Members of the Thrive New Jersey coalition rallied at the State House Annex to celebrate historic investments in access to the full range of reproductive health care services through the New Jersey state budget. These commitments come as the nation reels from the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ended the federal constitutional right to abortion. While abortion remains legal and available in New Jersey, advocates have highlighted the many ways that access to care could be expanded in New Jersey, so that everyone is able to afford the care they need.
Partners celebrated the courageous leaders in our legislature who — when faced with the high court’s attack on reproductive rights and health — took bold action to help expand access to abortion care. Senate President Scutari, Assembly Speaker Coughlin, Senator Sarlo, and Assemblywoman Pintor Marin helped lead efforts to increase investments in reproductive health in this years’ budget. Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyperson Mila Jasey, Assemblyperson Sadaf Jaffer, and Assemblyperson Raj Mukherji, who joined advocates at the rally, are all sponsors of A4350/S2918, legislation that would make abortion more afforable and accessable to New Jerseyans. Though this legislation has not yet passed, we look forward to working with these legislators and leadership through the summer and fall to continue to expand access to abortion in New Jersey.
The resources provided by the FY23 state budget will help support the full range of reproductive health care. Provisions in the budget will support patients who need high-quality, affordable services, as well as providers by investing in security, training and facility improvements. The investments will help ensure that New Jersey is ready to meet this moment and provide care, while other states across the cutoff access to those most in need.
In the days following the overturn of Roe, the country has been reeling. Women and birthing people in states with “trigger laws” that took effect upon the overturn of Roe now must seek care outside of their state and, in many cases, outside of the region where they live.
Quote from Assemblywoman Mila Jasey:
“Thanks to the swift action of the Legislature and the Governor in anticipation of the reversal of Roe, and long before the draft opinion was leaked, New Jersey protected a woman’s fundamental right to privacy and bodily autonomy by codifying these safeguards and adding those previously secured in New Jersey. But equity demands access to services. Without it, this is a this is a pyrrhic victory. Access cannot be predicated upon wealth or immigration status! In the name of equity, I, along with my colleagues Assemblymembers Speight and Jafffer, introduced A4350. A4350 ensures that all women will have access to mandatory insurance coverage for prenatal care, contraceptives and abortion, without co-pays or out-of-pocket costs, and expands trained medical personnel to provide these services.”
Quote from Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, VP of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ:
“In response to the devastation of rights across the country, New Jersey is charting a different path. While abortion remains legal in New Jersey, we must continue to fight forward to ensure everyone can get the care they need without stigma or delay. New Jersey proudly stands with all individuals who turn to us for vital health care services.”
Quote from Andrea Miller, President, National Institute for Reproductive Health Action Fund:
“In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, we’re thrilled to see New Jersey take immediate action by investing significant resources in access to the full range of reproductive health care. The state budget’s allocation will greatly help support patients and providers alike. The National Institute for Reproductive Health applauds the New Jersey legislature for taking this bold step that will improve reproductive health care and yet still more is needed. As some states move to ban abortion care, we call on New Jersey’s leaders to pass A4350/S2918, a bill that would protect and expand access to abortion care specifically and for all who seek access in the Garden State.”
Quote from Phoebe Pollinger, New Jersey State Policy Advocate, National Council of Jewish Women – Essex County Section
“Abortion access is an economic justice issue. But, it is also a racial justice issue, an immigration justice issue, a health equity issue, a civil rights issue, a voting rights issue and for NCJW and so many other faiths, it is a religious freedom issue. We thank our legislators here today to highlight New Jersey’s investment in reproductive healthcare along with those who sponsored and voted for the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act in January. NCJW looks forward to continuing the work to protect and expand abortion access with our legislators and all our Thrive NJ partners and advocates across our State.”
Quote from Jami Thall, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action New Jersey:
“As Unitarian Universalists, our faith calls us to advocate on behalf of all those who need ready access to safe, legal abortion care whenever and wherever they need it. Access to abortion and the right to choose is an issue of gender equality, bodily autonomy, and religious liberty, all of which are long held Unitarian Universalist religious teachings. We are committed to defending these principles here in NJ and across the country. Today we would like to thank our New Jersey state legislators for their commitment to reproductive justice by investing significant resources and funding in access to the full range of reproductive health care services through the state budget. This is a significant step forward, and we commend our leaders for taking bold action at this critical time. There remains more to do to ensure that access to abortion care is available to all here in the state of New Jersey and UU Faith Action NJ will continue to advocate on behalf of all those who need ready access to safe, legal abortion care whenever and wherever they need it.”
Quote from Jasmine Winters, Coalition Coordinator, Thrive New Jersey, and Patient Advocate, Cherry Hill Women’s Center:
“At our clinic in Cherry Hill, we’re still grappling with extremist harassment, a lack of resources and tight capacity as we see an influx of patients from other states. We need more than just the legal right to operate—we need to be able to actually provide care for everyone in our community who needs us. We’ve seen patients cancel appointments because they can’t afford care without insurance coverage, or be scared away from the clinic when anti-abortion vigilantes harass them. We urgently need our lawmakers to use this moment to act and support clinics like ours as we fight to expand access and achieve reproductive justice in our state.”
Quote from Julie Blumenfeld, President, NJ Affiliate of the American College of Nurse Midwives:
“Midwifery practice embraces advocacy for informed choice, shared decision making, and the right to self-determination. We are proud to practice in a state where our leadership and legislature recognizes that it is an ethical imperative to provide advocacy for informed decision making about fertility, and access to and investment in all reproductive services including provision of abortion.”
Quote from Robt Martin Seda-Schreiber, Chief Activist, Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice:
“Abortion access & reproductive rights & healthcare are not only pivotal but indeed life-saving measures & especially impactful to our most marginalized communities including our queer & transgender family members! All of us at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice are proud to stand with Planned Parenthood & all the inspirational organizations, elected officials, & supportive friends & allies in making sure all who need or want birth justice find safe & easy access to any & all programs available.”
Quote from Calandria Ortiz-Resende, Policy Coordinator, NJ Coalition to End Domestic Violence:
“For survivors of sexual and domestic violence, abortion access is about safety, and the right to lead lives free of violence – which is what we all deserve.”
Quote from Marcia Marley, President, BlueWaveNJ:
“In the face of an unprecedented and devastating loss of rights following the Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade, BlueWaveNJ is grateful to New Jersey legislators and Governor Murphy for taking steps to ensure New Jersey is a sanctuary where abortion is legal and available, first by passing the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act in January and then by including a significant increase in reproductive health care resources in the budget being voted on this week. While BlueWaveNJ thanks the legislators that have worked hard to ensure that our rights are protected, rights without access are not rights. We will continue to advocate for legislation that guarantees abortion access for all and does not depend on income, insurance coverage or immigration status.”
Quote from Alejandra Sorto, Campaign Strategist, ACLU of New Jersey:
“This moment calls for true leadership from our lawmakers, who must unapologetically join us to expand abortion access for all. Lawmakers must immediately pass S2918/A4350 to remove financial barriers to abortion care, provide the necessary resources to abortion providers across our state, and ensure that abortion is accessible for all who need it. Silence and inaction at this moment are unacceptable.”