New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Vows to Sign Bill Expanding Right to Abortion Until Moment of Birth

ASBURY PARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 02: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks during an election night event at Grand Arcade at the Pavilion on November 2, 2021 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. New Jersey residents went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race where Murphy faced off …
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has vowed to sign a bill passed by the state legislature that will expand a right to abortion at any time during pregnancy, even until the moment of birth.

“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,” Murphy tweeted Monday. “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.”

“It was a surprising flexing of liberal muscle at a time when Garden State Democrats seemed to be beating a retreat back to the safe middle following November’s scare at the polls,” wrote Charles Stile at NorthJersey.com about the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act.

“But the final result wasn’t fueled by ideology — but by fear of a national embarrassment,” he added. “If blue, historically pro-choice New Jersey couldn’t mobilize behind abortion rights, then who would?”

Stile observed as well the vote revealed a Republican caucus “that has swung firmly to the right on the issue” of abortion:

Most Republicans either voted against the measure or abstained, with some citing some of the other expansive provisions. But in the end, they voted against an overall stronger degree of support for a woman’s right to choose, moving the GOP further away from its moderate, pro-choice heritage and the likes of former governors Thomas H. Kean and Christine Todd Whitman. Kean’s son, Thomas H. Kean Jr., who is running for Congress this year, voted against the measure.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 46-22 in the General Assembly following passage in the state Senate by a vote of 23-15, reads:

The New Jersey Constitution recognizes the fundamental nature of the right to reproductive choice, including the right to access contraception, to terminate a pregnancy, and to carry a pregnancy to term, shall not be abridged by any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, or order issued by any State, county, or local governmental authority. Any law, rule, regulation, ordinance, or order, in effect on or adopted after the effective date of this act, that is determined to have the effect of limiting the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice and that does not conform with the provisions and the express or implied purposes of this act, shall be deemed invalid and shall have no force or effect.

According to an analysis of the bill by New Jersey Right to Life (NJRTL), the legislation does not actually “codify” a right to abortion into state law, but allows “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 pro-life organization said, adding:

Language in the bill says, “The Legislature is committed to ensuring that no barriers to reproductive freedom exist in the State.”

The bill … seeks to add a new statute under Title 10:7-1 et seq. under the Civil Rights Statute and allows a Civil Rights Lawsuit to be filed if any of the provisions of the law are impeded or interfered with. It should be noted that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution or State Constitution does this so-called right exist. These were interpretations made by our activist Supreme Court.

NJRTL noted the measure “takes a very narrow, negative ideological view of pregnancy and motherhood that implies that women need abortion in order to be successful,” the socioeconomic narrative the abortion industry has been using to justify itself since the U.S. Supreme Court invented a right to abortion in 1973.

The group continued how the measure will legalize abortion at any time during pregnancy, even at the moment of 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. 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 pro-life organization observed the bill’s language also “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.”

Stile also noted the bill’s language “is significant.”

“It does not set any time restrictions on when an abortion can be performed, exceeding the constitutional protections provided by the Roe ruling,” he observed.

Additionally, NJRTL emphasized “the Act leaves the door open for a future bill to allow abortion coverage to be mandated in all health insurance plans by authorizing a study by the Dept of Banking and Insurance to adopt through regulation policies to provide such coverage.”

“It includes an exclusion for a religious employer as long as they provide notice to covered persons and prospective covered persons and seek permission from the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance,” the group observed.

Ironically, the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) called the legislation only “a great first step.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy gestures to supporters as he arrives to give a victory speech at Grand Arcade at the Pavilion on November 3, 2021 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)

“This is a great first step and we should celebrate the passage of this legislation,” NOW-NJ President Anjali Mehrotra said, according to Newsweek.

“But New Jersey can and must do more to improve access to reproductive health care and remove stigma.”

The New Jersey measure passed as a desperate abortion industry finished out 2021 with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling the Texas Heartbeat Act may remain in effect while challenges against it continue, and agreeing to decide if state laws banning most abortions are unconstitutional, via a challenge to a Mississippi statute restricting abortions.

 

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