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New Jersey Enshrines Abortion Rights into State Law

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

A women’s right to obtain an abortion in New Jersey is now enshrined into state law, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On Thursday, Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed two bills, one which codified abortion rights into state law and a second bill that expands insurance coverage for birth control. 


“Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, New Jersey’s position supporting the right to reproductive autonomy will remain clear and unchanged,” Murphy reportedly said before signing the bills. 

On Dec. 1, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which pertains to a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. The case could overturn landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided in 1973 and 1992, respectively. A decision is expected next summer.

New Jersey’s legislation ensures abortion access in the state in the event that Roe is overturned, as the WSJ pointed out.

“The Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act codifies protections related to reproductive choice—like the right to access contraception, terminate a pregnancy or carry a pregnancy to term—into state law. The new law cites New Jersey Supreme Court decisions that found reproductive choice is a fundamental right under the state and federal constitutions. Laws, regulations and ordinances that could threaten that right would be invalid or not take effect, according to the new law.

The law said the state Department of Banking and Insurance will study whether to require insurance companies to cover abortions. Depending on that research, the department could make it a requirement, which could come with religious exemptions.”


The WSJ noted that fourteen other states, including Illinois and California, have passed laws protecting abortion access. A dozen other states have passed “trigger laws” that would immediately outlaw abortion if Roe is overturned. This week, lawmakers in both Florida and South Dakota announced  plans to pass legislation to restrict abortion.

“Today, I am asking all of you to protect the heartbeats of these unborn children,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican, told state lawmakers during her State of the State address Tuesday. “I am bringing legislation to ban all abortions once a heartbeat can be detected.”

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