TRENTON, New Jersey — Today, reproductive health supporters from across New Jersey rallied for the Reproductive Equity Act (S2918/A4350), legislation that will strengthen reproductive health protections by expanding access to abortion care. Gathered on the State House steps, the diverse group demanded immediate action to expand access to reproductive health care, during this national crisis moment for abortion access. Sponsors of the rally included the National Council of Jewish Women – Essex County Section, Cherry Hill Women's Center, Unitarian Universalist Faith Action NJ, American Civil Liberties Union NJ, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey (PPAFNJ), National Organization for Women — Morris County Chapter, and League of Women Voters of New Jersey.
Speakers reminded the crowd that reproductive health advocates have long warned that opponents of abortion would not stop at overturning Roe, as the Supreme Court did earlier this summer. This month, as predicted, abortion opponents introduced a national abortion ban in Congress, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham and New Jersey’s own Rep. Chris Smith.
Noting that the best way to combat efforts to ban abortion is to move now to knock down existing barriers to accessing reproductive health care, the supporters gathered at today’s rally demand to see the Reproductive Equity Act passed during this legislative session to ensure that abortion care is accessible to all, regardless of identity, income, insurance coverage, or immigration status.
Here is what speakers at the rally had to say:
Jackie Cornell, Planned Parenthood Action Fund of NJ:
“Across the country, anti-abortion politicians have made their goal clear: to strip you of your freedoms and ban abortion in every state. In New Jersey, we want our legislators to rise to meet this crisis moment and listen to the needs of their constituents. It’s long past time to pass bold legislation to expand abortion access, like other progressive states across the country have done.”
Rabbi Adena Blum, Congregation Beth Chaim:
“Judaism has a long-standing tradition of prioritizing health care for all. As a rabbi, it is my job to counsel community members through difficult decisions around reproductive health; and as Jews, we believe that the government has an obligation to ensure that all people can access quality, affordable health care. Gathered today in our state’s capital, we join in the call to our elected officials to ensure that all who live in our state can access the health care they need.”
Jasmine Winters, Thrive NJ & Cherry Hill Women's Center
“We know that abortion rights do not always equal abortion access. Each day I speak with people across New Jersey who face serious obstacles to accessing care. We will not stop fighting until every single person in New Jersey - and all 50 states - can access abortion.”
Alejandra Sorto, ACLU-NJ
“It is not a coincidence, but by design, that the same people attacking access to abortion are the people attacking the right to vote, LGBTQ communities, and immigrant communities - and we won’t let them. This moment calls on every single one of us to ensure that abortion is not only protected, but accessible across the country.”
Phoebe Pollinger, NCJW Essex
“Equity is being able to access care regardless of zip code. Equity is being able to access care regardless of income. Equity is being able to access care regardless of immigration status. Equity is being able to access care regardless of insurance status. Equity is being able to access care regardless of what god or no god you believe in.”
Anne Marie Venezia, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan NJ
“Those of us in the queer community need access to reproductive health care, including abortion. Both reproductive health care and gender-affirming health care are essential services that support a person’s autonomy and equity. Queer rights are reproductive rights, and vice versa, and we have to stand united fighting for both.”
Charles Loflin, UU Faith Action NJ
“As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I affirm that affordable access to all forms of reproductive health care, including abortion, is a moral and social good that enables equality and the well being of all people. I am here today because the state of New Jersey has more work to do.”
Jesse Burns, League of Women Voters of New Jersey
“New Jersey has made great strides in protecting our right to abortion, but every time we hear that our policies are ‘good enough,’ ask: who they are good enough for? New Jersey can be a state where no one is left behind. We can remove barriers to abortion that can make it truly equitable and accessible. The fight for reproductive justice is not done - we demand better than good enough.”
Merrill Mezzacappa, NOW NJ - Morris County Chapter
“As activists, we all have a role to play. We need to keep the dialogue going, stay informed, and continue our work to destigmatize abortion.”
Tatiana Castrillon, PPAFNJ (remarks in Spanish)
“Estamos reunidos hoy durante el Mes de la Herencia Latinx. Durante este momento devastador en la historia de nuestra nación, cuando más de la mitad de nuestros estados tienen o están listos para prohibir el aborto, la valiente lucha para legalizar el aborto en América Latina sirve como una luz que guía la escala del cambio que podemos exigir en este lucha. Podemos aprender de este clamor de personas que defienden sus libertades, sus familias y sus comunidades. Debemos seguir el camino que la comunidad Latinx ha iniciado y centrar las voces de quienes enfrentan disparidades desproporcionadas en el acceso a la atención.”
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey (PPAFNJ) is a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) non-profit social welfare organization, and the advocacy arm of the Planned Parenthood Affiliates in New Jersey. We advocate for access to essential health care through education, activism, voter engagement, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. For more information, visit our website at: www.ppactionnj.org.