HEALTH

Women’s Healthcare Under Attack, Says Weinberg

State Sen. Loretta Weinberg says she believes women’s healthcare is under attack, citing money stripped from the state budget and the recent discussions about Planned Parenthood and birth control.

“This is an issue I thought I had fought for in another era of my life and was finished fighting for,” Weinberg said. “That’s obviously not true anymore.”

She sat down with NJToday Managing Editor Mike Schneider to discuss women’s healthcare, which she says has been undermined nationally. In New Jersey, she said Gov. Chris Christie removed $7.5 million from the state budget for women’s health and then vetoed a measure that was passed to restore that funding.

Nationally, Planned Parenthood has always been a somewhat controversial organization, most recently with the Susan G. Komen Foundation revoking funding and then restoring it after backlash. Weinberg says Planned Parenthood provides much more than abortions to women, including mammograms and cervical cancer screenings. She added that poor women without insurance often utilize the services because they have nowhere else to go.

Weinberg says she believes some in the country are trying to limit women’s rights when it comes to their healthcare. “There is this mindset that has taken place in the Republican party from the ultra right wing and one of the places that they seem to be aiming is at women,” she said. “They want to take away women’s reproductive rights, take away a woman’s right to choose. This has moved even further than abortion. They’re now talking about birth control.”

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Weinberg sees a discrepancy between women’s and men’s health, saying that mandatory waiting periods exist for certain procedures women may undergo but there is no similar initiative for men who opt to have a vasectomy. “It’s as if they have no confidence in women’s abilities to make decisions,” she said.

According to Weinberg, Republicans aren’t willing to stand up for women’s health rights, even those who believe the rights should be preserved.

“I don’t have a problem with the people who have a deep-seeded philosophical belief and have been consistent in their votes,” Weinberg said. “But I do have a problem with the people who I know don’t believe this and are capitulating with whatever the governor perceived to be necessary for whatever his national political aspirations were when we have this fight over women’s health.”

Related: Weinberg Confident That Marriage Equality Bill Will Pass