By Dave Andrusko
New Jersey Gov. Pete Murphy is outlining his proposals to add to the state’s “Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act” provisions that were dropped last year in order to get it passed. If that weren’t extremist enough, Murphy also envisions a “Reproductive Health Accessibility Fund.”
“On Wednesday, Murphy announced that he would support legislation that would widen New Jersey’s pool of potential abortion providers to include advance practice nurses, midwives and physician assistants,” Ted Sherman reported. “He also called for measures that would mandate that insurance plans in New Jersey cover abortion with no out-of-pocket costs.”
What’s more, according to reporter Susan K. Livio, “Recognizing that New Jersey is already becoming a sanctuary state for people seeking abortions, Murphy urged legislators to sponsor two other bills. One would provide legal protections for clinicians and patients who provide or receive abortion care in New Jersey from legal actions in states that have criminalized the procedure.”
She added, “The other measure would create a ‘Reproductive Health Accessibility Fund,’ a pool of money that would be used to train more clinicians to provide abortion care, provide security for abortion clinics and expand reproductive services to women who are uninsured and under-insured.”
A joint statement by New Jersey’s Catholic Bishops “express our disappointment and outrage over Governor Murphy’s announcement regarding proposed legislation to expand access to abortion in New Jersey, an act that by its very nature terminates human life. If enacted, this legislation would mandate health insurance coverage for abortions, codify regulations that permit non-physicians to perform abortions; and create a public fund that dedicates taxpayer money to pay for abortions.”
“Ironically,” the Bishops wrote, “New Jersey already has some of the most permissive abortion laws in the United States and continues to provide abortion providers tens of millions of dollars in public funds to perform these services. New Jersey continues to rank among the top three states in annual abortion procedures nationwide. For these reasons it is incomprehensible to force health insurance providers in New Jersey to cover 100 percent of the cost to expand access to these abhorrent services. …This proposed legislation is a direct attack on the dignity and sanctity of life.
For his part, Murphy intended to “send a message to women across the nation that we simply will not go backwards.” He added, “A person’s ability to access abortion care should not depend on how much money they make.”
Livio suggested some hesitancy on the part of leaders of the legislature. “Whether he has the support in the Legislature to move his new proposals remains unclear. Democratic leaders this past week would not specifically commit to the governor’s calls for action,” she wrote.
But Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho didn’t hesitate in sharply criticizing the governor.
“Gov. Murphy’s radical proposal calls for free abortions with no limits right up to birth, and he wants struggling New Jersey families to pay for abortions for everyone through even higher taxes and health care premiums,” Oroho said.