TRENTON — With the Supreme Court seemingly poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, if a draft advisory that leaked last week proves indicative, Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced legislation to make abortions free and more accessible in New Jersey.
Among the changes Murphy is seeking are full insurance coverage for abortions, with no cost sharing, and a “reproductive health access fund” that would cover costs for uninsured and underprivileged women. services, training grants for providers, and funding for protective security measures.
“A person’s ability to access abortion care should not depend on how much money they earn. If we want to guarantee the right to abortion, we must guarantee access to abortion,” Murphy said.
Murphy was joined at a press conference in his office by Monica Feller Attius of Millburn, who described her decision to have an abortion 22 years ago, following two previous pregnancies which ended in problems medical – including one where she ended up in a coma with a 25% chance of surviving.
“No one should ever have to consider not having an abortion because of the cost,” said Feller Attius, who said his procedure was covered by insurance.
Although a law signed into law four months ago, New Jersey has already codified abortion rights in New Jersey in anticipation that the Supreme Court could strike down abortion rights nationwide. But 18 Assembly Democrats joined Murphy in announcing their intention to go further.
“By taking this much-needed next step, we will truly give all women in New Jersey the right and power to make the most personal and important decisions without government interference or financial considerations,” said Congresswoman Mila. Jasey, D-Essex.
The two main leaders of the Legislative Assembly – Senate Speaker Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-Middlesex – were not present and issued a joint statement in which they said they “fundamentally support a woman’s right to choose,” the January law pointed out, and did not commit to enacting the new proposal.
“Turning back time is not New Jersey’s way and by codifying 50 years of legal precedent into state law, we have ensured that a woman’s health care decisions can and will remain hers,” they said. they stated. “Together, we maintain our decisive action, agreeing that (former President Donald) Trump’s appointees to the court are radically undemocratic, and we will continue to work to protect access and ensure that no woman is denied access. his right to choose.”
Murphy said he spoke with Scutari and Coughlin about the plan on Tuesday.
Republican legislative leaders called the proposal outside the mainstream and reckless because it would codify that advanced practice nurses, midwives and physician assistants can perform abortions.
“Governor. Murphy’s sweeping proposal calls for unlimited free abortions through birth, and he wants struggling New Jersey families to pay for abortions for everyone through even higher taxes and health bonuses high,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho, R-Sussex.
“First, allowing abortions until birth is an odious position to take. Now Murphy is hastily pushing legislation that was rejected by members of his own party last year because it was too extreme,” said Assembly Minority Leader John DiMaio, R-Warren. “And he wants the taxpayers to foot the bill for this very law. it will have no impact on New Jersey Murphy fights the windmills.
State lawmakers removed abortion insurance coverage from the January law that codified abortion rights in New Jersey, instead ordering the state Department of Insurance to study the matter and submit a report.
That study is now underway – but would be moot under the new proposal, Murphy said, adding that faster action is needed because of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion.
“I personally would never have predicted the scope of the project that was leaked,” Murphy said. “My fears were significant. They have been exceeded.
The bill would prohibit public entities from cooperating with interstate investigations into the provision or receipt of reproductive health care. It would also establish a means for a New Jersey person who is successfully sued in another state for their involvement in an abortion to sue to recover damages resulting from that initial lawsuit.
“We will not cooperate with any out-of-state investigation of healthcare providers seeking to punish anyone – patient, provider, counselor, friend, Uber driver, etc.,” Murphy said.
“While other states promote vigilance against women, we as a state can serve as a beacon to protect women’s rights as they are curtailed in other jurisdictions,” the member said. Assembly Raj Mukherji, D-Hudson.
Murphy said he hopes the proposal makes New Jersey’s position clear within the state and brings hope to advocates working across the country to protect reproductive rights.
“And hopefully that brings relief to anyone in another state who needs to come to New Jersey for needed and safe health care,” Murphy said.
Asked about the possibility of New Jersey taxpayer dollars being used to pay women living in other states to come here for an abortion, Murphy said, “Women are welcome in New Jersey — period. And if that’s what it’s about, that’s what it’s about.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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