FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2021
Contact: Kelly Novak, [email protected]
With overwhelming popularity and Governor Murphy’s promise to sign, advocates ask: why the holdup?
NEW YORK — With widespread public support for the Reproductive Freedom Act (RFA) demonstrated by a new poll commissioned by the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH), reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates are concerned about how the bill has stalled in the New Jersey legislature.
Championed by the Thrive NJ coalition, which includes NIRH, the RFA would greatly expand access to reproductive health care by removing financial barriers for access to birth control, abortion, and pregnancy care; removing medically unnecessary regulations that cause barriers to care; and declaring that all New Jerseyans have a fundamental right to access reproductive health care, including abortion.
The poll found that the RFA is popular — two-thirds of New Jerseyans support the RFA across all gender, race, ethnicity, and age groups, and this includes majority support from voters of a variety of religious backgrounds, including Catholics and Protestants. A whopping 63% of New Jersey voters want their state legislators to prioritize protecting and expanding access to abortion.
After introduction in both the House and Senate, the RFA has been stagnating since, even though Governor Murphy has clearly signaled he will sign the bill.
“New Jersey voters are rightfully concerned about the current threats to reprodcutive health care access, including abortion, and understand the urgency with state after state trying to push reproductive health care out of reach. New Jerseyans want their state legislators to lead on this issue,” said Andrea Miller, president of NIRH and its Action Fund. “States have tremendous power to step up and enact proactive laws to protect and expand access to care. With a Supreme Court hostile to abortion access and no new federal protections on the horizon, the time is right now for states to pass as many proactive laws as they can to protect access to abortion care and other reproductive health care services.”
“With access to reproductive healthcare being restricted in many states, we need New Jersey to stand up for women and families and pass the Reproductive Freedom Act. The RFA is not only enormously popular — it’s very much needed,” said Marcia Marley, President of BlueWaveNJ, a member group of the Thrive NJ coalition. “It’s perplexing and concerning that this important and necessary bill is languishing in the legislature. New Jersyans are counting on elected leaders to protect access to care, including abortion — especially as the inequities and burdens of reproductive access fall hardest on marginalized communities.”
The recent poll, conducted by Change Research and commissioned by NIRH, also showed:
New Jersey voters understand the urgency of protecting and expanding access to abortion and want their state legislators to prioritize this issue.
- 72% of New Jerseyans see the restrictions being passed in other states that push reproductive health care out of reach and agree that it’s time for New Jersey to take action with the Reproductive Freedom Act to protect access to care.
- 3 in 5 New Jersey voters say they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that the Supreme Court might overturn or significantly weaken Roe v. Wade in the future and allow states to ban abortion outright or make it impossible to access.
- 63% of New Jersey voters want their state legislators to prioritize protecting and expanding access to abortion
An overwhelming majority of New Jersey voters do not want lawmakers to interfere with decisions about abortion.
- 87% of New Jerseyans believe decisions about abortion should be made by pregnant people in consultation with their medical providers.
There is widespread support for abortion rights amongst New Jersey voters.
- 68% of New Jersey voters believe abortion should be legal in either most cases or all cases.
- 80% of New Jersey voters agree that individuals have the right to make their own decision about abortion without political interference.
The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) works to protect and advance just and equitable access to reproductive health care. Our strategy is to go on the offensive to pass laws that safeguard reproductive freedom. NIRH builds coalitions, launches campaigns, and successfully advocates for policy change in partnership with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and allied groups. We work together so that the fabric of reproductive freedom is harder to tear apart.