The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deliberating whether to roll back Roe v. Wade, and thereby grant states greater latitude to regulate or prohibit abortion. Because of this, there has been an increased focus on state abortion laws.
Over the past couple of years, left-leaning states have enacted legislation that legalizes abortion longer during a woman’s pregnancy, while also making abortion more accessible. On the other hand, pro-life state legislators have been hard at work passing bills to protect preborn life.
In 2021, various states passed a record 106 pieces of new pro-life legislation. The previous record was set in 2011, when states passed 89 pro-life bills in one year.
This week, the New Jersey legislature passed the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act (S49) by a 46 to 22 vote in the New Jersey General Assembly, and a 23 to 15 vote in the New Jersey state Senate.
Tragically, New Jersey already permits women to abort their preborn baby up until the moment of birth.
The bill “Codifies [the] constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice” and stipulates that individuals “have the right to make their own decisions concerning reproduction, including the right to contraception, the right to terminate a pregnancy, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term.”
The bill says that it is the official policy of the state of New Jersey to:
“Explicitly guarantee, to every individual, the fundamental right to reproductive autonomy, which includes the right to contraception, the right to terminate a pregnancy, and the right to carry a pregnancy to term.”
Some state legislators, including Democrats, have openly opined about how radical New Jersey’s abortion laws are – specifically the lack of any limit on when a woman can abort her baby during her pregnancy.
Democrat Assemblyman Gary Schaer mused, “I don’t know how you can say in a piece of legislation that a woman who is eight months, three weeks, and six days pregnant can have an abortion. I don’t understand how that can happen in any kind of civilized society.”
Additionally, S49 enables “all qualified health care professionals to provide pregnancy termination services in the State.”
According to northjersey.com, this will greatly expand the number of health care workers who can perform abortions, permitting nearly 12,000 advanced practice nurses, 4,500 physician assistants and 420 midwives to kill preborn babies.
This puts the health and safety of women at risk – permitting non-doctors to perform risky abortion procedures.
Lastly, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act says the state will “advance comprehensive insurance coverage for reproductive care, including primary reproductive health care services, services to terminate a pregnancy, long-acting contraceptives, and long-term supplies of hormonal contraceptives.”
This language regarding insurance coverage of reproductive care is watered down, as an earlier version of the bill would have required that health insurers cover abortions and birth control to insured individuals for free.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has said that he will sign the bill into law.
“A bill to codify a woman’s right to choose into state law and expand access to reproductive health care for all just passed both houses of the Legislature,” Gov. Murphy tweeted on Monday.
“I will sign this bill into law this week. With Roe v. Wade under attack, the need for this bill is more urgent than ever.”
At the same time, Massachusetts is currently entertaining a bill that would mandate free abortions on college campuses.
According to the Boston Globe, Massachusetts State Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa is sponsoring a bill that would require “abortion pills be dispensed at student health centers across the state’s public university system.”
The idea is particularly harmful to women, since the abortion pill involves a dangerous drug, mifepristone, which has a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) designation issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Common complications from a chemical abortion includes pain, bleeding, nausea, vomiting diarrhea, chills and fever, with severe complications including hemorrhaging, infection/sepsis, incomplete abortion, uterus rupture and death.”
Yet, other states are pushing forward with pro-life legislation to ensure all preborn babies are protected from the moment of conception.
Oklahoma is considering legislation that would ban all abortions in the state. The proposed bill will be modeled after the Texas Heartbeat Bill, which successfully prohibited pre-viability abortions after six weeks gestation for the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. The Texas bill is estimated to have already saved thousands of preborn babies from abortion.
Oklahoma State Rep. Sean Roberts will introduce the bill before January 20.
The pro-life citizens of Oklahoma should have the ability to help hold these doctors accountable,” Roberts said. “Individual citizens are an extremely important part of making sure that we are protecting the lives of the unborn.”
Though Oklahoma previously passed a Heartbeat Bill, it has since been blocked by a federal judge, prohibiting it from taking effect.
With some states passing pro-life bills while other promote abortion, it can sometime seem like the pro-life movement takes two steps forward and one step back. Progress can be slow and exhausting at times.
Yet, Scripture reminds us to keep pressing on.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
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