not, he added, “Because I’m not.” [POLITICO, 7/13/14]

  • Christie said that spending time talking about issues like contraception was “silly.” When asked about the focus by Republican candidates on contraception issues, Christie said  it was “a silly issue for us to be spending time on.” [Associated Press, 3/19/12]

About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.

If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].

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