Denver Newsroom, Oct 2, 2020 / 05:26 pm (CNA).- As change on the US Supreme Court puts the future of legal abortion in doubt, some political leaders in New Jersey are seeking to strengthen and expand legal abortion through proposed state legislation.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and other state officials on Friday announced legislation that would make pro-abortion rights mandates part of state law, but the move drew criticism from pro-life leaders.
“Although the proposed legislation is meant to appease the abortion industry and Gov. Murphy’s pro-abortion supporters to shore up his base for re-election, we know that this kind of extreme measure is not supported by the majority of people in our state or in our nation,” Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, told CNA Oct. 2.
President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to replace the strongly pro-abortion rights Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in September.
“For the first time in decades, it seems possible that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade,” Murphy said Oct. 2, PIX 11 News reports.
The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade mandated legal abortion nationwide.
Murphy has backed a bill, the Reproductive Freedom Act, that would guarantee a right to abortion under state law and require most private insurers to cover abortion and birth control with no out-of-pocket expenses. It would remove some restrictions that pro-abortion rights advocates say are medically unnecessary, while allowing physician assistants, certified midwives, and other nurses to administer legal abortions.
“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,” Murphy said. “The Reproductive Freedom Act will remove barriers to reproductive health, as well as expand access to contraception while reaffirming choice.”
Murphy said similar laws have made abortion a right under state law in California, Delaware, New York, Oregon, and Washington.
State Sen. Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle will introduce the legislation into the legislature, PIX 11 News reports.
Sheila Reynertson of New Jersey Policy Perspective portrayed the bill as an anti-poverty measure.
“When someone is denied abortion care because they can’t cover the cost, research shows they are more likely to remain in poverty for years,” she said.
For Tasy, however, abortion advocates are operating out of a mistaken mindset.
“They’re touting this as if it is health care,” she said. “Abortion is not health care. It is an act of violence that harms countless women and brutally and painfully takes the lives of so many innocent children,” she said. “This is clearly being done to appease a minority of extreme abortion supporters and the abortion industry.”
In September the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners proposed allowing physician assistants, midwives, and nurses to perform abortions.
Tasy said the board also voted to permit abortions to be performed in an office setting even if the woman is beyond 14 weeks into pregnancy.
“They’re already taking steps in law to make abortion less safe for women,” Tasy said. “We know that abortion is not a safe procedure. It puts a woman’s life in danger.
When New York passed similar legislation, it drew strong opposition from the Catholic Church and other pro-life leaders.