April 24, 2019 | 63° F

Murphy endorses first healthcare legislation

Photo by Thomas Boniello |

Backing his first piece of legislation during his time in office, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed a bill that funnels $7.45 million into state funding that supports New Jersey’s family planning and women’s healthcare services. 

Endorsing his first piece of legislation since taking office, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed a bill to restore $7.45 million in state funding for family planning and women’s healthcare services.

The bill — No. 2134 in the State Assembly and No. 120 in the State Senate — supports access to healthcare measures like family planning and prenatal care and other services, such as cancer screenings, according to a press release.

The bill also specifies that the money cannot be used for abortions, according to a statement from the Assembly Budget Committee.

“We cannot immediately undo the damage of eight years of vetoed women’s health care funding under Governor (Chris) Christie,” Murphy said in the press release. “But we can put the era of putting personal politics before the needs of countless thousands of New Jerseyans behind us. We are one state, one family, and we will stand in support of everyone’s access to family planning, to prenatal care and to life-saving cancer screenings.”

The bill proposes adding additional funding to annual appropriations for fiscal year 2018 through the General Fund to the Department of Health for Family Planning Services grants, according to the statement. These appropriations were halted starting in fiscal year 2011 under former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.).

Christie vetoed the appropriations in 2010 and each following year, and said that the funding was duplicative and the state could not afford it in trying economic times, according to NJ Advance Media. That money lost amounted to approximately $60 million over the course of his two terms.

There were other sources of funding that sent money to family planning services during Christie’s time in office. 

New Jersey continued receiving federal grants in Title X funds, which totaled $8.4 million last year. Other reported sources of funding included approximately $30 million in allocations from the New Jersey Department of Health to community health centers in the state, according to NJ Spotlight.

“The elimination of this funding resulted in both the closing of centers that provide family planning services and a reduction in the availability of such services, as the remaining sources of federal and private funding for the family planning centers were insufficient to maintain existing services,” according to the statement.

The money will be distributed among more than three dozen clinics in the coming weeks, according to NJ Spotlight. 

Murphy also signed a second piece of legislation that is centered on providing Medicaid coverage for family planning services to low-income people, according to the press release.  

“This bill restores State funding for family planning centers to previous levels, thereby increasing the availability of family planning services,” according to the statement.

Ryan Stiesi

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