New Jersey Governor Chris Christie repeatedly cut funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business — slashing millions in taxpayer funds for an organization which was eventually found out to have engaged in fraud using taxpayer dollars. Now, abortion activists are fighting to restore the funding.
Christie is pro-life and vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times before he ran for re-election in a state that is not known as a bastion of conservatism.
Christie earned high praise from pro-life advocates, saying it didn’t need taxpayer funds in part because clinics are available across the state that provide health care for women without also doing abortions and because the state is facing a tough financial crunch.
“I first want to thank you for acting on our Alert to urge the Governor to veto S788/A3204, the bill which would provide $7.5M in taxpayer funds to Planned Parenthood,” Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life said in an email message to members at the time of the last de-funding. “The Governor heard our message loud and clear! Just this afternoon, Governor Christie vetoed the bill, along with other supplemental bills passed last week.”
Recently, at a conservative political conference, Christie defended his decision to veto funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
“When they send me Planned Parenthood funding year after year after year — and I am the first governor to ever veto Planned Parenthood funding out of the budget — there is no room for compromise there,” Christie said.
But, now abortion activists are fighting to get those millions of dollars back.
In calling to restore the money, Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said funding Planned Parenthood and other women’s health centers reflects the state’s values.
“Is this about budgets or is it about appealing to the most right wing of the Republican Party?” Weinberg said of Christie’s position.
She said her message to legislators is: “Those of you who voted year after year after year to uphold the governor’s veto because it was a budget issue, you know very well this is not a budget issue.”
Christie cut the funding in his first year as governor and has repeatedly vetoed it since then. The cuts led to six clinics closing in 2010, including Planned Parenthood clinics in Cherry Hill and Dover, independent clinics in Bayonne and Millville, and Burlington County Department of Health clinics in Westampton and Pemberton Township.
Christie hasthat federal qualified health centers can meet the needs of the women who were served by the closed centers. He’s also written in a series of annual veto messages that he opposed the funding due to fiscal constraints.
Roslyn Rogers Collins, president and CEO of Newark-based Planned Parenthood of Metro New Jersey, said that the 2010 cuts reduced her organization’s budget by $1.2 million annually, or 18 percent of its overall budget. This cut continues to reverberate five years later, Collins said, and was a factor in the organization’s decision to shut one of its clinics in December.
The abortion giant was found to have been engaging in fraudulent activity in New Jersey.
The U.S. Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services uncovered a consistent problem with New Jersey-based family planning clinics run by the Planned Parenthood abortion business. They were found to be improperly billing Medicaid for services that did not qualify as family planning.
New Jersey authorities were sent letters in July 2007, June 2008 and August 2008 notifying them of the problems and requesting action to correct the errors. The reports found billing errors from February 1, 2001 through January 31, 2005.
An initial audit revealed New Jersey improperly received federal reimbursement at the enhanced 90% rate for 160,955 prescription drug claims that were billed as family planning, but did not qualify as family planning services. A letter from the Inspector General to New Jersey officials recommended that New Jersey repay $2,219,746 to the federal government.
In a section entitled “Causes of Overpayment,” the report states: “During our visits to family planning clinics throughout the State, many providers (especially Planned Parenthood providers) stated that they billed all claims to Medicaid as “family planning.” Officials at these clinics stated that they believed that all of the services they provided were related to family planning. Therefore, officials at these clinics often populated the family planning indicator field on Medicaid claims even though the service provided did not meet the criteria for 90-percent Federal funding. By populating this field, the MMIS designated the claim as eligible for 90-percent Federal funding.”
The state eventually returned $2.9 million to the federal government.