Catholic bishops condemn New Jersey’s ‘inhuman’ abortion law


New Jersey Catholic Bishops condemned the passage of a bill that effectively codifies a right to abortion in state law should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. According to the bill’s text, it will guarantee “the fundamental right of reproductive autonomy, which includes the right to contraception, the right to terminate a pregnancy, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term.” Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill into law on January 13, just three days after its final passage.

While the legislation’s advocates claim it merely protects abortion in the state, as Live Action News reported, the bill could have dire consequences. In addition to opening the door to health insurance companies potentially being forced to provide full coverage for abortions and birth control, the bill cements allowing non-physicians to commit abortions

The bill’s broad wording also could allow for abortions at any point in pregnancy, even if the baby is viable. And as New Jersey Right to Life noted, the bill supersedes other state-level abortion legislation, which was likely done to “prevent the passage of any new pro-life laws like parental notification, bans on late-term abortion, and even those upheld as constitutionally valid by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

In a tweet, Governor Phil Murphy lauded the signing of the bill, calling it “historic legislation to protect reproductive freedom… codifying the right to choose into state law….”

In a joint statement the New Jersey bishops criticized the bill, saying it “forthrightly extinguishes the human and moral identity of the unborn child.” 

“We have failed as a society when a response to any pregnancy is fear rather than joy,” the seven New Jersey prelates said. “Sadly, too often this fear is born out of the mother’s uncertainty that she will not be able to provide for herself and her child the resources necessary to live a flourishing life.”

“We must do better,” the statement continued. “Therefore, we urge all Catholics and people of good will to actively participate in breaking down the economic, employment, social, racial, and emotional barriers that lead mothers into thinking abortion is a better option than life.”

The prelates said that the reason New Jersey lawmakers who voted for the bill “rushed through this Act in the waning moments of their terms” was because they “did not want citizens to understand fully its inhuman and lethal consequences.”

They also emphasized the many resources the Catholic Church provides for pregnant women and their families, equipping them with support to help them feel confident about choosing life. 

“The Catholic Church is committed to broadening and increasing awareness about the abundant resources and programs we offer that include life-affirming health and prenatal care, emotional support, assistance in bearing and raising her child, and basic needs such as housing, food, and clothing to pregnant mothers seeking or considering alternatives to abortion,” they said.

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