New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signs bill allowing abortion up to birth

New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy

UPDATE, 1/14/22: Just three days after the bill’s final passage, Governor Phil Murphy signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act into law. He tweeted on January 13, “Today, I signed historic legislation to protect reproductive freedom in New Jersey — codifying the right to choose into state law… we trust each individual person to make their reproductive choices for themselves.”

1/12/22: Legislators in New Jersey have passed a bill that will expand abortion in the state. On January 10, the last voting session in the term, members of both the Assembly and the Senate approved the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, and Governor Phil Murphy has indicated his intent to sign it into law. The bill guarantees “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.” It effectively codifies a right to abortion into state law should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

According to Newsweek, the bill also allows “qualified health care professionals” to commit abortions, solidifying new state regulations allowing non-physicians, like midwives and physician’s assistants, to commit abortions. Additionally, it leaves open the possibility that health insurance companies could be required to provide full coverage for abortions and birth control in the future.

READ: Planned Parenthood promotes disturbing late-term abortion bill in New Jersey

While the bill’s advocates claim that it simply protects abortion in the state, New Jersey Right to Life says it is a radical bill that could have dire consequences. “Contrary to its name, this Act is not a codification of abortion but a robust expansion of abortion. There are many unintended consequences with this bill and it is written so poorly that it is open to interpretation,” the group wrote on its website.

New Jersey Right to Life further added that one of the biggest concerns is that this bill allows abortions for any reason up to birth. “Because of the broad wording in this bill and the fact that there are no gestational limits anywhere in the bill, this new statute will allow abortions at any point in pregnancy, even if the baby is viable or full term,” the group continued. “This will apply to any individual who is present in the state, including non-residents, as well as those who are incarcerated and minor girls in custody or other government programs controlled by the state.”

The group also pointed out that the bill supersedes any other abortion legislation that will be passed in the state, and therefore “seeks 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.”

The bill next heads to the desk of Governor Phil Murphy, who has indicated that he will sign it, tweeting, “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.”

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