By Grace Gottschling
Student Government passed a resolution in support of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s signed legislation in support of family planning and voted to approve the Love Your Melon club during the SG general body meeting on, April 4.
Love Your Melon, an on-campus chapter of a national charity organization, was officially recognized as a club. This victory came after Love Your Melon was denied recognition last November when SG recommended that the organization rethink its structure and goals in order to be considered for approval.
Love Your Melon donates 50 percent of its profits to benefit children with pediatric cancer. The organization’s chapter at the College has been active since September of 2015.
In its proposal, Love Your Melon stated its goals to host events to recognize and raise money to fight pediatric cancer, write cards and letters to children in local hospitals and visit children who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The club allows for up to 30 active members at a time, but encourages social members as well, as there are no limits on the number of social members. Social members must maintain a specific number of points to be considered for an official membership. All members receive points for participating in club events and for volunteering.
SG proposed a resolution, R-S2018-03, of support regarding Gov. Phil Murphy’s signing of two pieces of legislation on February 21, 2018, which will provide more allowances and accessibility to family planning services using government funds.
The first bill Gov. Murphy signed was NJ A2134, which adjusts the fiscal 2018 New Jersey state budget to allocate over $7 million in funding from the state’s General Fund to the Department of Health for family planning services.
The signing of NJ A2134 breaks a long standing effort of former Gov. Chris Christie, who had suspended state funding for family planning services out of the General Fund since 2011 on the grounds that taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund contraceptives or other forms of birth control, including abortion.
While NJ A2134 does specify that of the funds “appropriated for family planning services, no monies shall be expended on abortion procedures,” it is still a large point of contention among conservatives and those who have a moral issue with abortion procedures.
Many argue that by allocating government funds to clinics that provide abortions, the taxpayer is inadvertently supporting all services the clinic provides. In turn, the government money allows clinics more financial freedom to allocate non-government funds to provide abortion services.
The second bill, NJ A1656, extends the eligibility of family planning services for Medicaid recipients whose income is up to 200 percent above the federal poverty line (compared to 100 percent above the poverty line, which was allocated in previous years). The bill states that qualifying recipients would only be responsible for paying 10 percent of the cost for services covered in the legislation.
SG’s resolution of support was met with contention, and members voted to enter into debate. During the debate, several SG members brought up concerns including the allocation of funds to clinics who offer abortion services, the wording of the resolution and the benefit of a resolution on legislation that has already been passed into law.
Ultimately, with a few “nays” and abstentions, the resolution passed.