New Jersey’s abortion haven in the making
The state’s Reproductive Freedom Act endangers women and their babies while profiting the abortion industry
On a chilly Sunday in January, breast cancer surgeon Dr. Kathleen Ruddy read her diocese’s newspaper after the early morning mass at St. Vincent Martyr church in Madison, N.J. A letter to the editor on the top right corner of Page 9 caught her eye. Under the headline “A license to kill,” reader Sean M. Parkot from Morristown outlined some of his concerns about a new pro-abortion bill before the New Jersey legislature. “Late term abortions will be fully paid for by your taxes and your health insurance,” he wrote. “Conscience protections for medical workers will be removed, forcing pro-life medical workers to assist in the abortion procedure.”
Ruddy rushed the half-a-block home to research. She hadn’t heard of this so-called Reproductive Freedom Act, which legislators first introduced in October, and it alarmed her. “I was really taken aback when I read that physicians and other allied … medical personnel would be required to perform abortions,” she said. “At first I thought, woah, is someone going to make me perform an abortion?”
Ruddy later discovered she likely wouldn’t face pressure to perform abortions since she runs a private practice. But she was right to be alarmed. This bill, together with other recent moves in the state, would effectively make New Jersey the top abortion destination in the country. Rather than benefit women, the expansions proposed in the bill would only profit the abortion industry.
Among other things, the measure would legalize abortion for all nine months of pregnancy for any reason and allow non-physicians to perform the procedure in non-licensed medical facilities. It would make the procedure free, including for women from outside the state, and take away conscience exceptions from personnel who didn’t want to participate. Effectively, the bill would remove all current protections for the unborn in the state and prevent future legislators from enacting laws that would restrict abortion in any way.
“The whole bill is concerning,” said Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life. “A more accurate name is the New Jersey Freedom to Kill Act, because that’s precisely what the bill does.”
The preamble of the bill said the moves are necessary to ensure abortion access in New Jersey. But the New Jersey abortion rate is already one of the highest in the country and the state has no significant protections for babies.
At the same time, the state is pushing to expand abortion in other ways. The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners proposed a regulatory change that would allow abortionists to classify abortion as a “minor procedure” rather than a “minor surgery” in official documents, making it cheaper for someone to provide abortions. Ruddy explained that, when applying for medical malpractice insurance coverage, insurers base premiums on the types of procedures a practice carries out. Major surgeries come with a high premium. Redefining abortion as a procedure, rather than a surgery, would allow abortionists to take advantage of the lowest premiums. The board will decide whether to implement the change at the end of the comment period on March 5.
Together with the bill, these new regulations would make abortions cheaper to both perform and obtain in New Jersey. “Anybody can come to New Jersey for an abortion vacation,” Ruddy said.
If the pro-life Supreme Court reverses the Roe v. Wade decision, sending the abortion battle back down to the states, New Jersey could become an especially popular vacation destination for sex traffickers and fetal tissue researchers. While the state’s law still bans the sale of fetal tissue, it permits human stem cell research and payment for the costs associated with preserving and transporting fetal tissue. Past reports on fetal tissue procurement show that those fees can be a great way to bring in cash, meaning providing tissue could come with a financial incentive despite the law.
Ruddy said these pro-abortion political maneuvers chip away at the integrity of her field. She said it’s just another example of how the legislature and the abortion industry have hijacked the medical profession to serve their own political and financial agendas.
But, for now, the bill hasn’t made much progress. It has been sitting in committee since October, and Tasy said abortion groups have been complaining that the legislature has not yet scheduled it for hearings.
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