NJ bishops express 'outrage' over plan to mandate insurance coverage for abortion
New Jersey's Catholic bishops on Thursday expressed their disappointment with a proposal byGovernor Phil Murphy to expand abortion access in the state, which already recognizes abortion as a constitutional right.
"The Catholic Bishops of New Jersey join to express our disappointment and outrage over Governor Murphy's announcement regarding proposed legislation to expand access to abortion in New Jersey, an act that by its very nature terminates human life," the bishops' May 12 statement says.
"This proposed legislation is a direct attack on the dignity and sanctity of life and is further evidence that we have failed as a society when a mother feels her only option is to end the life of her child," the statement says.
The proposed legislation, announced in a May 11 press conference by Murphy, a Democrat, would mandate that health insurance plans fully cover abortion; codify regulations allowing non-physicians to perform abortions; and dedicating more taxpayer funds to abortion.
The bill would also protect "medical providers and patients who provide or receive abortion care in New Jersey from legal actions initiated by states which have outlawed abortion," Murphy said.
Murphy said New Jersey would not be "cooperating with any out of state investigation into our healthcare providers...that seek to punish anyone: patient, provider, counselor, friend, Uber driver, you name it, for providing abortion care."
CNA contacted Murphy's office for clarification on which states and laws he is referring to, but a spokesperson was not immediately available for comment by time of publication.
"Ironically," the bishops' letter says, "New Jersey already has some of the most permissive abortion laws in the United States and continues to provide abortion providers tens of millions of dollars in public funds to perform these services."
The letter, signed by the heads of the state's five Latin rite dioceses and its two Eastern Catholic eparchies, continues: "New Jersey continues to rank among the top three states in annual abortion procedures nationwide. For these reasons it is incomprehensible to force health insurance providers in New Jersey to cover 100 percent of the cost to expand access to these abhorrent services."
The bishops wrote that the "Catholic Church is committed to opposing this legislation, but more importantly we stand ready to broaden and increase awareness about the abundant resources and programs we offer from pregnancy and foster care centers to clothing, food, housing services, adoption agencies, family resource centers, and national programs."
The bishops highlighted Walking with Moms in Need, an initiative of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities which supports pregnant women and pregnancy resource centers through parish life.
"We promise to assist and stand by every mother and family facing a difficult and unplanned pregnancy," they concluded.