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New Jersey Democrats push package of new abortion rights bills. Republicans say they're unnecessary.

New Jersey Democrats push package of new abortion rights bills
New Jersey Democrats push package of new abortion rights bills 02:00

TRENTON, N.J. -- Two years after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, New Jersey Democrats are introducing a package of legislation they say will further protect abortion rights in the state. 

Many Republicans say the bills are unnecessary because New Jersey already has some of the strongest abortion rights laws in the U.S. 

New Jersey Democrats say bill would make abortions free

State Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, a Democrat, said her legislation combines six bills allowing residents of the Garden State to make their own decisions when it comes to their bodies. 

One bill being fast-tracked would make abortions in the state free by eliminating co-pays. 

"We have to look at the state of New Jersey under the worst-case scenarios. What if the administration changes to someone who is dramatically far thinking from what we're thinking today?" said Ruiz. 

Last-minute amendments to the insurance bill, which could be voted on this week, also makes laboratory and ultrasound services during pregnancy and the postpartum period free. 

Republicans say New Jersey's abortion laws are strong enough

New Jersey Republicans say the state already has strong protections, since the state supreme court codified those rights in 2022. 

"I happen to be pro-choice, but New Jersey has one of the most liberal abortion laws not only in the U.S., but in the world," said State Sen. Holly Schepisi, a Republican from Bergen County. "They're doing it to deflect from the fact that New Jersey is broke. As we're doing this, we're cutting funding for mental health services, ALS services, charity care." 

The bills' supporters say they're necessary. 

"This bill package offers protections for providers in the state, not only for abortion care, but gender-affirming care and assisted reproductive technology," said Jamie Zug, with Garden State Equality. 

In the future, Democratic lawmakers say they would like a constitutional amendment on the ballot to protect reproductive rights. 

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