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NJ Abortions Now Protected By Law; Activists Seek Accessibility

By Michelle Rotuno-Johnson

Originally published to Patch New Jersey on January 11, 2022

NEW JERSEY — On Monday, the New Jersey state legislature signed into law a bill protecting women's rights to have an abortion; but activists say the bill does not go far enough to make abortions accessible to all.

The state law would ensure access to abortions even if a future Supreme Court decision strikes down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The bill passed the Senate 23-15 and passed the Assembly 46-22, with 8 assembly members not voting.

The Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, bill S49, does not require insurance providers to cover the medical procedure, as WHYY reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey is calling on legislators to reduce out-of-pocket costs for abortions. Policy Director Sarah Fajardo said in a statement that the bill is an important step, but added access to abortions is also critical.

"The bill takes the important step of affirming New Jerseyans' legal protections for the right to an abortion and reproductive autonomy – but at a time when reproductive freedom is on the line, we need to guarantee that abortion is not just legal, but accessible," Fajardo said.

"To meaningfully protect the right to abortion and ensure equitable access, we must go beyond the status quo and guarantee that abortion is affordable for all New Jerseyans, regardless of insurance access, immigration status, or income. Without addressing the systemic barriers rooted in white supremacy and xenophobia that keep essential health care out of reach for so many, the right to an abortion remains one that many New Jerseyans struggle to access."

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