Legislation Protects Reproductive Health Care Providers and Out-of-State Residents Seeking Abortions in NJ
With abortion expected to become illegal or heavily restricted in about half of all states now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, Governor Phil Murphy signed two bills July 1 to protect individuals who receive and provide reproductive health care services in New Jersey.
“While others throughout the country are revoking a woman’s right to reproductive freedom, New Jersey will continue to defend this fundamental right in our state,” said Governor Murphy. “By bolstering protections against potential repercussions for both health care professionals and patients, we are sending a message to all who seek or provide reproductive health care within our borders that we welcome and support you. These laws represent our commitment to standing by a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body, and will serve to make our state a beacon of freedom to every woman in America.”
“While the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs may be among the most devastating and profoundly wrong rulings in American history, it will not stop us from using every available tool to continue protecting the right to choose,” said Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “These two critical laws further our commitment to protecting abortion rights for New Jersey residents and anyone else who comes to our State seeking care. These laws also provide critical protections for health care providers and for patients' privacy. I am grateful for Governor Murphy's commitment to protecting women's rights and reproductive freedom, and I am grateful to the Legislature for passing these important bills.”
The legislation establishes protections for both patients and providers.
For patients, the legislation helps ensure residents of other states who seek reproductive health care in New Jersey can access confidential care without fear of prosecution.
For providers, the legislation insulates healthcare practitioners from New Jersey-initiated disciplinary actions based on the provision of reproductive health care, including abortion, that is legal in New Jersey.
The first bill (A-3975/S-2633) would generally prevent the disclosure of a patient’s medical records related to reproductive health care without their consent in any civil, probate, legislative or administrative proceeding.
It would also prohibit public entities and employees from cooperating with interstate investigations aiming to hold someone liable for seeking, receiving, facilitating, or providing reproductive health care services that are legal in New Jersey.
The bill further protects providers by prohibiting New Jersey licensing boards from suspending, revoking, or refusing to renew the license or registration of a professional based solely on their involvement in the provision of reproductive health care services.
The second bill (A-3974/S-2642) would prevent the extradition of an individual within New Jersey to another state for receiving, providing, or facilitating reproductive health care services that are legal in New Jersey.
Primary sponsors of both bills include Senators Nia Gill, Nellie Pou, and Gordon Johnson, and Assembly members Lisa Swain, Mila Jasey, and Raj Mukherji.
What are they saying:
“While this does not change the tragic reality for many individuals living in places where reproductive rights have been stripped away, anyone who chooses to come to New Jersey and receive an abortion will be safeguarded from facing criminal charges in their home state,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz.
“With this legislation in place, anyone, regardless of where they are from, can receive reproductive health services in this state and will be protected under New Jersey State Law. Our state has a duty to defend those engaging in their reproductive rights from punitive out-of-state restrictions on their freedoms, and I am happy to say that the right to choose is a sacred right for all in New Jersey,” said Senator Nia Gill.
“The Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade notwithstanding, we in New Jersey believe that questions and decisions regarding a person’s reproductive health care and well-being are private, and should be best left to the individual and their provider. These bills are meant to bolster that basic right to access quality and safe reproductive health care to all New Jersey residents, and also to protect those from outside who might come to our state seeking health services that are unavailable to them at home,” said Senator Nellie Pou.
“Women and their doctors are the only individuals necessary to make choices about their bodies and reproductive health. This new law aims to protect medical professionals who provide reproductive healthcare services in New Jersey that is in violation of any other state’s laws and prohibits the use of extradition,” said Assemblywoman Lisa Swain.
“Reproductive freedom is a human right, and everyone deserves the opportunity to safely access reproductive health care without facing unjust retaliation,” said Assemblywoman Shanique Speight.
“In these troubling times, we must defend reproductive freedom and be a safe haven for women who are seeking the reproductive care they need,” said Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer. “Protecting private patient information and prohibiting professional retaliation against providers are key ways we can work towards this worthy goal.”
“Everyone should be able to make their own personal health care decisions – without fear, intimidation, stigma, or delay. New Jersey continues to be a national leader, by passing legislation like S2633/A3975 and S2642/A3974, when it comes to protecting the right to abortion care,” said Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.