Lawmaker Says Women Aren’t Fooled by Proclamations, Understand Governor’s Record on Health Care
TRENTON – State Senator Loretta Weinberg, one of the leading advocates for the restoration of women’s health care funding in the State Legislature, today blasted Governor Christie’s ceremonial signing of a National Health Center Week proclamation in Burlington City, saying that women deserve access to health care, not meaningless proclamations.
“The women of New Jersey aren’t fooled by the kinder, gentler image that the Governor is trying to roll out to salvage his plummeting poll numbers,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “They understand that under this Governor, access to basic health services has been severely reduced, and the safety net for women’s health has been all but dismantled. A proclamation celebrating National Health Center Week isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on when the Governor’s actions tell a very different story about his support for health care.”
In Governor Christie’s first budget, he eliminated State funding for women’s health care and family planning services, choosing to forego a 9-to-1 federal match on the State investment for ideological reasons, according to the Bergen County lawmaker. Senator Weinberg led efforts to restore the $7.5 million in State funding for women’s health care, but each time the bill was approved by the Legislature, the Governor vetoed the measure and Republican legislators failed to stand up with women to overturn that veto.
As a result of the Governor’s failure to fund women’s health programs and Republicans failure to stand up to their governor, women have found it more difficult to access basic health services including mammograms, cancer screening, blood pressure screening, pre- and post-natal care, HIV/AIDS testing, sexually transmitted disease treatment and contraception.
Senator Weinberg pointed out that signing a proclamation on health care in Burlington County is even more hypocritical when you consider that the Governor’s cuts to family planning funding have resulted in two sites in Burlington County – operated by the county health department and located in Browns Mills and Mount Holly – closing services for family planning patients.
“If the Governor and legislative Republicans really cared about health care, they’d work with us to restore the cuts to women’s health programs and the myriad other health care safety net programs which have been on the Governor’s chopping block,” said Senator Weinberg. “Publicity stunts like signing a proclamation for National Health Center Week provide little comfort for women struggling to access health care. Unless he’s willing to reverse his stance on vital health care programs, today’s proclamation signing will stand as evidence of the Governor’s hypocrisy when it comes to the health and wellbeing of New Jersey’s residents.”