Thursday, June 30, 2022

In New Jersey, some protections from abortion criminalization and liability

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The New Jersey legislature has passed two bills designed to mitigate the state criminalization of abortion and state-authorized vigilante fascism enabled by the Supreme Court.

A3974 bars extradition from New Jersey for any "crime" as defined in other states that "relates to reproductive health services."

A3975* Bars New Jersey abortion providers and facilitators from disclosing any communication from those seeking reproductive services and any information obtained by examination. In particular, providers are barred from providing information or expending effort "in furtherance of any interstate investigation or proceeding seeking to impose civil or criminal liability upon a person or entity for receiving, providing, or abetting reproductive health services. It also provides that professional licensing boards in the state cannot penalize any provider for providing reproductive health services barred in another state if those services are legal in New Jersey.

The budget that goes to Governor Murphy for signature today includes $5 million for abortion provider training, $5 million for clinic security, $10 million for facility upgrades, etc. and $10 million more than allocated last year to family planning services. 

What did not pass, though some of its provisions and variations of those provisions are reflected in the items above, was a bill  (A4350/S2918) that would have mandated that health plans cover abortion (most in the state do), provided free abortions to the uninsured and undocumented, criminalized intimidation of those seeking or providing abortions, and provided even more robust legal protections to those seeking or providing abortion in the state. 

The language in the two bills described above, protecting out-of-state abortion recipients from extradition or disclosure of information to fuel criminal investigations or civil suits brought by vigilantes or other state governments, throws into sharp relief the patchwork hellscape of sexual fascism unleashed by the Supreme Court. 


* I earlier summarized a superseded version of this bill. Apologies for the error. 

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