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New Jersey officials to unveil legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade into state law

New Jersey officials to unveil legislation that would codify Roe v. Wade into state law
© Greg Nash

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on Friday will unveil legislation aimed at codifying the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion into state law. 

Murphy told NPR in an interview Thursday that the decision to put the legislation together with other state officials and reproductive rights advocates was influenced by President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE’s Supreme Court nomination of conservative Judge Amy Coney BarrettAmy Coney BarrettJudge Judy on expanding Supreme Court: 'It's a dumb idea' Court watchers buzz about Breyer's possible retirement Five hot-button issues Biden didn't mention in his address to Congress MORE, who many anti-abortion GOP members hope will help bring an overturn of Roe v. Wade. 

"I hope to God that doesn't happen, but we don't want to take a chance that it could happen," Murphy told NPR.

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In addition to securing the right to abortion under New Jersey state law, a spokesman for Murphy told NPR that the proposed legislation will “remove some restrictions on abortion that advocates say are medically unnecessary; require most private health insurers to cover abortion; and allow a wider range of health care providers, including physician assistants, certified midwives and other advanced-practice nurses, to administer abortions.”

Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey, explained that the bill's aim is to ensure access to abortion for New Jersey residents, as well as patients traveling from other states, should the Supreme Court decide to reverse Roe v. Wade. 

"We do know that there could be a future where New Jersey is the state where folks may travel to [for abortions]," she said to NPR. "We just want to make sure that we're protecting folks in New Jersey and ... standing up and being a leader as other states are racing to put abortion out of reach for so many folks."

If the legislation is passed, New Jersey would follow several states, including Illinois and New York, that have passed laws with a goal of protecting abortion rights. 

News reports on Thursday showed that Barrett added her name to a list supporting a statement in a 2006 newspaper insert opposing “abortion on demand” and supporting the "right to life." 

The statement, which appeared in the South Bend Tribune, came from a group called the Saint Joseph County Right to Life and stated, “We the following citizens of Michiana oppose abortion on demand and support the right to life from fertilization to a natural death."

Trump had suggested during an interview on “Fox & Friends Weekend” on Sunday that “it's certainly possible," that Barrett could tip the Court against the Roe v. Wade decision should she be confirmed.