New Jersey's new Democratic governor signed a bill Wednesday that restores $7.5 million in family planning funds to Planned Parenthood and other medical facilities, reversing a longstanding veto of his predecessor, Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards stood next to Gov. Phil Murphy as he signed the bill and thanked him for passing it in "lightning speed." The bill was the first for Murphy since taking office Jan. 16.
He then signed another bill into law that would allow Medicaid funds to go to Planned Parenthood to help pay for contraception, cancer screenings, and testing of sexually transmitted diseases.
"I don't have to tell you all that today has certainly been a long time coming," Murphy said at the bill's signing. "New Jersey will once again stand strong for Planned Parenthood and reproductive rights."
During his two terms, Christie vetoed bills from the Democratic-controlled legislature that would have provided funding to Planned Parenthood, cutting off funds shortly after taking office in 2010. An estimated $60 million in funding was cut off during that time, during which six clinics in the state closed and 14 other facilities reduced hours, according to local news organization NJ.com.
Planned Parenthood is launching efforts in states across the country to urge lawmakers to pass laws that would expand access to abortion and other reproductive services.