For the fourth year in a row, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a $7.45 appropriations bill for women’s health centers around the state, and this year he also vetoed a bill that would allow family-planning services to be provided through Medicaid. The governor briefly explained these and other vetoes in an “omnibus” veto message.
The Democrats charge that Christie’s veto is motivated by his wish to please Republicans outside of New Jersey, rather than serve the interests of state residents. Christie cites costs as the reason for the veto, which cuts the funding that was previously provided for these centers before he became governor.
According to Democrats, these cuts have caused six Planned Parenthood centers to close statewide, and resulted in a 24 percent drop in services that include cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and other health screenings.
Democratic women, led by state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, have argued that the cuts in these programs leave federal matching dollars on the table and that it makes no sense to eliminate them. Indeed, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost of adding family planning to the state’s Medicaid program.
State Sen. Barbara Buono, Christie’s Democratic challenger, issued a statement that Christie’s actions were a “profile in cowardice” since he would “rather please Republican primary voters in Iowa than stand up for the Garden State and its working and middle-class families.”