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Senate Leadership Introduce New Legislation to Further Protect Reproductive Freedom and Ensure Health Equity in New Jersey

Trenton – New Jersey Senate Majority Leader, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senate President Nicholas P. Scutari introduced a new bill, S.3452, aimed at ensuring comprehensive insurance coverage for reproductive health care services, including abortion, for all individuals in the state. This legislation marks a significant step in protecting and enhancing reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.

This legislation recognizes the ongoing threats to abortion access and reproductive health care at the federal level and in other states. This bill expands on the protections of 2023 that required all insurers to cover abortion services, and now, this bill ensures that all individuals in New Jersey can further exercise their fundamental rights to choose to have an abortion, irrespective of where they live or ability to afford a co-pay.

Under the bill, Medicaid and all health insurance carriers, including State Health Benefits and School Employees’ Health Benefits, must provide coverage for pregnancy termination without co-pay. Additionally, the bill prohibits medical malpractice insurers from taking adverse actions, such as loss of coverage or rate increases, against providers who offer reproductive or gender-affirming health care services to patients, even if those services are illegal in the patient’s state of residence.

“This bill represents a monumental stride towards safeguarding reproductive freedom and health care rights in New Jersey,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex/Hudson). “Ensuring that all individuals can make personal health decisions without facing financial or regulatory obstacles is the cornerstone to protecting human rights. In the Senate, we stand firm in our commitment to reproductive autonomy and access to comprehensive health care for all New Jersey residents.”

“Protecting reproductive rights and ensuring health equity are fundamental principles that drive our legislative efforts in New Jersey,” said Senate President Scutari (D-Union/Somerset). “As co-prime sponsor of this bill, I am proud to stand alongside Senator Ruiz and my colleagues in advancing reproductive autonomy and access to essential health care services for all New Jersey residents.”

New Jersey has a history of providing robust protections for reproductive rights, surpassing federal standards in several landmark cases that have reinforced these rights under the New Jersey Constitution. This bill is the first in a series of bills aimed at further codifying and enshrining reproductive and bodily autonomy rights in New Jersey. It is part of the ongoing budget negotiations within the Legislature and was highlighted in Governor Murphy’s budget address, where he committed to further protecting reproductive rights.

The bill is scheduled for a committee hearing this month, with the goal of reaching the Governor’s desk for approval shortly thereafter.