NEWARK – State and federal prosecutors say they’ll collaborate to ensure people have access to reproductive health care in New Jersey and abortion clinics and workers are secure as changes ripple across the country from the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The state’s acting attorney general, Matthew Platkin, said the Division of Criminal Justice has also sent guidance to the 21 county prosecutors about charges they may bring against people who interfere with access to an abortion provider.

“Our county prosecutors and law enforcement officers will work together to hold responsible those who would seek to intimidate, harass, terrorize or harm patients and providers,” Platkin said.

Platkin said there has been an increase in protests near abortion clinics since the Supreme Court’s late June decision but that reproductive care remains safe to access.

Laurie Doran, director of the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said abortion-related extremists are not usually active in New Jersey and that the state has seen peaceful rallies. She said there have been online and verbal threats, mailings and propaganda.

“While there’s no current or credible threats in New Jersey at this time, it shouldn’t deter us from building our state’s resiliency and preparing for any possible scenario with all the resources that we have at our disposal,” Doran said.

The new state budget includes $5 million for security grants to abortion providers over the next 12 months.

U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger said federal prosecutors won’t hesitate to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, a 1994 law that says people can’t block access to reproductive health services through violence, threats or property damage.

“We will enforce the FACE Act to ensure unfettered access to all health care services, including abortion services, in our state,” Sellinger said.

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Platkin said more actions will be taken to protect reproductive rights in the coming weeks on a number of civil and criminal fronts.

Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com

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