State budget reflects Christie’s pro-life posture

By: centraljersey.com
Budgets are ideological documents.
All governors approach budgeting with an ideological bias. Budgets assign dollar values to priorities, outlining how money will be spent and from whom it should be raised. This is the heart of the budget debate currently consuming Trenton, something the Democrats have not been shy about admitting.
Gov. Chris Christie is another story.
The governor has approached the budget, rhetorically, as if his only goal was weaning the state from unnecessary spending. He has talked repeatedly about how we have lived beyond our means for too long and how we need to stop, which is true enough, but he also has pretended that his cuts have had little to do with his political philosophy.
That’s absurd, of course. Gov. Christie has targeted the teachers union as the bogeyman of his administration, while slashing programs designed to ameliorate the effects of economic hardship (changes in unemployment benefits, for instance). He is slashing aid to schools and towns, delaying payments from the state tax rebate program, cutting the state public advocate position and charging higher fees to seniors for prescription drugs.
At the same time, he is leaving a chunk of revenue on the table by refusing to consider reinstating the expired income tax surcharge on people making more than $400,000.
All of these decisions are ideological in nature, as is his decision to eliminate grants to support clinical family planning and related services and save $7.45 million, according to the Assembly Democrats. As part of the cuts, the state Department of Human Services has withdrawn an application to extend Medicaid coverage for family planning, which includes contraception; routine gynecological exams; blood pressure, anemia and diabetes screening; breast and cervical cancer screening and education; screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; HIV testing and counseling, pre-pregnancy counseling and education; pregnancy testing and confirmation and prenatal care.
Gov. Christie, as he made clear during his campaign, is a pro-life Republican who "believe(s) in the sanctity, dignity and inherent value of all human life" – which often means not just opposing abortion but nearly everything associated with family planning. The anti-abortion movement has a history of attacking women’s health programs, believing them to promote sex and lead to abortions.
Gov. Christie’s plan to cut family planning funding must be viewed through this lens.