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Bill to enshrine a woman’s right to an abortion in N.J. could be law by end of year, Murphy tells Sa

By Matt Arco

Originally published to on September 30, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy told TBS’ Samantha Bee he expects New Jersey lawmakers to vote in November on legislation that would enshrine a woman’s right to abortion in the Garden State and that he plans to sign it into law before the end of the year.

Murphy has long supported the Reproductive Freedom Act that was introduced shortly before the U.S. Supreme Court all but made abortion illegal in Texas after it declined to hear a case that made its way up through the legal system. The governor and supporters of the bill that hasn’t been acted on by state lawmakers say it’s necessary for states to act on legislation now that Roe v. Wade is being called into question.

That prompted Bee, the host of the news comedy show “Full Frontal,” to cross the Hudson from New York City for what she called “a good news story” for reproductive health care for women.

And of course, there were jokes.

“This bill is good for society, so what’s the holdup? Is it stuck behind Chris Christie trying to get on the GW bridge?” Bee asked, in a reference to the George Washington Bridge and Bridgegate scandal that wreaked havoc on the town of Fort Lee for about a week and helped sink Christie’s presidential ambitions in 2016.

“Yes, my jokes are 10 years old, but where’s the current governor, aka our favorite sitcom dad on all of this?” Bee asked of Murphy. “Is there anyone that you need Bruce Springsteen to talk to, To hasten this along?”

Murphy responded: “I don’t know about Bruce, but I do think sadly because of this Texas decision, that it’s becoming more real. I would hope the Legislature comes back into session in November, and I fully expect this in place before the end of this year.”

That means lawmakers would return to Trenton after the November elections — when Murphy and every legislator are up for re-election — and pass the bill during a lame-duck session.

“Don’t break my heart, New Jersey,” Bee pleaded with Murphy.

“I won’t,” he responded,” adding, “It is a good news story, but look at the rest of the country, where it’s going the wrong direction. I hope maybe we could be the first state out of the gates that is a model, perhaps, for others to follow.”

The issue of abortion came up in Tuesday’s fiery debate between Murphy and his Republican rival, Jack Ciattarelli.

Ciattarelli said he wouldn’t support doing what is being done in Texas, referring to it as “a form of extremism,” though he criticized Murphy for not supporting parental notification for minors to get an abortion. He also called the Reproductive Freedom Act Murphy wants lawmakers to send to his desk “a form of extremism,” saying it would allow women to have an abortion “in months seven, eight, and nine.”

“I mean, who does that?” Ciattarelli pressed during the debate. “That’s not New Jersey.”

Murphy responded by criticizing his opponent for voting against funding for Planned Parenthood in the state when he was an assemblyman and echoing his support for a woman’s right to choose.

“(Woman’s) reproductive freedom needs to be protected at all cost and that is a decision between a woman and her doctor. Period,” Murphy said.

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