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The elimination of nearly $7.5 million in funding for family planning services helped state lawmakers plug a multibillion-dollar budget gap last year.
But that’s not all it did, according to state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen).
She says the cuts forced six of 58 family planning centers to close.
"In the current budget, the budget under which we are operating, the governor stripped out seven and a half million dollars that went to family planning centers throughout the state of New Jersey," Weinberg said at a discussion she hosted with women’s health care providers and other female Democratic legislators. "At the beginning of this current budget year, we had 58 family planning centers, we now have 52. Six have closed and others have cut back their hours."
PolitiFact New Jersey decided to check this claim, as lawmakers continue battling over funding for family planning services in New Jersey and nationally.
In June 2010, the state Assembly and Senate passed a bill that would restore the $7.45 million in funding cut for family planning services. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill, S2139, saying New Jersey residents have access to "comprehensive reproductive health care services" at other sites and the state can’t afford to "provide duplicative funding for family planning centers."
Since then, Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said her agency has been notified that six sites have closed: Westampton and Brown Mills locations run by the Burlington County Health Department; Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey’s Cherry Hill center; FamCare, Inc.’s Millville facility; the Bayonne Women’s Health and Family Planning Center; and Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey’s Dover site.
The state Senate passed another bill, S2899, on May 23 that would restore the funding, but the Assembly has not yet voted on the measure.
The organizations that ran the six centers told PolitiFact New Jersey that state funding cuts forced the closures.
Ralph Shrom, a spokesman for Burlington County, said the Westampton clinic and a satellite location at Deborah Hospital in Brown Mills closed at the end of 2010.
In Camden County, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey Lynn Brown said her organization closed its family planning services center in Cherry Hill, a site that was operating one day a week, in fall 2010.
A Millville location run by FamCare, Inc. that also operated one day a week closed on Dec. 1, according to Kimberly McKown-Strait, the organization’s executive director.
The women’s health center in Bayonne officially closed on April 29, Bayonne spokesman Joe Ryan said.
Triste Brooks, the president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey, said the organization’s Dover site closed at the end of 2010.
So let’s review: Six family planning clinics closed during the past fiscal year and representatives from each blamed the loss of state funding for the closure. Christie signed a budget that eliminated $7.45 million in funding for family planning services that the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed. The governor also vetoed a measure that would have restored the funding.
We rate Weinberg’s statement that the governor’s cuts forced six family planning centers to close True.
To comment on this ruling, join the conversation at NJ.com.
YouTube, Roundtable discussion with Loretta Weinberg, May 11, 2011
Summaries of Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2010-2011 Budget
Email interview with Donna Leusner, spokeswoman for New Jersey Department on Health and Senior Services, May 12, 2011
The Star-Ledger, N.J. Sen. Weinberg: Christie's cuts on health centers are a 'war on women', May 11,2011
Interview with Ralph Shrom, spokesman for Burlington County
Interview with Lynn Brown, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New Jersey
Interview with Kimberly McKown-Strait, Executive Director of FamCare, Inc.
Interview with Joe Ryan, spokesman for Bayonne
Interview with Triste Brooks, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey, May 13, 2011
Senate Bill 2139
Veto of Senate Bill 2139
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