Seven Republican state senators switched their votes on Monday in order to line up behind Gov. Chris Christie and vote down a $7.5 million bill to restore funding for women’s health clinics. S-2139 initially passed the state Senate with what was thought to be a veto-proof majority of 30-10, but the bill was blocked by Christie, who argued the state could not afford it.
State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and state Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) have accused Christie of objecting to the programs on ideological grounds because many of the clinics are run by Planned Parenthood. The bill prohibits funds to be used for abortions but does support contraception, exams and cancer screening. Weinberg and Stender subsequently suggested using surplus funds in a prescription plan to pay for the bill so it would be cost-neutral.
The seven Republican senators that initially voted for the bill but subsequently switched their votes to back Christie are: Diane B. Allen (R-Burlington), Christopher Bateman (R-Somerset), Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), Andrew Ciesla (R-Ocean), Christopher Connors (R-Ocean), Sean Kean (R-Monmouth), and Robert Singer (R-Ocean). No Republicans voted in favor of the measure.