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The New Jersey legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill asserting a fundamental “right” to abortion.
The “Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act” — passed in the New Jersey General Assembly by a vote of 46 to 22, and in the New Jersey Senate by a vote of 23 to 15 — 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 therefore nullifies “any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, or order that has the effect of abridging the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice.”
“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,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D-NJ) said on Twitter. “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.”
The legislation also gives the state’s Department of Banking and Insurance the option to study the need for regulations requiring health coverage plans to pay for abortions. The law, however, provides exemptions for religious employers.
Progressive institutions — including New Jersey’s branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — lauded the passage of the bill, linking its passage to the prevention of “white supremacy.”
“To meaningfully protect the right to abortion and ensure equitable access, we must go beyond the status quo and guarantee that abortion is affordable for all New Jerseyans, regardless of insurance access, immigration status, or income,” said ACLU-NJ policy director Sarah Fajardo. “Without addressing the systemic barriers rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia that keep essential health care out of reach for so many, the right to an abortion remains one that many New Jerseyans struggle to access.”
The passage of the bill appears to follow President Joe Biden’s call to codify Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court ruling which claimed that abortion is protected under the Constitution — as law. However, the bill also occurs amid a growing movement of Christians willing to defy Roe v. Wade and abolish abortion.
In a recent interview with The Daily Wire, Dennis Sarfate and Zach Lautenschlager — who lead Action for Life, the legislative arm of the Christian ministry End Abortion Now — explained that abortion is the murder of an image-bearer of God, meaning that government officials must ensure equal protection under the law for preborn babies.
“Life starts at conception — that is a baby,” Sarfate, a former MLB pitcher, explained. “That is a human being worthy of respect and worthy of protection. God even calls it murder. We don’t have the authority to take life … You’re killing an innocent human being that deserves life, that God is allowing to be put into a woman.”
“National organizations claim to protect the right to life … when in reality, they send lobbyists to oppose very clear pieces of legislation which acknowledge and codify that, number one, abortion is murder; number two, we need equal protection; and number three, if necessary, we will defy Roe,” Lautenschlager, who was instrumental in the nationwide passage of constitutional carry laws, added. “That is abolition — and that is what we are pursuing.”