NJ governor has message for women in other states who need an abortion
TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey will “fully protect” abortion rights of women, including those visiting from states where the procedure is banned, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling that overturns Roe v. Wade.
“Today the United States Supreme Court clarified in no uncertain terms that they do not value the women in our country or their ability to make their own decision about their bodies,” Murphy said at a Trenton news conference. “This decision while in no way surprising – it is, after all, what we were warned it would be – is still no less infuriating and disappointing.”
“Let there be no doubt: We will ensure that every woman in New Jersey has access to an abortion and to the full range of reproductive services they deserve as a matter of right,” he said.
Murphy said New Jersey has already written the right to obtain an abortion into state law but that lawmakers can “do more to fully secure reproductive rights and ensure access to reproductive health care without delay.”
A package of proposals the governor announced after a draft opinion of Friday’s court ruling leaked hasn’t made progress in the Legislature.
Murphy said without the January law he signed, the right to an abortion in New Jersey was built on case law that relied on Roe v. Wade. He said it would have been “litigated and evaporated.”
“Where we can, we will act to protect the rights and privacy of any woman who comes to New Jersey from states in which their rights are now eviscerated if not entirely erased,” Murphy said, who said the privacy protections should extend to a woman's health-care provider, Uber driver and others where applicable.
"Geographically, we are largely in a good neighborhood, so we may not be the first logical place that someone would go, just based on geography," he said. "Whether or not we promote it, quote-unquote, or not, I want to make it clear that every woman, anywhere, certainly first and foremost in New Jersey but anywhere in this country, that we will stand by you."
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Between laws that will now take effect and others expected to be approved, roughly half the states are expected to ban abortion. Thirteen take effect immediately, said U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
“Today's decision must also be the beginning of a new fight,” Booker said. “The lives of countless people are now endangered. It is now up to us to deliver on efforts to protect Americans' most basic and fundamental rights. And we will never give up until the cause of freedom is again won.”
U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Ewing, said “the decision is a grotesque affront” to the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness cited in the Declaration of Independence.
“A world without Roe is a world in which the fundamental right of a person to control their own body is no longer a guarantee,” Watson Coleman said. “It’s a world in which millions of Americans — especially people of color, the poor, and the working class — will be forced to carry pregnancies and give birth against their will.
“I’m a proud mother. In fact, becoming a mother was the best choice I ever made,” she said. “And that’s exactly what having a child should be — a choice. For many, it will no longer be a choice.”
U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-Dennis Township, said the Supreme Court upheld the nation's founding principles, free from political interference.
“The integrity of the Court and its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade must be respected, and we must come together to reject the latest attempts by those who disagree with today’s decision to abolish or pack the Supreme Court," Van Drew said.
"The Supreme Court made the right decision to return this issue to the states so they can create their own laws regarding abortion," he said. "Here in New Jersey, we must continue to speak out and fight against Gov. Murphy’s radical policies that call for taxpayer-funded partial-birth abortions."
State Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho, R-Sussex, said the ruling should prompt Statehouse lawmakers to change New Jersey's abortion laws.
“I believe in the sanctity of life. I also believe in medical science. Looking at the laws governing abortion in New Jersey, I believe we should follow the most up-to-date science when determining viability and legislate accordingly," Oroho said. "I call on my colleagues from both parties to begin a bipartisan discussion on reforming New Jersey’s laws.”