A Record of Silence on Women’s Health From Guadagno

Guadagno

It’s hard to get a straight answer from Kim Guadagno on where she stands on women’s health. For eight years, the Lieutenant Governor has stood by silently while Governor Christie slashed funding for preventive reproductive health services in New Jersey. Now, on the campaign trail, Guadagno has again been mostly silent on the issue — pivoting and avoiding answering the question of what, exactly, she claims she will do to help New Jersey women. It’s time we hold Guadagno accountable for her lack of action on women’s health at the next debate.

Today, New Jersey is in a reproductive health care crisis because of years of attacks by the ChristieGuadagno administration. Ever since the first budget after Christie was elected, when he eliminated $7.45 million in funding for desperately needed family planning services, Christie has repeatedly vetoed funding for preventive reproductive health care services, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV. The ChristieGuadagno administration has denied this funding for New Jersey’s family planning providers, including Planned Parenthood and other community providers. While those cuts only amounted to 0.022 percent of the entire statewide budget, that money had a big impact on women, men, and families in our state. Immediately following those initial funding cuts, access to care was diminished across the state, as health centers had to reduce hours, services, or staff, resulting in longer waits for time-sensitive services and increased distances to travel for care. The impact on public health has been disastrous for the women and men in our state. The number of cases of bacterial STDs (including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) have increased 35 percent statewide since 2009, the last year that family planning funding was included in the New Jersey state budget. In 11 out of New Jersey’s 21 counties, the increase has been nearly 50 percent or more.

Women’s cancer rates are rising too. Between 2009 and 2013, the number of breast and cervical cancer cases has risen 5.2 percent among all New Jersey women. The funding cuts have also had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, with the increase of cancer rates 0.3 percent among white women, 6.6 percent among Black women and an alarming 25.1 percent among Latinas.

When we cast our votes for governor on Election Day, we’ll be deciding the fate of women’s health in New Jersey. As we choose between the candidates, we know that there is only one candidate who will support women’s reproductive health care: Phil Murphy.

Phil Murphy is the only candidate who has unequivocally committed to standing with Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers to make sure that women’s health care is accessible and affordable across the state. Murphy has promised that he will restore state funding for family planning services — to help address the dangerous increases in STDs and cancer cases experienced under the Christie-Guadagno administration. Murphy has also stated that he will not only work to restore the original $7.45 million cut from the 2010 budget, but he will work to fill the gap left by eight consecutive years of health care cuts.

In contrast, Guadagno likes to claim to be “pro-choice” — but she has stated that she would not restore the family planning funds slashed under Governor Christie because Planned Parenthood provides safe and legal abortion care. Since that statement, made at the Republican primary debate in May, Guadagno has been silent on the issue. She needs to be held accountable for her position on the issue and her role in the administration as Christie allowed STDs to skyrocket in our state.

As Republicans in Congress try to restrict access to health care, New Jersey women need a governor who will stand strong to protect them. With all the uncertainty at the federal level around the future of access to health care, now is the time to elect a new governor who will work to make sure that access to care doesn’t depend on your income or your zip code. And when seventy-eight percent of New Jersey voters – including 46 percent of Republican voters – support state funding for women’s health, the choice is clear: a vote for Phil Murphy is a vote for women’s health.

Christine Sadovy is with the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey

(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)

One response to “A Record of Silence on Women’s Health From Guadagno”

  1. If everyone is required (mandated) to have insurance under the Affordable Care Act, then why do organizations like Planned Parenthood need state funding? If the ACA was working to actually provide “quality, affordable coverage” then women would be able to utilize their ACA-approved insurance to access the services they need. The truth is, this is not about women’s healthcare. It is about abortion. Be honest. Planned Parenthood should fund itself or close up shop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News From Around the Web

The Political Landscape