At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Thursday during an interview with talk radio host Laura Ingraham, Chris Christie tried his best to woo a somewhat tepid crowd of conservative voters who are never, ever, not in a thousand years going to nominate him for president. So Christie rolled out the big guns: his "passionate" and "unabashed" stance against abortion and his yearly cuts to reproductive health funding.
Christie's been pro-life since around 1995, as he often tells audiences, since he heard his unborn daughter's heartbeat. (Although, as The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi has pointed out, that story is sort of odd, since Christie also has an older son whose in utero heartbeat apparently didn't sway him much. Also, he's quoted as describing himself as pro-choice in 1996, a year after he supposedly changed his mind.)
At CPAC today, he reiterated that he's extremely anti-abortion: "I just stand on my record," he told Ingraham. "I'm pro-life. I ran on a pro-life platform in 2009. I vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget." That line won applause and a loud "Hoorah!" from a man just behind me in the audience. In 2013, Christie added, "I got re-elected as a straight-out, unabashed pro-life candidate."
What Christie has actually cut five times is family planning funding—$7.5 million of it, which he crosses out of the state budget each and every year. Family planning funding mostly goes to Planned Parenthood, and it pays for cancer screenings, birth control, STIs treatment, and Pap smears. It doesn't pay for abortions. Planned Parenthood says their New Jersey clinics saw 33,000 fewer patients in 2010 versus 2009. They say they've also seen a sharp drop in the number of STI tests: "From 2009-2012, the number of gonorrhea tests declined by 24%, chlamydia by 28%, syphilis by 29%, and HIV by 18%."
Christie's usual rationale for cutting family planning funding is that the state can't afford the $7.5 million. The attorneys he's hired to defend himself against allegations of corruption in Bridgegate have cost the state more than $6.52 million.
Photo via AP