Gov. Murphy’s abortion bill is dead on arrival in NJ Legislature
With a final decision on abortion rights likely coming from the U.S. Supreme Court before the end of June, Gov. Phil Murphy is pushing the Legislature to further expand abortion access in New Jersey.
However, it is unlikely state lawmakers will take up his suggestions.
When a draft opinion was leaked indicating the Supreme Court was on the verge of overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, Murphy announced legislation seeking to make abortions free and more accessible in New Jersey.
Among the changes Murphy seeks are full insurance coverage for abortions, without any cost-sharing, and a “reproductive health access fund” that would cover costs for uninsured and underinsured women, training grants for providers and funding for protective security measures.
NJ.com is quoting legislative sources as saying the Murphy bill does not have nearly enough votes and is "unlikely to pass."
One legislative source tells New Jersey 101.5 there have been talks among the Democratic leadership of possibly breaking apart Murphy's proposal to remove some of the more controversial items, but no decision has been made.
There has been talk among the Democratic caucus of increasing funding for abortion in the new budget to be adopted by the end of the month, but the most likely course of action is no action at all.
New Jersey has already taken steps to guarantee access to abortions in the event the Supreme Court strikes down Roe, but Murphy wanted to enhance existing laws to force insurance companies to cover the costs of terminating a pregnancy with no co-pay and provide millions in funding for abortion clinics to hire security.
The next few weeks will be a tense time at the Supreme Court, where justices are racing to put the final touches on the most controversial cases.
But this year, the tension seems to be even greater, with a potentially historic abortion ruling and in the aftermath of a leaked draft opinion that seems to have led to discord inside the court and heightened security concerns.
Curbing abortion rights and expanding the right to be armed in public are long-sought goals of the conservative legal movement that the Supreme Court seems poised to deliver by the end of the month.
The justices also could ease the use of public funds for religious schooling and constrain Biden administration efforts to fight climate change.
These disputes are among 30 cases the court still has to resolve before it takes an extended summer break, typically around the end of June. That's a large, though not unprecedented, haul for the court at this point in its term.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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