Gov. Murphy proposes mandatory insurance coverage for abortions, state fund to pay for them
Gov. Phil Murphy is proposing mandatory insurance coverage for abortions and a state fund to pay for them.
“We know that without access, rights mean nothing,” Murphy said.
The governor said he was alarmed by a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that suggests a possible end to Roe v. Wade.
“My fears were significant, they’ve been exceeded,” Murphy said.
So the governor sprang into action with Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday to propose further state protections of reproductive rights and care.
“Abortion is health care, and health care decisions should be left up to the individuals. Your body belongs to you,” Murphy said.
A state law the governor signed in January already protects a person’s right to abortion in every corner of New Jersey. But the new measures would partially be designed to help people from other states where abortion could be declared illegal if Roe v. Wade is struck down.
“We will not be cooperating with any out-of-state investigation into health care providers that seek to punish anyone: patient, provider, counselor, friend, Uber driver, you name it,” Murphy said.
The new laws would include mandating that insurance companies pay for all abortions with no co-pay. It also includes an already controversial plan to establish a state fund that would pay for abortions for uninsured and underinsured people.
“If we're going to guarantee a right to an abortion, we need to guarantee access to an abortion,” the governor said.
Republicans who already opposed the earlier Reproductive Freedom of Choice Act balked at Murphy’s proposal. Republican Senate leader Steve Oroho said in a statement the governor "wants struggling New Jersey families to pay for abortions for everyone through even higher taxes and health care premiums."
It is also unclear if Democratic legislative leaders, particularly Senate President Nick Scutari, will support everything the governor wants to do.
“I suspect everyone in this room joins me: we have to act,” Murphy said.
The governor also wants the new legislation to allow nurses and midwives to perform abortions. That proposal was taken out of the final version of the Reproductive Freedom of Choice Act.