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Thrive New Jersey coalition applauds the introduction of the Reproductive Freedom and Health Equity Bill Package  


June 24, 2024

Thrive New Jersey coalition applauds the introduction of the Reproductive Freedom and Health Equity Bill Package



TRENTON, N.J. — The Thrive New Jersey coalition, which includes reproductive health care providers, legal experts, faith leaders, and human and civil rights advocates, applauds today’s introduction of the Reproductive Freedom and Health Equity bill package. The coalition thanks Senate Majority Leader Ruiz for her dedicated leadership on reproductive health and bodily autonomy. 

 

The Reproductive Freedom and Health Equity Bill Package protects patients and providers, supports bodily autonomy, and proactively modernizes and codifies various elements of reproductive health care access and provision in New Jersey. 

 

Today also marks the second anniversary since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Over the past two years, 21 states and counting have eliminated or severely restricted access to abortion. The attacks to bodily autonomy have not stopped there: states are also attacking gender affirming care, IVF, and birth control. On this anniversary we are reminded how important it is for New Jersey to continue its leadership on reproductive freedom.

 

The bill package includes provisions to:

  • Protect patients and providers of reproductive health and gender affirming care;

  • Provide insurance coverage for abortion and eliminate cost-sharing;

  • Remove medically unnecessary restrictions on reproductive health providers;

  • Ensure patients’ sensitive reproductive health data are protected;

  • Invest in the reproductive health care infrastructure;

  • Make reproductive health care more accessible on college campuses;

  • Improve processes for Medicaid coverage for emergency contraception;

  • Provide student loan redemption for reproductive health professionals; and 

  • Allow New Jerseyans to support reproductive health care with donations through tax returns.

 

The bill package codifies or enhances existing state policy, in response to the drumbeat of attacks on reproductive health care, including abortion, gender affirming care, IVF, and contraception. Passing these measures is vital to protect patients and providers statewide in the future. While the U.S. Supreme Court recently stopped a challenge to the FDA’s policies regarding mifepristone, the decision leaves the door open to additional challenges. With near constant new restrictions on abortion access in states across the country, there is growing concern about the impact of these attacks.

 

Members of the Thrive New Jersey Coalition said the following:

 

“Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey commends Senate Majority Leader Ruiz and legislative leadership for standing up to the ongoing attacks on reproductive rights,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “This bill package will make critical updates and protections to ensure that all people who seek reproductive health care in New Jersey are able to do so safely and with dignity. Everyone should be able to access reproductive health care, no matter their income, insurance status, or zip code.”

 

“This legislation will significantly improve access to reproductive health care across the state,” said Brittany Holom-Trundy, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). “Removing financial barriers will make sure that anyone in New Jersey, regardless of their income or where they were born, can afford the care they need. With the right to abortion and reproductive freedoms under attack, it's crucial to protect and expand access to reproductive health care for everyone in the state.”

 

“There is a clear, bright line between a healthy democracy and reproductive justice,” said Jesse Burns, Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey. “While protecting the legal right to abortion is critical, rights without access are not enough. Disparities are particularly stark for people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ folks, and other communities that disproportionately bear the brunt of shrinking access to reproductive health care in this country. This package of legislation moves New Jersey closer to breaking down those barriers that push abortion care out of reach for far too many in our state.”   

“The National Council of Jewish Women, New Jersey, applauds the introduction of this bill package.  New Jersey has taken another strong step forward in breaking down barriers to accessing reproductive health care and ensuring both reproductive and religious freedom in reproductive health care choices for everyone in our state,” said Phoebe Pollinger, NCJW New Jersey State Policy Advocate.

"Once again, New Jersey is leading the way for ensuring legally protected healthcare, and we applaud Senator Ruiz for this thoughtful and comprehensive plan to continue building health equity for all." Said Lauren Albrecht, Director of Advocacy and Organizing for Garden State Equality.

 

“Everyone has the right to make reproductive health choices that meet their individual needs,”said Julie Blumenfeld, President of the American College of Nurse Midwives of New Jersey. “We applaud the reproductive health bill package, and welcome the opportunity to participate in the NJ Reproduction Training and Education Initiative”. 

 

“UU Faith Action fully supports the introduction of legislation expanding insurance coverage for reproductive health care,” said Carol Loscalzo & Jami Thall, Co-Chairs of the Unitarian Universalist Faith Action NJ Reproductive Justice Task Force. “As Unitarian Universalists we  affirm the right to bodily autonomy, which includes access to abortion care and the full range of reproductive healthcare options. Breaking down all barriers to  care must be accomplished for everyone in our State. It’s a matter of health, of safety, of religious freedom, and, most importantly, of justice."

 

“Two years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion, stripping millions of people of their fundamental human right to reproductive autonomy. This right is firmly protected in New Jersey through our laws and state constitution, but elected leaders must take further action to ensure that reproductive rights, including the right to abortion,  are truly accessible and affordable to everyone seeking care. We are grateful to Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, and all the New Jersey leaders who are taking steps to expand reproductive freedom in our state. The introduction of S3452/A4601 is especially critical to expand affordable access to care, as it will remove out of pocket costs for abortion care coverage. We look forward to advocating for the swift passage and implementation of this bill as a key step toward equity and to working with lawmakers to continue to expand abortion access for all,” said Alejandra Sorto, Campaign Strategist, American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey

 

“The Abortion Justice Committee of New Jersey is amongst several organizations that represents New Jersey's immigrant population. We live in a state hailed as a leader of reproductive health, and yet for many of us it is out of reach. In our own community we investigated and found that 69% of latinx's undocumented population does not know abortion is legal. State officials, legislators, health agencies, advocates must do more to ensure our community can access STD treatments, cancer and OB/GYN screenings, gender-affirming, and abortion care. We thank our legislative champions, Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, and others for fighting hard for reforms. These bills announced today will be one step forward towards that goal, but there is far to go. We believe that New Jersey can only be a leader in reproductive health once undocumented and other Black and Brown working class residents are on equal footing with everyone else in accessing reproductive care.” said Kay Escobar, Community Organizer and Advocate, The Abortion Justice Committee of New Jersey

 

“As an abortion provider, we’re focused on the health and safety of our patients. In the two years since the Dobbs decision, our role has evolved as we help our communities navigate a radically shifting legal landscape and harassment from emboldened anti-abortion extremists. The Reproductive Freedom and Health Equity bill package will meaningfully improve the experience of all those seeking and providing stigmatized healthcare services in New Jersey.” said Roxanne Sutocky, Director of Public Affairs with Cherry Hill Women’s Center.




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