Friday, 24 September 2010

Christie Veto Defunds NJ State Dollars for Abortion

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Southern New Jersey’s Courier-Post newspaper reported on September 21 that the state Senate had failed by a four-vote margin the previous day to override Governor Chris Christie’s veto of a $7.5 million appropriation for so-called family planning clinics. The report noted that seven Republicans who had backed the bill in June changed their positions and voted against it.

The Courier-Post article reported that on the day of the vote, “family planning” clinic representatives said closures of their facilities would be announced after their employees have been notified, and noted that Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey had already closed its Cherry Hill site. The report cited a Planned Parenthood statement that “staffs, hours and services will be reduced at many clinics.”

A 2009 article at LifeNews.com, “Planned Parenthood Ups Number of Abortion Centers, More Sell Abortion Drug” examined the organization’s most recent annual report and noted the following:

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A further examination of the new annual report Planned Parenthood recently released finds the abortion business is still the largest in the United States. As in previous years, the number of abortions it does has gone up and roughly 25 percent of all abortions in the United States are done at Planned Parenthood centers.

The report shows that Planned Parenthood did 289,750 abortions, an increase over the 264,943 abortions it did during the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

That's a whopping nine percent increase even though the number of abortions nationally are on the decline.

"It claims to be reducing pregnancy; yet one out of every four abortions in the United States is committed at a Planned Parenthood facility," watchdog Jim Sedlak told LifeNews.com.

The number of abortions dwarfs the number of clients receiving prenatal care — which totaled just 11,058 in the new annual report. That number is almost a 20 percent decline from the 2005-2006 total of 13,261.

The Courier-Post report quoted New Jersey state Senator Loretta Weinberg, (D-Bergen), who cited a statement from the “Guttenmacher” (sic) Institute (identified as an organization that studies “reproductive health” policy) that New Jersey is the only state to eliminate, rather than reduce, funding for “family planning” services. Weinberg called the move Christie's “tip of the hat to the right wing of the Republican Party.”

The organization cited by Weinberg, the Alan Guttmacher Institute, strongly defends the practice of abortion on its webpage, but fails to mention a key fact.

As noted in a Wikipedia article: “The Guttmacher Institute in 1968 was founded as the 'Center for Family Planning Program Development,' a semi-autonomous division of The Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Center was renamed in memory of Alan Frank Guttmacher, an Ob/Gyn and former president of Planned Parenthood.”

Weinberg further asserted: "This is not an issue of party loyalty. This is not an issue of being loyal to the governor. This is an issue about women's health, about poor women, about underinsured women, about women's access to birth control.”

A report in National Review online noted: “PP-SNJ [Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey] stands to lose as much as $160,000 in taxpayer funds because of Christie’s decision and the upholding of his veto. With the closing of the Cherry Hill center, Planned Parenthood customers seeking abortions or other ‘services’ must go to PP centers in Camden, Bellmawr, and Edgewater Park.”

Another report in LifeNews.com quoted PP-SNJ president Lynn Brown’s statement to the Courier-Post newspaper:

We are in think mode and creative mode and we are doing all that we can to try and salvage to see as many people as we need to see.

We all know [the budget cut is] strictly ideological. This is a very frustrating and perplexing time for us.

Marie Tasy, the head of New Jersey Right to Life, told LifeNews.com she applauded the state Senate for not overriding Christie's veto of the Planned Parenthood funding bill. "We applaud the Senators who voted No to override Governor Christie’s veto of S2139," she said. "This debate was never about health care, it is about advancing a political agenda and rewarding 'friends' and a radical special interest group with our tax dollars."

"We commend Governor Christie for his steadfast opposition to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse and for working to promote the best health care for all NJ citizens," Tasy added.

Governor Christie has been lionized by pro-life forces and maligned by the champions of abortion for his veto, but an article in the Washington Examiner on September 23 indicates that Christie’s motivation may have been exactly what he said it was, a fiscal matter — no more, no less.

The Examiner article noted, in part:

Planned Parenthood is closing doors at its Cherry Hill center in Southern New Jersey as the result of Gov. Chris Christie’s line-item veto, which cut off $7.5 million in state taxpayer funding of the organization, according to LifeNews.com. However, the governor’s office has confirmed to The Examiner that state-funded abortions will continue to be provided, contrary to claims by Planned Parenthood....

When Christie first proposed the cuts he did so citing “unprecedented financial difficulties,” and then went so far as to assure citizens that “reproductive health care services will continue to be available in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties, including Planned Parenthood clinics, local health department clinics, standing free clinics, and hospital-based clinics.”

Christie’s deputy press secretary Kevin Roberts told the Examiner, “From the beginning when we had to veto the $7.5 million funding restoration, it was purely on fiscal grounds. We just don’t have the money.”

Asked whether this cut meant no more state funds for abortions outside of Planned Parenthood, Roberts said it would not. “Women’s reproductive services, including abortions, will continue to be funded by a mix of state and federal funding.”

While it is almost impossible to guess the motivations of any politician, this writer does give Governor Christie kudos for exhibiting a characteristic that was once typical of New Jerseyans: scrappiness. In fact, watching a video of Christie chivalrously defending California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman against a heckler gave me a sense of déjà vu, as if Christie were my own New Jersey born-and-raised father (who spent years in the construction business) come back to life! It was the stuff Garden Staters were once known for and — thanks to Christie — may still be. It is refreshing for this native New Jerseyan, therefore, to see a real man rather than an effete limousine-liberal in the Governor's residence in Trenton for a change.

 

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Photo: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks to a gathering at a Town Hall meeting, Sept. 7, 2010, in Wayne, N.J.: AP Images

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