TRENTON – State lawmakers are moving quickly to protect travelers to New Jersey and abortion providers from any actions that may be taken against them by states where the procedure is made illegal, following last week’s Supreme Court decision.

The Legislature isn’t acting on everything Gov. Phil Murphy suggested last month, such as requiring private insurers to cover abortion without cost-sharing.

But legislative committees voted Monday to advance bills that would protect people seeking or providing abortions by preventing information about patients and procedures from being shared in interstate investigations and allowing someone sued for their role in an abortion to countersue.

“These bills will provide legal protection for all who seek or assist in providing reproductive care here in New Jersey,” said Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex. “Over half the nation are expected to criminalize or restrict access to abortion. Due to this, we know many will come to New Jersey to receive care.”

“We must move on the state level to protect our rights and our citizens because the Supreme Court of the United States has said that the Constitution does not,” Gill said.

Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, said the bills are part of an effort to make New Jersey “an abortion sanctuary state.” It already ranks first among states in the rate of abortions performed, totaling 48,830 in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

As a rate, that amounts to 29.2 for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, which is more than double the national rate of 14.4.

“These bills will make New Jersey a state where even more babies’ lives will be ended and more women’s lives will be put at risk,” Tasy said.

Tasy said last week’s ruling leaves abortion laws to each state to decide for themselves.

“We should not interfere in the actions of other states but solve the problems, the many problems we already have in our own state,” Tasy said.

Roxanne Sutocky, director of community engagement for the Women’s Center, said the organization in talking about whether it needs to relocate any of the five centers it operates in four states. That includes one in Cherry Hill.

“We do not feel safe right now in New Jersey without these protections. Hostile anti-abortion states are moving quickly on these matters,” Sutocky said. “We know that the overturning of Roe is not the end. We know that the criminalization of abortion is to continue.”

The bills include a provision preventing anyone from being extradited from New Jersey to another state in connection with an abortion investigation.

Sen Jon Bramnick, R-Union, who is pro-choice, questioned if that bill is designed in response to a particular case or more hypothetical. Other states have laws on the books allowing civil actions to be filed in connection with an out-of-state abortion, though there aren’t laws at this time allowing for criminal prosecution.

Get our free mobile app

“If that becomes the law of this country that you violate a Texas law while you’re in New Jersey and Texas can prosecute it, we got bigger problems than I ever expected in the United States of America,” Bramnick said.

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

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

15 sensational places to visit in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park

From amusement rides to all the boardwalk food and lots of water fun, Seaside Heights and neighboring Seaside Park have endured as a family friendly spot for all ages.

Along the way, the Seaside Heights Boardwalk and Casino Pier have been struck with tragic disasters - such as fire, Superstorm Sandy and another fire. Both have proven their resiliency through rebuilding and expansion.

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions: