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Letter to the Editor: New Jersey Must Protect Reproductive Rights

By Maria Eva Dorigo

Originally published to Montclair Local on September 16, 2021

The other day I was thinking to myself how lucky I am to live in a place where I can have access to my birth control method, and where I have places and doctors who can assist me if something wrong happens to me. The Texas law will allow any person to sue an abortion provider and anyone else who helps the woman (the assistant who makes appointments, or a cab driver). If the judicial process determines that it was an “illegal” abortion, the person who anonymously denounced it gets a $10,000 bounty, paid with taxes. This law prohibits abortions after six weeks. Many women don’t realize that they are pregnant by then. What is next? To put women who seek abortions behind bars?

Women seek abortions for many reasons, and all need to be protected. What about those women who are in abusive relationships and don’t have control over their bodies? What about girls who are being sexually abused by family members? What about those who, because of religious beliefs, are forced to have a lot of children and those who are suffering from cancer and can’t go under treatment because it would put their pregnancies at risk? What about those who live in poverty and have too many children already, or those who don’t want to have children but their birth control failed? Abortion bans don’t stop women from seeking abortions, they put poor women at risk of dying from unsafe abortions or force them to continue with pregnancies that they don’t want or can’t afford.

The Reproductive Freedom Act (S3030/A4848) is stuck in state legislative committees. In light of what’s happening in Texas, which will spread to other states, we should encourage New Jersey legislators to protect and expand access to birth control and pregnancy care, including abortion in New Jersey. Call legislators Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney and state Sen. Joseph Vitale to approve the Reproductive Freedom Act now.

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