The state of New Jersey is making a statement for the recent restrictions other states have placed on abortion. The New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill that declares a woman’s fundamental “right” to have an abortion.
The bill passed is called the “Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act.” It recently passed in the New Jersey General Assembly by a vote of 46 to 22. And then it passed in the New Jersey Senate by a vote of 23 to 15. This legislation codifies “the constitutional right, which has been recognized by the New Jersey Supreme Court, to freedom of reproductive choice, including the right to access contraception, to terminate a pregnancy, and to carry a pregnancy to term.”
It also nullifies any law, rule regulation, ordinance, or order that could abridge the constitutional right to freedom regarding reproductive choice.
The New Jersey Democratic governor, Phil Murphy, said on Twitter, “A bill to codify a woman’s right to choose into state law and expand access to reproductive health care for all just passed both houses of the Legislature. I will sign this bill into law this week. With Roe v. Wade under attack, the need for this bill is more urgent than ever.”
This bill also gives the Department of Banking and Insurance in the state of New Jersey the option to study the need for regulations that would require health coverage plans to pay for abortions. Right now, the law provides exemptions for religious employers.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), along with other progressive institutions in New Jersey, praised the passage of this legislation. They immediately linked this effort to the prevention of “white supremacy.” The ACLU said that to protect the right to abortion and ensure equitable access for all people was moving beyond the status quo. They were guaranteeing that abortion would be affordable for all New Jerseyans no matter their insurance access, immigration status, or income level. The policy director for the ACLU of New Jersey, Sarah Fajardo, said that the state needed to address the systemic barriers that were rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia. Those barriers keep essential health care out of reach for many. She believes the right to an abortion remains something many in her state have trouble accessing.
The passage of this bill follows President Joe Biden’s challenge to codify Roe v. Wade, which is the 1973 Supreme Court ruling with ultimately protected abortion under the Constitution.
But it also follows a growing movement in America where Christians are standing up to defy Roe v. Wade in their effort to stop abortion.
Dennis Sarfate and Zach Lautenschläger, the leaders of Action for Life, recently explained in an interview that abortion is the murder of an image-bearer of God. These men lead the legislative arm of the Christian ministry End Abortion Now. They believe that government officials must act to ensure equal protection under the law for pre-born babies.
Sarfate said that life begins at conception. He is a former MLB pitcher. He describes a baby after conception that is a human being worthy of respect and worthy of protection. Sarfate notes that according to the Bible, God calls the death of a pre-born baby murder. He says that we don’t have the right to take the life of an innocent human being that God allowed it to be put inside of a woman.
Lautenschlager said that national organizations say they want to protect the right to life, but in reality, they are just sending a lobbyist to oppose legislation that is attempting to codify the reality that abortion is murder. He believes we need equal protection for pre-born babies and he also has declared that we should defy Roe v. Wade.