New Jersey provides no meaningful protection for women considering abortion or for unborn victims of violence. Further, it directly supports the destruction of nascent human life by permitting and funding destructive embryo research. In 2013, the state considered few measures designed to protect life; however, Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have restored public funding for family planning services, including those provided by Planned Parenthood.
- The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that the state constitution provides a broader right to abortion than that contained in the U.S. Constitution. Pursuant to this ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court has struck down the state’s parental notification requirement and restrictions on the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions.
- New Jersey does not have an informed consent law or an enforceable parental involvement law for abortion.
- New Jersey requires that abortions after the first trimester be performed in licensed ambulatory care facilities or hospitals.
- Only physicians licensed to practice medicine and surgery in New Jersey may perform abortions.
- New Jersey provides court-ordered coverage for all “medically necessary” abortions for women eligible for public assistance. This requirement essentially equates to funding abortion-on-demand in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s broad definition of “health” in the context of abortion.
- Under the State Health Benefits plan, any contracts entered into by the State Health Benefits Commission must include coverage of abortion.
Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:
- New Jersey law does not recognize an unborn child as a potential victim of homicide or assault.
- The state allows a wrongful death (civil) action only when an unborn child is born alive following a negligent or criminal act and dies thereafter.
- New Jersey does not require infants who survive an abortion to be given appropriate, potentially life-saving medical care.
- New Jersey has a “Baby Moses” law, establishing a safe haven for mothers to legally leave their infants at designated places and ensuring the infants receive appropriate care and protection.
- New Jersey prohibits cloning-to-produce-children, but not cloning-for-biomedical-research – thus making it a “clone-and-kill” state.
- The state allows and funds destructive embryo research and does not prohibit fetal experimentation.
- General hospitals are to advise every pregnant patient of the option to donate umbilical cord blood or placental tissue. Healthcare professionals are to provide pregnant patients with state-prepared materials on umbilical cord blood donation and storage “as early as practicable,” and preferably in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- State funding earmarked for “stem cell research” may also be available for adult stem-cell research.
- While the state does not maintain any meaningful regulation of assisted reproductive technologies, state law does require that informed consent materials include information on embryo donation.
End of Life Laws:
- In New Jersey, assisting a suicide is a felony.
- The state has a “bill of rights” for patients/residents of healthcare facilities, including the right for competent patients/residents to “refuse treatment.”
Healthcare Freedom of Conscious Laws:
Participation in Abortion and Contraception:
- A person is not required to perform or assist in the performance of an abortion.
- A hospital or healthcare facility is not required to provide abortions. The New Jersey Supreme Court has determined that the law is unconstitutional as applied to nonsectarian or nonprofit hospitals.
- New Jersey requires individual, group, and small-employer health insurance policies, medical or hospital service agreements, health maintenance organizations, and prepaid prescription service organizations to provide coverage for contraceptives if they also provide coverage for other prescription drugs. The provision includes a conscience exemption so narrow it excludes the ability of most employers and insurers with moral or religious objections from exercising it.
Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life:
- New Jersey currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in human cloning, destructive embryo research, and other forms of medical research, which violate a provider’s moral or religious belief.
What Happened in 2013:
- Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation that would have restored public funding for family planning services including those provided to Planned Parenthood.
- New Jersey considered a measure to prohibit wrongful birth and/or wrongful life lawsuits, as well as a measure related to the reporting and/or treatment of suspected prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol.
- New Jersey considered a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide, as well as measures related to advance planning documents, pain management, and palliative care.
Recommendations for New Jersey
Women’s Protection Project Priorities:
- Women’s Health Defense Act (5-month abortion limitation)
- Women’s Right to Know Act with reflection period
- Abortion Patients’ Enhanced Safety Act
- Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act
- Parental Notification for Abortion Act
- Components of the Child Protection Act related to evidence retention and remedies for third-party interference with parental rights
- State Constitutional Amendment (providing that there is no state constitutional right to abortion)
- Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act
- Defunding the Abortion Industry and Advancing Women’s Health Act
- Women’s Ultrasound Right to Know Act
- Coercive Abuse Against Mothers Prevention Act
- Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
- Joint Resolution Commending Pregnancy Resource Centers
Legal Recognition and Protection for the Unborn:
- Crimes Against the Unborn Child Act
- Unborn Wrongful Death Act
- Born-Alive Infant Protection Act
- Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act
- Human Cloning Prohibition Act
- Destructive Embryo Research Act
- Prohibition on Public Funding of Human Cloning and Destructive Embryo Research Act
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:
- Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act