As your Democratic candidate for State Assembly I wanted to call your attention to my opponent Republican incumbent Nancy Munoz’s change of heart regarding annual Planned Parenthood funding. Last week Munoz announced that she plans to vote “Yes” on S3302, a long-overdue measure to restore Planned Parenthood funding which was removed from the budget by Governor Christie in 2010 and never restored.
Munoz’s sudden political shift occurs days after her June 27th NO vote on Bill A3492, an identical funding initiative. Since 2009, Munoz, a member of the Women and Children Committee of the NJ State Assembly, has repeatedly and consistently voted against providing needed healthcare for New Jersey women and their families. Her solid record of voting to block critical funding for women’s healthcare clinics like Planned Parenthood has resulted in a 100% approval rating by New Jersey Right to Life.
The shift also occurs directly after public records show that my campaign surpassed Munoz’s fundraising results in the most recent cycle by more than four to one.
I believe that women’s health care should be decided by a woman and her doctor, not a far-right political agenda. Assemblywoman Munoz’s record is shameful and dangerous for New Jersey women and their families. The critical services that organizations like Planned Parenthood offer, from birth control, to preventive care and cancer screenings, and prenatal care, should never be threatened by a party line vote.
I have have been a consistent champion of women’s rights and I've made restoring the funding for Planned Parenthood that was slashed under Governor Christie a priority in my legislative agenda.
According to the NJ Department of Health, there have been real-world consequences for New Jersey residents as a result of the 2010 defunding. The number of cases of bacterial sexually transmitted infections (chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis), for example, has increased 35 percent. Half of New Jersey counties have experienced an increase in STDs of nearly 50 percent or more. If left untreated, these infections can lead to serious health issues such as infertility and certain types of cancer, further stressing our over-burdened health care system.
Funding of these clinics is more than just a woman’s issue, it is an economic issue, a health issue, and something that has impact across the state. I am hopeful that the funding for Planned Parenthood will be restored, but this fight does not end with just one vote. Women of New Jersey deserve representatives who will fight for them every day and with every vote, and not play chess with their reproductive health to just win political favor in a tough year.
Change starts here.
Lacey Rzeszowski is the Democratic Candidate for State Assembly in the New Jersey's 21st Legislative District.