Murphy OKs Millions More for Planned Parenthood
A supplement to the budget Gov. Phil Murphy agreed to late last month allocates millions of dollars more for family planning services, including Planned Parenthood.
An appropriations bill Murphy signed along with the budget allocates $10.453 million for the services via grant in aid, a 40 percent increase from fiscal year 2019.
"Since this funding was restored after being zeroed out by the Christie administration, thousands of New Jersey women have regained access to vital health care, including life-saving cancer screenings, at health clinics statewide," Murphy said in a statement about the budget issued June 30, when he signed it just a day before a stalemate over tax increases could have forced a government shutdown.
Murphy and his administration have long been friends to Planned Parenthood, which for eight years found itself at odds with Murphy's predecessor, Chris Christie. Funding for the Planned Parenthood is frequently criticized by Republicans, Christie included, as the organization provides abortion services.
The first bill Murphy signed as governor, after taking office in 2018, restored nearly $7.5 million to the state budget that was eliminated in 2010 by Christie, who subsequently vetoed yearly efforts to restore it.
“Restoring this funding won’t immediately, and we all know this, undo the damage of the collective $60-plus million that Gov. Christie vetoed over his eight years, but turning our state around to stand again for the right values starts here and it starts now,” Murphy said at the time, speaking to Planned Parenthood activists on a telephone town-hall meeting.
Murphy had blamed the funding cuts for closing six health clinics and for a rise in sexually transmitted infections.
His second bill signing expanded Medicaid coverage for family planning services to people with incomes between 138 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold.
In October of last year, Planned Parenthood honored Murphy's lieutenant governor, who is also the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, with a "People Who Make a Difference" award.
“Planned Parenthood has been a steadfast leader in advocating for women’s health for generations past, which is why this award is so meaningful today,” Oliver said. “Protecting the rights of women and increasing their access to healthcare are causes that are not only near and dear to me, but are at stake in this country. I proudly stand with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey while together we voice our concerns about the critical issues facing women today.”
The appropriations bill, which was voted on separately from the budget overall, passed 49-25 in the state Assembly, and 22-13 in the state Senate.
-- With previous reporting by Michael Symons