Michele is the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey & Family Planning Association. – promoted by Rosi
Hey Blue Jersey! We are all so very thankful for all you have done to get the word out there about the cuts to family planning.
It sure has been crazy time here in Jersey, huh? Earlier this week, we learned six of the seven Senate Republicans who voted in favor of women’s health in June have suddenly decided that the services family planning providers offer just aren’t that important.
And, they have a point, right? I mean really, who needs access to breast exams and pap tests when, according to the Senate Republicans’ press release, the Governor’s budget pays for childhood lead poisoning screening and environmental inspections of homes with suspected lead hazards? Women are being downright selfish to want access to affordable birth control options too. Seriously ladies, that same budget pays for prenatal care, fetal alcohol syndrome and hemophilia treatments. In fact, that press release goes on to say that”[t]hese critical investments were a major part of [their] collective decision to support the budget.”
The one thing we agree on is that these programs are all are important and life-saving. And, they 100% should be in the budget. But so should women’s health! Because women’s health matters too.
Let’s be crystal clear here. Funding for family planning was not restored in the budget for one reason and one reason only: ideology. Governor Christie didn’t exercise his veto to balance the budget as he and some legislators are now trying to claim. Research shows family planning saves taxpayers $4 for every $1 invested. So, when Governor Christie completely eliminated $7.5 million in state funding that means that you – the taxpayer – are now on the hook for an additional $30 million that will need to be spent in Medicaid.
In other words, this misguided approach does more than hinder the health and well-being of the 136,000 women and men family planning providers serve. It’s much bigger than that. By failing to fund women’s health, Governor Christie is costing the state money…and costing you money. Because investing in women’s health is not only good policy but good fiscal practice, as well. The elimination of family planning in the budget makes no sense whatsoever from an economic standpoint – especially in these tough fiscal times. Here are some more facts: New Jersey’s family planning agencies provide basic health care services – including gynecological services, screenings for breast and cervical cancer, testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and contraception. This money does not fund abortion services but instead reduces the abortion rate by preventing unintended pregnancies.
By cutting family planning, Governor Christie and those legislators who support him in this endeavor are hurting the women of New Jersey and hurting the pockets of taxpayers who will have to make up the costs. Please take a minute today to call those Senators on the fence and ask them if they are really ideologically opposed to women’s health. And, if the answer is no, then ask them to come to the table and figure out a way to get this done…just as they did for all the other critical programs listed in their press release.
So Blue Jersey, the fight goes on. Many thanks and see you here again soon! In the meantime, head over to www.womenshealthmattersnj.org and add your voice to our cause!