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What the Hell, New Jersey?

September 23, 2010

I’ve already written about how New Jersey’s struggle to find the funding for family planning services for low-income women coincides with having an anti-choice governor (surprise!).  After months spent organizing and searching for sources of funding in a difficult budget year, the NJ Senate finally voted again this week to override Governor Christie’s veto of family planning funding.  They failed.

While my heart goes out to the tens of thousands of women who will no longer be able to get birth control, part of me can’t help but think “you get what you vote for.”  Governor Christie made no secret of his anti-choice stance during the election.   I think Planned Parenthood Federation Action Fund President Cecile Richards put it best in her piece on the Huffington Post about this:

If you ever needed a lesson in why elections matter, New Jersey is a case in point. Former Governor Jon Corzine added $2 million to promote women’s health through family planning services in New Jersey. Christie did just the opposite. Chris Christie eliminated all funds for family planning in the budget. Christie is trying to push through his opposition to family planning under the cover of cost cutting. But women and the state are eventually bound to pay the cost.

Women aren’t fooled. The truth is family planning actually saves New Jersey money over the long term. In fact, studies show that every dollar spent on family planning saves the state four dollars in Medicaid costs. Last year alone, family planning services saved New Jersey $150,000,000 in Medicaid costs. Bottom line: family planning and sound fiscal planning go hand in hand.

The truth is that in 2009, New Jersey’s family planning centers provided reproductive and preventive health care to 126,903 women and 9,461 men.  Family planning centers in New York provide the same basic, preventive health care services.  Chris Christie did the wrong thing for New Jersey families, and now Carl Paladino wants to do the same thing to New York families. 

Elections matter.  Know who you’re voting for.  Don’t let ideology doesn’t trump basic health care.

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