The passage of sweeping legislation in New Jersey codifying the right to late-term abortions prompted the state’s Catholic bishops to speak out in a statement released this week.
In their statement, the bishops expressed their "profound disappointment and deep concern about the passage of S49/A6260 — the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codifies into state law an individual's right to an abortion, including late-term abortions."
The legislation departs from the fundamental understanding that "all life is sacred from conception to natural death," the bishops said Wednesday. "Even more distressing is that the legal and ethical calculus that underlies this new legislation absolutely and forthrightly extinguishes the human and moral identity of the unborn child."
The bishops go on to suggest that the legislators who passed the act in the final hours of their tenure as lawmakers did not want people to fully understand "its inhuman and lethal consequences."
New Jersey's Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy praised the passage of the bill and signed it into law on Thursday.
"Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, New Jersey's position in supporting the right to reproductive choice will remain clear and unchanged," the governor tweeted yesterday.
U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., tweeted, "New Jersey has officially declared abortion a fundamental right! Thank you @GovMurphy [for] signing this bill into law, which will expand and protect reproductive freedom in the state at a time when Roe v. Wade is under attack."
On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court took up a direct challenge out of Mississippi to Roe v. Wade's assertion that the Constitution provides a right of access to abortion. The court is expected to issue its ruling by July, according to a report by NBC News.
The New Jersey bishops contend that we have "failed as a society when a response to any pregnancy is fear rather than joy," and urged people of good will to "actively participate in breaking down the economic, employment, social, racial and emotional barriers that lead mothers into thinking that abortion is a better option than life."
In an earlier declaration, the bishops insisted that the legislation could "potentially violate the religious freedom of healthcare workers and hospitals; and require private businesses to expand group health coverage to include abortion services."
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