“With women’s reproductive rights being chipped away in other parts of the country, here in New Jersey we are not only securing those rights, but we are making it easier for women to maintain control over their bodies,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The proposed actions being announced today are not only about supporting reproductive health and bodily autonomy, but they are also about creating equity for those with limited resources whose access to essential healthcare may be limited or restricted.”
In January 2022, the Governor signed historic legislation he had championed alongside legislative supporters, including former Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, to protect the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice in New Jersey. That legislation codified reproductive rights into state law, including the right to access contraception and the right to terminate a pregnancy. The legislation announced today reintroduces aspects of the original bill draft that were not included in the final act signed into law.
The reintroduced provisions aim to provide equitable access by requiring private insurers to provide coverage for abortion without cost-sharing and codifying into state into recent regulatory changes to expand New Jersey’s pool of potential abortion providers to include advanced practice nurses, midwives, and physician assistants.
With many other states prepared to criminalize abortions, the legislation announced today will take steps to protect those seeking or providing abortions in New Jersey from legal retaliation. Under the bill, public entities would be prohibited from cooperating with interstate investigations into the provision or receipt of reproductive health care. The legislation will also establish a way to allow a person in New Jersey who is successfully sued in another state for their involvement in reproductive health care to file suit to recover damages resulting from that initial lawsuit.
The Governor also announced his intent to create a new Reproductive Health Access Fund to support access to reproductive health care for uninsured and underinsured women, clinical training grants to expand the number of health care providers with abortion training, and funding to help cover the costs of necessary security measures to protect at-risk health care sites.