New Jersey Legislature to Hold Hearing on Bills Funding Planned Parenthood

State   Steven Ertelt   Nov 4, 2010   |   5:49PM    Trenton, NJ

The state Assembly Appropriations Committee has scheduled a hearing on Bills A3273 and A3274 to fund Planned Parenthood and family planning clinics.

The measures are a response to the veto pro-life Gov. Chris Christie issued, saying the state didn’t have the extra funds to be sending the abortion giant in a difficult economy.

The measures are the Assembly versions of the bills which were supposed to be heard at the October 7 Senate Budget Committee meeting that wa cancelled.

According to New Jersey Right to Life, the legislation transfers $5 million of unexpended balance from the Purchase of Service for Inmates Incarcerated in County Penal Facilities account from the budget and appropriates that amount for Planned Parenthood and family planning centers.

“Bill S2294/A3273 requires the Department of Human Services to file a permanent waiver application to expand medicaid coverage to persons up to 200% of the poverty level,” NJRTL director Marie tasy explains. “The bills will  ensure that Planned Parenthood/family planning clinics get reimbursed 90% for every ‘service’ they provide.”

Tasy says the hearing should focus in part on the fact that Planned Parenthood was found to be overcharing the state for family planning programs and New Jersey officials eventually had to refund millions to the federal government as a result.

“An important fact that the sponsors of these bills won’t mention is that a U.S. Inspector General audit found that from 2001-2005, Planned Parenthood improperly billed all outpatient services to get the 90% reimbursement rate,” she told LifeNews.com. “The State had to reimburse the federal government a total of $3M for this billing error.”

Tasy is calling on pro-life advocates to email and call the members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee asking them to oppose the bills.

Although it doesn’t fund abortions directly, the money goes to the Planned Parenthood abortion business. The funds go to 58 family planning clinics but Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain, runs 29 of the facilities.

After Christie cut the funding, the state legislature approved a bill to restore it and they approved the bill he vetoed on a 30-10 vote on the Senate, more than enough to override. However, Republicans who supported the bill would not buck their party’s governor by supporting the override vote.

On September 20, the New Jersey Senate failed to override the Christie veto of S2139. Democrats in both Houses introduced two new bills, S2293/A3274 and S2294/ A3273 to fund Planned Parenthood in response.

Democratic State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union), told the Star Ledger newspaper in September that they may have found a way to get funding to Planned Parenthood. After the vote they touted an unspent fund set aside in the 2010 budget to pay for housing prisoners that they say could be used to fund most of the money Christie cut from the abortion business.

“Through this bill, we will be able to find additional surplus funds contained with the Governor’s budget to restore at least a portion of the resources for women’s health programs,” they said, according to the paper.

Christie thinks there’s little reason to send the abortion centers $7.5 million when the state currently faces an $11 billion deficit.

He said the “unprecedented financial difficulties” of the state made it so the money was better off not spent.

“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,” he said.