A measure to restore state funding for family planning services is making its way through the New Jersey legislature.
The Senate Health Committee voted to advance the bill that would provide nearly seven-and-a-half-million dollars in grants for family planning and women’s health clinics.
Former Governor Chris Christie eliminated the funding in 2010 and vetoed efforts by lawmakers to restore it.
Nancy Hedinger, the president of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, says that’s had negative consequences on the availability of essential reproductive health care services.
“Clinics have closed, reduced hours. There’s been an increase in breast and cervical cancers and an alarming uptick in STDs. Those seeking services have had to travel farther or wait longer.”
The measure specifies that the funds cannot be used for abortion procedures.
Reverend Rob Gregson is executive director of Unitarian Universalist Faith Action New Jersey.
“We want to stand as a religious faith voice to say that we think women’s reproductive needs need to fully addressed and fully funded in a way that they haven’t been in the last eight years in this state.”
Governor Phil Murphy has indicated he’d sign the bill if the full legislature passes it.