National Organization for Women of New Jersey (NOW-NJ) praises the legislative action in S49/A6260, a bill that codifies the constitutional right to reproductive autonomy in New Jersey. NOW-NJ applauds the bill’s strong declaration of the full range of reproductive rights, which include the decision to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization; and choose whether to carry a pregnancy, to give birth, or to terminate a pregnancy with no restrictions or governmental interference. Equality of the sexes is inextricably linked to reproductive rights. And at a time when reproductive rights are under attack across the nation, New Jersey’s affirmative action will support equality for all women and LGBTQIA + people who can become pregnant.
One in four women will have an abortion in their lifetime. Sexual abuse, domestic violence, birth control failure, inadequate sex education, and unanticipated health consequences posed by the pregnancy or fetal abnormality are just a few reasons why a pregnancy may be unwanted. An unintended pregnancy can derail the entire trajectory of a person’s future – their dreams, their goals, their education, career choices, where to live, who to befriend, who to marry and who not to leave. Without the ability to control their reproductive cycle, people who are already struggling to make ends meet can face a lifetime of poverty.
Anjali Mehrotra, President of NOW-NJ remarked, “This is a great first step and we should celebrate the passage of this legislation. But New Jersey can and must do more to improve access to reproductive health care and remove stigma. We need to pass more protections for New Jersey’s vulnerable and marginalized populations, such as removing cost barriers for abortion, ensuring medical abortion remains accessible, and allowing access to hormonal contraception without a prescription from a doctor. We will continue to work with the legislature to advance reproductive justice in New Jersey.”
National Organization for Women thanks all those who championed and worked on this bill and the Reproductive Freedom Act, from the Governor and First Lady, to staff, legislators, and the fierce advocates that we worked in coalition with. We especially recognize the work of our outgoing legislative champions – Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and thank them and Senate President Steve Sweeney for their leadership and service to the people of New Jersey.
About National Organization for Women of New Jersey (NOW-NJ)
The purpose of NOW New Jersey is to take action through intersectional, anti-racist grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.
For more information about NOW New Jersey, please visit www.nownj.org.