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Weinberg Statement On Governor’s Veto Of Women’s Health Bill

Says Governor’s Insistence that Finances Are Behind Veto is Disingenuous Given Recent Appearances with Pro-Life Organizations

TRENTON – State Senator Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the sponsor of legislation to restore women’s health funding in New Jersey and leverage millions in federal matching funds, issued the following statement today regarding the Governor’s veto of her legislation, supposedly on the grounds that New Jersey can’t afford it:

“Frankly, the Governor’s insistence that his opposition to women’s health programs is rooted in fiscal conservatism is dubious at best, given his far-right social views about a woman’s right to choose.

“Given his appearance as recently as last week at a rally held by New Jersey Right to Life, it’s apparent that the Governor’s veto is motivated by his conservative personal opinions and not fiscal concern.

“Considering that this legislation would have garnered $9 in federal matching funds for every $1 in State funds spent, this is a program we cannot afford to let fall by the wayside. We could have used funds which are already appropriated in the FY 2011 State Budget, so this proposal would have required no new money.

“Just because the Governor continues to say that federally-qualified health centers can carry the extra burden of providing services for women who are denied access to care at women’s health and family planning clinics doesn’t make it so. In fact, we heard that the addition of new health care consumers would pose a significant burden on operations at FQHCs.

“Just because the Governor says women will have access at emergency rooms to basic health care doesn’t make it so. Study upon study has shown that the emergency room is the least cost-effective mode of providing access to preventive health care. And certain services – including access to contraception – are not provided by emergency rooms.

“Just because the Governor says women will have access to mammograms through the NJ CEED program doesn’t make it so. Women can access low-cost mammograms through NJ CEED, but only if they have a doctor’s prescription – something they would have through family planning clinics and women’s health centers.

“The Governor may believe his own propaganda, but the fact is that he’s either misinformed or deliberately being factually incorrect on the issues.

“Governor Christie’s actions today have condemned uninsured women in New Jersey to a life without access to the most basic of health care services, including cancer screening, pap smears, pre- and post-natal care, STD screening and treatment, HIV / AIDS screening, and yes, contraception. Failure to fund women’s health programs will result in more unplanned pregnancies and more women getting sick.

“The Governor has sided with conservative politics and right-wing values over the women of the Garden State. Hopefully, the Legislature will be able to reverse his myopic veto and ensure access to women’s health in New Jersey.”