TRENTON, N.J. — Following last night’s vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, public health advocates warn that protecting access to reproductive health care for all New Jerseyans is more essential and urgently needed than ever.
“With Barrett on the U.S. Supreme Court, reproductive health and rights are under imminent threat,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “Our state legislators must act now to protect the reproductive health and rights of New Jerseyans by passing the Reproductive Freedom Act.”
Amy Coney Barrett’s judicial record, writings, and views are clear. She is an active and vocal threat to reproductive health and rights, including birth control, and has suggested that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. Yet 77% of the country supports the right to safe, legal abortion established by Roe.
Earlier this month, Governor Murphy, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle, and other legislative champions introduced the Reproductive Freedom Act, proactive legislation that will help protect and expand New Jerseyans’ ability to access reproductive health care, such as birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion. The bill would protect and expand access to essential reproductive health care services in three key ways:
- The Reproductive Freedom Act explicitly ensures all New Jerseyans have the right to make their own personal health decisions when it comes to birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion. The decision about whether and when to become a parent is one of the most important life decisions we make. We need to trust all people who can become pregnant to make decisions about their own health and lives.
- The Reproductive Freedom Act makes certain that financial barriers do not prevent anyone from making their own personal health decisions when it comes to birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion. Key provisions of the bill require private insurance coverage for birth control and abortion care with no out-of-pocket costs, to ensure that a person’s income or insurance status do not dictate their ability to access time-sensitive health care.
- The Reproductive Freedom Act expands access to birth control and pregnancy-related care including abortion by breaking down medically-unnecessary restrictions that right now only serve to block access to care. It is time to secure a future that safeguards reproductive care, upholds basic rights and justice, and respects decision-making throughout pregnancy.
The current health crisis also makes clear how essential it is for everyone to be able to make their own medical decisions and get the health care they need with dignity and respect. The pandemic, coupled with uncertainty at the Supreme Court, has health care advocates calling on New Jersey lawmakers to continue the state’s leadership in protecting reproductive rights and health by taking swift action to pass the Reproductive Freedom Act.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey (PPAFNJ) is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) non-profit social welfare organization, and the advocacy arm of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates in New Jersey. We advocate for access to essential health care through education, activism, voter engagement, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. For more information, visit our website at www.ppactionnj.org.