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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2021
Over 150 Attendees and 80 Organizations Show Support For the Reproductive Freedom Act
Virtual rally, public letter, and mobile billboard all demand action from legislative leadership on urgent abortion access bill
Over 150 people turned out for a virtual rally today to show their support for the Reproductive Freedom Act (S3030/A4848) and demand action from New Jersey’s legislative leadership. The event, hosted by the Thrive NJ Abortion Access Subcommittee, highlighted the urgency of this bill in protecting and expanding access to time-sensitive reproductive care, including abortion and birth control.
In addition, eighty progressive organizations (listed below) signed on to an open letter addressed to the legislative leadership, fully endorsing the Reproductive Freedom Act and calling for the bill to be moved and passed now.
Also, a mobile billboard was unveiled today that will circulate throughout Middlesex County, Gloucester County, and Trenton to raise awareness that the RFA is urgently needed. Gov. Murphy visited the mobile billboard after his briefing in Trenton, and reaffirmed his support for the swift passage of the Reproductive Freedom Act. (See images attached.)
The Reproductive Freedom Act has three main goals: enshrine the fundamental right to abortion in state statute; remove financial barriers that block access to reproductive health care and hurt patients’ health; and eliminate outdated and medically unnecessary regulations that only block access to care.
The bill has already been introduced in both chambers of the New Jersey legislature and has strong support among legislators, but has not been scheduled for a hearing in either the Senate or Assembly health committees. Thrive NJ and its members have not heard from the Senate or Assembly leadership as to why this bill is not advancing, but are eager to meet with them to discuss any concerns.
Speakers addressed the group in both English and Spanish. Speeches are excerpted below. Speakers with email addresses listed are open to being contacted by press.
Dr. Kristyn Brandi, Physicians for Reproductive Health
“The Reproductive Freedom Act would ensure that regardless of background or life’s challenges, all New Jerseyans can access safe, effective, bias-free reproductive health care, including abortion care. I call on legislators to support the RFA to help people access whatever care they need, whenever they need it, free of barriers. Regardless of income, insurance status, or immigration status – every person, everybody deserves care.”
Dr. Emma Cortes, physician and clinic escort
“As physicians we are instilled with the four principles of ethics, which are beneficence, respect for autonomy, non-maleficence, and justice. Since my medical life began, there have been more than 480 medically unnecessary laws that have been passed, limiting access to key healthcare. Allowing political motivations to determine access to healthcare opposes all four of the basic ethics of medicine.”
Gaby Garcia-Vera, Catholics for Choice
“I am one of the majority of the faithful in the Catholic Church who believes that our tradition supports a person’s right to follow their conscience on important moral matters, including reproductive health decisions which include access to abortion. And just so we are clear: Protecting reproductive health care is a Catholic value.”
“Soy uno de la mayoría de los fieles de la iglesia católica que cree que nuestra tradición apoya el derecho de las personas a seguir su conciencia en asuntos morales importantes, incluyendo decisiones sobre la salud reproductiva y el acceso al aborto. Y para que quede muy claro, proteger la salud reproductiva es un valor católico.”
Jen Groves, NOW-NJ, Cherry Hill Women’s Center
“As abortion providers, we know it is time to get rid of outdated and harmful regulations and secure a future that safeguards reproductive care, upholds basic rights and justice, and respects decision-making throughout pregnancy. We need the Reproductive Freedom Act because our communities thrive when we look out for each other, our loved ones, and our neighbors.”
Nadia Hussain, Moms Rising
"Passing the Reproductive Freedom Act S3030/A4848 will help protect and expand everyone's ability to receive reproductive health care, such as birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion care. Being able to manage how many children we have and when we have them has been nothing short of revolutionary. It has helped to narrow the gender pay gap, improve health outcomes, and led to increased economic and political power."
Karol Ruiz, human rights activist
“It is way past time for our legislators to pay the debt owed to Black, Latin American, immigrant, and communities with low income too long denied equal access to healthcare. While contraception, healthcare, abortions, and resources for new parents are easily available to the wealthiest among us, legislators abuse religion and partisanship to continue denying our communities the care we need to thrive. The Reproductive Freedom Act must pass NOW!”
Alejandra Sorto, ACLU-NJ
“Currently, there are 19 cases that could overturn or severely limit the right to an abortion that are before or one-step away from the Supreme Court. Also, just in the last decade, there have been over 480 medically-unnecessary and politically-motivated restrictions on abortion that have been enacted. The moment for NJ to protect this fundamental right in statute is now.
Actualmente, hay 19 casos que podrían anular o limitar severamente el derecho al aborto que están ante o a un paso de la Corte Suprema. Además, solo en la última década, se han promulgado más de 460 restricciones en contra del aborto, las cuales son médicamente innecesarias y con motivaciones políticas. El momento para que Nueva Jersey proteja este derecho fundamental bajo la ley es ahora.”
Kristin Wald, Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (SOFIA)
“Many who experience domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, experience a loss of self-confidence and feel out of control in issues regarding some of the most personal decisions we make about our lives. When a person can discuss reproductive options with their doctor, knowing that all reproductive options are both on the table and will be their own decision, a sense of identity and self-control emerges. The RFA helps move bodily autonomy and control over personal life choices back where they belong, between a patient and their doctor.”
Jasmine Winters, The Women’s Centers
“As we continue to leverage our collective voices and resources towards expanding access to reproductive health rights, I would like to see NJ do the right thing. And not just for those who are healthy or may live in areas with ample health care access, but also for those who are a part of those marginalized communities. Everyone should be able to make their own health care decisions, and the Reproductive Freedom Act will ensure the freedom, respect, and personal decision-making of each patient.”
Signees of Reproductive Freedom Act Support Letter
Thrive NJ is a statewide coalition of organizations working collectively to promote sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice through policy change and advocacy.
The Thrive NJ Abortion Access Subcommittee members include:
All* Above All
American Society for Emergency Contraception
Blue Wave NJ
Catholics for Choice
Cherry Hill Women’s Center
Children's Home Society of NJ
League of Women Voters of New Jersey
Make the Road NJ Youth Power Project
National Council of Jewish Women - Bergen Section
National Council of Jewish Women - Essex Section
National Institute for Reproductive Health
National Organization for Women of New Jersey
New Jersey Abortion Access Fund
New Jersey Policy Perspective
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ
Reproductive Health Access Project (RHAP) - NJ Cluster
Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.)
Unitarian Universalist Faith Action of NJ
YWCA Northern New Jersey healingSPACE