All 28 Democratic women in the New Jersey Legislature today slammed Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli’s for promising to remove funding cuts to women’s health and family planning services if he defeats Gov. Phil Murphy in the general election.
The move sends a strong signal that Murphy will make Ciattarelli’s plan to defund women’s health care in issue in his re-election campaign.
The legislators likened Ciattarelli’s pledge to former Gov. Chris Christie’s refusal to fund women’s health services, describing them as “harsh, draconian cuts that left thousands of women without access to the basic health services they rightly deserve.”
Speaking at the Atlantic County Republican convention this weekend, Ciattarelli told delegates that “in Phil Murphy’s world, we shut down businesses, (in his) world we abort pregnancies after (month) 7, 8, and 9. His progressive ideology is not right for New Jersey.”
“Year-after-year, this was the playbook of Governor Christie and his enablers,” the women legislators said. “This dark chapter ended when Governor Murphy took office in January 2018 with a renewed focus on putting women’s health care before partisan politics.”
Murphy and the legislature restored Planned Parenthood funding access to reproductive care was expanded in early 2018.
In an appearance on the New Jersey Globe Power Hour in January, Ciattarelli said he didn’t “believe tax dollars should be used for abortions or for agencies that necessarily advocate for abortions.”
“If that’s the case, we should be funding non-profits that help women with unnecessary pregnancies. Let’s be fair about the funding,” Ciattarelli said. “I’ve never advocated for tax dollars to be used to fund abortions or organizations that advocate for abortions.”
The Ciattarelli campaign pushed back on the statement, saying that “the true measure of Phil Murphy’s phony concern for the well-being of New Jersey women is demonstrated by his willingness to cover up physical abuse, sexual assault and misogynistic harassment of women on his campaign, in his administration, and at Edna Mahan prison.”
“Jack Ciattarelli strongly supports funding for women’s healthcare,” said Stami Williams, Ciattarelli’s communications director. “He also challenges all 28 Democratic legislators who put their name to this attack to write a letter to their constituents explaining why they support taxpayer money being used to fund late term abortions and to make those letters public.”
The legislators – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, State Sens. Dawn Addiego, Nilsa Cruz-Perez, Sandra Cunningham, Nia Gill, Linda Greenstein, Nellie Pou, Theresa Ruiz, and Shirley Turner, and Assemblywomen Linda Carter, Annette Chaparro, Joann Downey, Mila Jasey, Angelica Jimenez, Pamela Lampitt, Yvonne Lopez, Angela McKnight, Gabriela Mosquera, Carol Murphy, Eliana Pintor Marin, Annette Quijano, Verlina Reynold-Jackson, Shanique Speight, Shavonda Sumter, Lisa Swain, Britnee Timberlake, Cleopatra Tucker and Valerie Vainieri Huttle – said they were “now again hearing the same anti-women rhetoric echoed from a Republican gubernatorial hopeful who stood in lockstep with Governor Christie in opposition to funding women’s health care as a matter of politics, not smart policy.”
“Our goal remains to ensure that politics never again interferes with a woman’s access to vital health services,” the legislators said in a statement on Monday. “We know that investing in women’s health care and family planning leads to healthier women and healthier families.”
This story was updated at 10:44 AM with comment from the Ciattarelli campaign.