The Catholic bishops of New Jersey have expressed their dismay over the passage of sweeping state legislation proclaiming a right to abortion all the way up to birth.
In their statement this week, the bishops express their “profound disappointment and deep concern about the passage of S49/A6260 — the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codifies into state law an individual’s right to an abortion, including late-term abortions.”
This law departs from the fundamental understanding that “all life is sacred from conception to natural death,” the bishops assert. “Even more distressing is that the legal and ethical calculus that underlies this new legislation absolutely and forthrightly extinguishes the human and moral identity of the unborn child.”
“Perhaps the legislators who rushed through this Act in the waning moments of their terms did not want citizens to understand fully its inhuman and lethal consequences,” the bishops add.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) praised the passage of the bill and signed it into law on Thursday.
“A bill to codify a woman’s right to choose into state law and expand access to reproductive health care for all just passed both houses of the Legislature,” Murphy tweeted last Monday. “With Roe v. Wade under attack, the need for this bill is more urgent than ever.”
In their statement, the bishops argue that we have “failed as a society when a response to any pregnancy is fear rather than joy,” urging people of good will to “actively participate in breaking down the economic, employment, social, racial, and emotional barriers that lead mothers into thinking that abortion is a better option than life.”
In an earlier declaration, the New Jersey bishops had registered their “strongest opposition” to the legislation, insisting it would not only codify the right to an abortion, but also “potentially violate the religious freedom of healthcare workers and hospitals; and require private businesses to expand group health coverage to include abortion services.”