The “Extreme Team” favors criminalizing abortions, even in cases of rape and incest
(Trenton) – When the “Extreme Team” of Texas Governor Rick Perry and New Jersey Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan hit Atlantic County tomorrow to talk about why insurance companies should again be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing medical conditions, they’ll probably neglect to mention their shared extreme positions on women’s reproductive rights. Both Lonegan and Perry would ban abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, and have sought to deny women access to vital health services.
Governor Rick Perry of Texas -- who represents the tea party wing of his party and is arguably one of the most extreme governors in the country – recently signed a package of abortion restrictions into law that is expected to drastically reduce access to reproductive healthcare services across his state, creating burdensome restrictions that may lead to the closure of all but five of the 42 clinics in Texas. [Huffington Post, 07/18/13; USA Today, 12/27/11]
While Rick Perry’s radical conservatism is completely out of step with mainstream New Jerseyans, Steve Lonegan is even more extreme. Perry opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest, but would allow it if the mother’s life is endangered, while Lonegan thinks abortion should be criminalized and would ban all abortions without making exceptions.
“I don’t have an exception,” Lonegan told the Star-Ledger in 2005. Not surprisingly, Lonegan pledged that, if elected, he would work to defund Planned Parenthood. [Associated Press, 5/24/09; Washington Post, 5/17/09; Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/25/09; Herald News (Passaic County, NJ), 8/6/13]
“The policies of Rick Perry and Steve Lonegan are beyond disconcerting; they pose a real threat to the right of women to make their own healthcare decisions,” said New Jersey Democratic State Committee Vice-Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco. “They represent the extreme views of their party, and New Jersey voters who care about women’s healthcare should reject Perry and Lonegan and their dangerous agenda.”
Lonegan also wants to overturn the celebrated federal family leave law that allows new mothers to spend time with their newborns, during a critical stage of child development, without losing their jobs, benefits, and income. During his failed gubernatorial candidacy in 2009, Lonegan said, “New Jersey should repeal paid family leave,” callously adding, “It’s about giving a whole lot of people carte blanche to take off six weeks a year.” [Herald News (Passaic County, NJ), 3/20/09]
Governor Chris Christie’s policies are also having an extremely negative impact on women’s health care services. As the Star-Ledger and Politifact reported, Christie eliminated nearly $7.5 million for family planning services in his first budget for fiscal year 2011, and has thrice rejected efforts by the Democrat-led legislature to restore that funding. Consequently, at least six family planning clinics were forced to close, denying thousands of women access to healthcare for things like mammograms and other basic services. Christie’s healthcare plan would have eliminated the requirement that insurance cover mammograms.