On October, 2, New Jersey introduced “The Reproductive Freedom Act,” which would enshrine the right to abortion and other essential reproductive health care for residents of the state. The timing of this legislation is no coincidence; the ruling came less than one month after the recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In light of the fact that another conservative Justice may take Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, this Act would protect the abortion rights outlined in the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The contents of the Reproductive Freedom Act can be condensed into three main points. First, the Act stipulates that all New Jersey residents maintain the right to make their own personal health decisions relating to birth control and pregnancy-related care; this includes the right to an abortion. Second, the legislation ensures that financial factors do not pose as barriers that would prevent anyone from making these health decisions. This would require private insurance companies to cover birth control and abortion with no supplementary costs on the insured individual. Finally, the Reproductive Freedom Act eliminates “medically-unnecessary restrictions” that only serve to block access to reproductive health by expanding access to birth control, abortions, and other pregnancy-related care. Numerous New Jersey state lawmakers have already pledged their support for the Act, including Democrat Governor Phil Murphy who stated, “together, we stand unwavering in our commitment to work towards reproductive freedom for all New Jersians.” Other prominent officials who have voiced their approval of the legislation include Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), and spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ Kaitlyn Wojtowicz.
The announcement of this legislation makes New Jersey the first state to take measures to protect and expand access to abortion in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Nevertheless, Democratic Nominee Joe Biden told NBC news that if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, he will “pass legislation making Roe the law of the land.”