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Middlesex County Coalition of Legislators, Freeholders And Community Leaders Announce Support For Women’s Health Care Public Question

(L to R ) - Dr. Brad Cohen, Dr. Penelope Cohen, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Senator Linda Greenstein, Freeholder Carol Barrett, Metuchen Councilwoman Dorothy Rasmussen, Edward Janzekovich, Donna McEvoy, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Freeholder Charles Tomaro, Freeholder Director Ronald Rios, Senator Joseph Vitale. * Photo submitted.

(L to R ) – Dr. Brad Cohen, Dr. Penelope Cohen, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Senator Linda Greenstein, Freeholder Carol Barrett, Metuchen Councilwoman Dorothy Rasmussen, Edward Janzekovich, Donna McEvoy, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Freeholder Charles Tomaro, Freeholder Director Ronald Rios, Senator Joseph Vitale. * Photo submitted.

Legislators Encourage the Public to Vote Yes on Middlesex County Public Question #2

News Release 10/21/14

EAST BRUNSWICK – Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Chairman Joseph F. Vitale, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios and Freeholders Carol Barrett and Charles Tomaro along with female elected officials and candidates from throughout Middlesex County formed a coalition today to encourage support of Public Question #2 of the Middlesex County Election ballot.

The public question would encourage the Freeholder Board to increase funding for use of early detection and screening for diseases uniquely affecting women including mammograms, cancer screenings and cervical exams.

“Cuts on a state level have left many women throughout New Jersey vulnerable and without access to important preventive care such as annual gynecological exams that are imperative to early detection of cancers and illness,” said Senator Vitale, D-Woodbridge. “Due to a lack of funding, six women’s clinics have had to close their doors and countless others have had to cut back hours, reducing access to critical women’s health care services, including mammograms and cancer screenings. With this ballot question, the people of Middlesex County have the opportunity to have their priorities heard: that they want to increase access to the tests and treatments that save women’s lives.”

The ballot question is in response to recent cuts on a state level that have left women’s health care centers unable to meet the needs of their communities. From 2009 – when $7.4 million was cut from the state’s budget for women’s health care services – to 2012, there was a 24 percent drop off of individuals using women health care clinics, due to the closing of facilities and increased wait times for appointments.

“Many of us have worked tirelessly to try and restore the critical health care funding repeatedly removed from the budget, because each day that funding is not available is another day where all women are not getting the care they need,” said Assemblywoman Watson Coleman, D-Ewing, who is running for Congress in New Jersey 12th District, which includes parts of Middlesex County. “In fact, I feel strongly that we need to increase funding and do whatever it takes to ensure that everyone has not only the right, but also the access, to affordable comprehensive health care coverage. I look forward to the day when all women will be afforded the opportunity to attain affordable comprehensive health care coverage and achieve pay equity, but I know that day will not come without exceptional effort and determination put forward by people like the groups here today. I look forward to standing with them in those efforts and I commend Middlesex County for this proactive initiative to better our women, our families, and our state.

Middlesex County provides health care screenings through clinic days throughout the county. Through this public question, the Freeholder Board would be encouraged to increase funding and therefore access to these clinic days.

“Our mothers, daughters, sisters’ lives are much too important to cast aside due to lack of insurance,” said Freeholder Director Rios, D-Carteret. “No woman in the County of Middlesex should be unable to get basic preventive care because of their financial situation. Members of the Freeholder Board will continue to support funding opportunities that provide more women with access to this critical care.”

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2014 more than 200,000 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 40,000 women will succumb to the disease nationwide. More than 12 thousand women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and roughly 4,000 women will die from the disease.

“Early detection of breast and cervical cancer saves thousands of lives per year,” said Freeholder Barrett, D-South Brunswick. “But women simply do not have the resources to receive preventive care for these issues. Through this ballot question, we can expand access for women throughout Middlesex County to detect cancer early, greatly reducing their ability to survive these horrible diseases.”

“Throughout my career, I have fought to better the lives of Middlesex County residents,” said Freeholder Tomaro, D-Edison. “By increasing these funds, we can provide more women’s health care clinics, to more residents more frequently and can save lives in the process.”

Also in attendance at the event were:

• Senator Linda R. Greenstein, D-Plainsboro

•Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, D-East Brunswick

•Councilwoman Dorothy Rasmussen, D-Metuchen

• Donna McEvoy, Candidate for East Brunswick Council

• Edward Janzekovich, Candidate for East Brunswick Council

• Beatrice Moskowitz, Vice Chairwoman of the Middlesex County Democratic Organization

The language of the Ballot Question is below:

Middlesex County Ballot Question #2 Language: In view of the recent cuts in funding by the State of New Jersey, shall the governing body of the County of Middlesex increase funding to support current women’s health care programs in order to increase access for County residents to mammograms, cancer screenings and similar services specifically designed for women’s health support and disease prevention.

Interpretive Statement: Approval of this proposition would authorize, but not bind, the governing body of the County of Middlesex to increase funding to be used exclusively for women’s health programs for County residents designed specifically to enhance the early detection and screening for diseases uniquely affecting women. Such programs include mammograms, cancer screening, PAP Tests, cervical exams and similar disease screening and detection programs.

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