With the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Trump’s swift move to nominate Amy Coney Barrett as her replacement, reproductive rights are on the line, with many anti-abortion advocates hoping Roe v. Wade will soon be overturned. Last Friday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy unveiled the state’s Reproductive Freedom Act, which is “proactive legislation that will help protect and expand New Jerseyans’ ability to receive reproductive health care, such as birth control, and pregnancy-related care, including abortion”. The Act has three main points: all New Jerseyans have the right to choose and determine their own reproductive health decisions, financial barriers will not hinder or obstruct these decisions, and “medically-unnecessary restrictions” will be removed to enhance access to care.
Governor Murphy said, “As access to health care and the right to choose are under attack at the federal level, we will support, defend, and protect reproductive rights here in New Jersey,” and “the Reproductive Freedom Act will remove barriers to reproductive health, as well as expand access to contraception while reaffirming choice. Together, we stand unwavering in our commitment to work towards reproductive freedom for all New Jerseyans.” Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, VP of Public Affairs at the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey, echoed this sentiment, and said that the ultimate goal is to protect access to abortion for both New Jerseyans and people traveling from other states that may have more barriers to access.
In regard to the issue of Roe v. Wade being overturned, Gov. Murphy stated, “I hope to God that doesn’t happen, but we don’t want to take a chance that it could happen”. The Reproductive Freedom Act lessens that chance, and would “remove some restrictions on abortion that advocates say are medically unnecessary; require most private health insurers to cover abortion; and allow a wider range of health care providers, including physician assistants, certified midwives and other advanced-practice nurses, to administer abortions.” If this Act gets passed, New Jersey will join other states like Illinois and New York, who have passed state laws to protect abortion rights from Supreme Court precedent and changes.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 9/21/20, Feminist Newswire 9/28/20, New Jersey State Website 10/2/20, NPR 10/2/20, The Hill 10/2/20