By David Wildstein
Originally published to New Jersey Globe on January 13, 2022
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codifies the right to an abortion in New Jersey into law in the event that the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
“In New Jersey, we trust each individual person to make their reproductive choices for themselves,” Murphy said. “With Roe v. Wade under attack, today’s historic legislation makes clear that New Jersey’s position in supporting the right to reproductive choice remains protected.”
The bill, a watered down version of the Reproductive Freedom Act introduced last year, was passed by both houses of the legislature on Monday, the final day of the legislative session. The Senate approved the measure by a 23-15 vote, with a 45-24 vote in the Assembly.
Today’s bill signing was held in Teaneck, the hometown of former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. Weinberg introduced the bill just before leaving office last week. Murphy included comments from Weinberg and former Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood), a longtime advocate of reproductive rights who left office two days ago. Weinberg and Vainieri Huttle were at the bill signing.
It was also the first bill attended by Nicholas Scutari since he became Senate President on Tuesday.
“Enacting the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act into statute will help protect the reproductive rights of women in New Jersey against the potential reversal by the United States Supreme Court,” Scutari said. “It is rooted in the State Constitution, consistent with decisions by the New Jersey Supreme Court and written to safeguard the fundamental right of women to make their own decisions on reproductive care.”
In addition to Weinberg and Vainieri Huttle, primary sponsors of the bill included former Senate President Steve Sweeney, State Sens. Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) and Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch), Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Raj Mukherji (D-Jersey City), and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-South Orange).
Murphy also signed a new law that requires private insurance companies and Medicaid to expand contraception coverage from a 6-month supply to a one-year supply.