FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2021
Contact: Kelly Novak, [email protected]

An Important First Step, With Much More Needed to Secure Abortion Access in New Jersey

NEW YORK – Today, both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature passed S49/A6260, codifying into statute the existing right to abortion for New Jerseyans, currently protected by state case law. In enacting this law, the legislature set aside a more impactful bill, the Reproductive Freedom Act, which advocates – including the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) – have been working for several years to pass so that the right to abortion would be protected and barriers to accessing this care would be addressed. In response, NIRH released the following statement:

“S49/A6260 is an important first step in codifying the current rights to abortion for people in New Jersey at a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to slash the federal protections provided by Roe v. Wade and conservative states – like Texas – are banning abortion as early as six weeks. 

But now is a time when we need and expect New Jersey and other states to take legislative action to not just protect abortion rights, but to also improve access to abortion care. Legal rights alone remain a hollow promise for far too many, particularly those who already face disproportionate harm and lack meaningful access to health services. The Reproductive Freedom Act, in contrast, would have not only enshrined the right to make reproductive decisions, including abortion, it would have addressed the affordability of abortion – a major barrier to access – and ensured that undocumented people have coverage for this care.

With a national crisis in abortion access looming, this bill represents a missed opportunity.  In opting for a less-impactful bill, the New Jersey legislature has chosen to ignore the most significant barriers to abortion access. NIRH hopes that in the 2022 session, the legislature will acknowledge the dire threat to reproductive freedom and move forward all of the provisions in the Reproductive Freedom Act.”

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The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is an advocacy group that works directly with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and allied groups to protect and advance access to reproductive healthcare. For more than 40 years, NIRH has been partnering with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, and successfully advocate for policy change. NIRH’s strategy is to go on the offensive and focus on communities where change is needed, so the fabric of reproductive freedom becomes harder to tear apart.