In the middle of a pandemic, Gov. Murphy and pro-abortion legislators are shamelessly championing the N.J. Reproductive Freedom Act, a radical bill with multiple components that ignores science, endangers the lives of women, causes more babies to die in abortion and will deprive the right of N.J. citizens to vote on this important human rights issue. It also seeks to restrain future legislatures’ authority to pass laws in accord with evolving scientific advances. In recent days, we have learned that Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo, D-Atlantic, has signed as a co-sponsor of this terrible bill.
The legislation “explicitly guarantees, to every individual, the fundamental right to reproductive autonomy, which includes the right to contraception, the right to abortion and the right to carry a pregnancy to term.” Noticeably absent is any language limiting abortions at any period of gestation.
Ultrasound shows a baby in utero and the beauty of humanity and wonder of life that exists within the child, a stage of life that existed at one time for all of us. The act says a baby in utero “shall have no independent rights under the laws of this state,” including the right to life and dignity. The act will permit abortions to be done during all stages of pregnancy, even when the baby in utero is viable and full-term. This is not a position supported by the majority of people across the country and in the state.
New Jersey already has one of the most permissive laws in the nation when it comes to abortion, but the Reproductive Freedom Act slides us down into the dark abyss even further. Some of the few safety protections for women that have existed up until now will be eradicated by the act because it eliminates the rules and regulations promulgated by the N.J. Board of Medical Examiners.
These include eliminating the requirement that only physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery can perform abortions. The act permits non-physicians to perform abortions and eliminates the safety protocol that required abortions to be performed in a licensed hospital after 14 weeks gestation. It will also invalidate the Conscience Clause for health care workers.
Currently, a disproportionate number of abortions in New Jersey are performed on women of color. This act will sadly increase the number of minority babies whose lives are ended in abortion and further place the lives of minority women in danger. The sponsors claim that they have introduced the bill to ensure that all New Jerseyans have access to abortion, but the act says residents, non-residents, minors and those who are incarcerated, regardless of where they are domiciled, can get an abortion, paid for by N.J. taxpayers. Sex traffickers and others who exploit and abuse minors will bring them to N.J. to get an abortion.
The act also “exempts prosecution for individuals terminating or attempting to terminate the individual’s own pregnancy; or acting or failing to act in any manner with respect to the individual’s own pregnancy, based on the potential or actual impact on the individual’s own health or pregnancy.” In addition, the bill eliminates the requirement that a medical/legal death investigation be conducted in a case where “a fetal death occurs without medical attendance.” Whether it was the sponsors’ intentions or not, the language in the act is so sweeping that it can be interpreted to prevent prosecution for the infanticide of a newborn infant. This will negate the effectiveness of the state’s Safe Haven Infant Protection Law, which has saved the lives of 77 newborns since its enactment.
Lastly, the act will require all N.J. health insurance companies and policies to cover abortion and coverage for contraceptives for a 12-month supply with no deductibles, no co-insurance and no co-payments. If bill S3030 passes and becomes law, N.J. taxpayers will be footing the bill for “individuals who are incarcerated, are living in government-funded institutions or are otherwise under governmental control or supervision.”
The Reproductive Freedom Act is full of abortion extremism that should be rejected by citizens. The fact that Gov. Murphy and legislative sponsors are attempting to rush it into law during a pandemic is unconscionable. The entire Legislature and governor are up for re-election in 2021. It’s time to show them people are watching and demand that they oppose the act and withdraw it from consideration.
Marie Tasy, of New Brunswick, is executive director of New Jersey Right to Life.