New Jersey

Abortion Rights in NJ: If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned, Will Procedure Become Illegal?

The Supreme Court is on the verge of overturning Roe vs. Wade, according to a bombshell political report, but some states have already enshrined abortion rights into law, regardless of Roe

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A bombshell report from Politico suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be on the verge of striking down the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling and letting states criminalize abortion - but that doesn't necessary mean it'd be illegal everywhere.

Some states have already enacted laws specifically legalizing abortion regardless of Roe, and those laws may hold regardless of the ruling.

The unprecedented leak to Politico indicates that a draft opinion (written by New Jersey's Justice Samuel Alito) following oral arguments last December had the backing of five justices to completely overturn Roe vs Wade.

Assuming the draft is real, it still hasn't been formally issued and isn't the law of the land yet. The Supreme Court declined to comment to NBC News on the report, and NBC News has not obtained nor confirmed the draft. It is also possible that the justices' final vote and decision may change.

Abortion Laws

But the questions are already flying fast and furious about what happens next in various states with their abortion laws.

In New Jersey, abortion rights would theoretically be protected by the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, passed and signed into law in Jan. 2021.

One of the most liberal abortion laws in the nation, it put into state law what the state Supreme Court ruled many years ago: A woman has the right to an abortion at any time in her pregnancy.

New Jersey has one of the most liberal abortion rights law in the U.S. The latest bill to protect it was argued in the assembly and voted to pass on Monday. NBC New York's Brian Thompson reports.

In addition to codifying a woman's right to an abortion, it also included a clause allowing women to come in from out of state to get the procedure done/. That detail could become important if the reported draft by the U.S. Supreme Court comes to fruition — as other states could criminalize abortion outright.

The law also points toward an eventual requirement that insurance pay for the procedure.

After the Politico report, Gov. Phil Murphy said on Twitter that it was "truly a dark day in America," but also said that it would not impact or change the state's law in any way.

According to the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute, 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws that explicitly protect the right to abortion to varying degrees.

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