New Jersey Women, Allies Take to the Streets After Roe v. Wade Decision Leaks

SOMERVILLE – On the day after Politico leaked a decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike

The Somerset County Courthouse.
The Somerset County Courthouse.

down the landmark Roe v. Wade, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, New Jersey women and allies took to the streets to protest.

The show of strength around the state occurred this evening following email blasts by Move and Act New Jersey, urging concerned citizens to go to their local, county and state houses of government for demonstrations against the decision.

The mood was one of shock, rage and organizational commitment.

“Even though we knew this could happen with a set of Supreme Court justices hostile to abortion as a

Dr. Kantor

procedure, it’s difficult to see ourselves in a position where we may be overturning 50 years of what those justices said was settled law,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, chair and professor of the Rutgers University Department of Urban-Global Public Health.

“It’s particularly concerning for health and equity, as it will create an enormous equity problem geographically,” Kantor added. “If the court releases this final decision, half of the state’s abortions will not be attainable. There are already serious challenges in this country.”

In Somerville, activists gathered at the Somerset County Courthouse with signs showing their disappointment and dismay.

Jean Bjugstad (pictured, above) was one of them.

“This is what happened as a consequence of the right wing conservative extremists that [Donald] Trump was able to put on the court,” Bjugstad said. “it is a reminder that elections matter. I don’t think a lot of people realize this is what happens when people don’t vote and don’t pay attention.”

Somerville stands at the heart of the battleground 7th Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-7) anticipates a general election rematch with former state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R).

Many insiders to this point give Kean an edge over the Democratic incumbent in the battleground 7th District. The Republican challenger lost by 5,000 votes in 2020, and redistricting put the Democratic in a more Republican district.

But – “This could have a positive effect on Congressman Malinowski’s reelection,” Bjugstad said. “We need to elect Democrats to the Senate and House to codify our rights to bodily autonomy. I know Representative Malinowski is in a tight race. This could be positive for him. I plan to work for him to make phone calls and motivate voters. This is going to motivate women and others who care about our constitutional rights.”

Local Democratic Party activist Margaret Weinberger added:

“We are really blessed to have Tom Malinowski as our congressman. This is going to be fodder to get people out to vote. Every vote counts. If you are not part of the movement to get people elected, it’s going to be even more disappointing. To think about states making abortion illegal, it’s heartbreaking to think we would go back to a time when women’s bodies were mutilated by people taking advantage of them. It’s a heartbreaking choice. People don’t want to have abortion, but we are blessed to have the support we have in District 7.”

CD7, Kean and Malinowski.

Kean and Malinowski both reacted to the news.

The congressman agrees with Governor Phil Murphy, who earlier today, according to The New Jersey Monitor, railed against “this court stacked with Trump appointees” in condemning the “enraging” leaked draft of an opinion that signals the court may repeal the 1973 landmark decision that guaranteed abortion rights as constitutionally protected.

From The Monitor:

“Murphy — speaking at a news conference in Lambertville on an environmental initiative — assured citizens New Jersey’s new Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act protects their abortion rights here. Murphy signed that act into law in January, after various versions of it languished for years in the Legislature.”

Malinowski said he wants the country to do what Murphy did in New Jersey.

“If true, the SCOTUS ruling would devastate half a century of  precedent and progress,” said the congressman. “Congress has the ability to codify Roe v. Wade into law. We cannot wait.”

For his part, Kean expressed concern about the leak – and what he sees as the incumbent democrat’s extremist pro-choice views.

“We’re talking about a leaked working document from February and the court will make their final ruling in June,” Kean said. “Ultimately, I stand with the vast majority of New Jerseyans against Tom Malinowski’s radical position of abortion on demand right up until the moment of birth.”

In an interview with InsiderNJ, Kantor said New Jerseyans “are very fortunate.”

“We have been strengthening reproductive health protections,” she said, specifically referring to the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act. “It’s a reminder that we should never be complacent. Our protection depends on the legislature and the governor. We should be paying attention everywhere.

“New Jersey recently codified those protections that exist right now, that exist in New Jersey law,” she noted.

Lawmakers can do more here to protect vulnerable pregnant women by looking into strengthening access to additional insurance.

But overall, “This is state that right now strongly identifies with caring about people’s right to healthcare,” Kantor said. “Healthcare is a really important frame [for this subject].  We are allowing politicians to decide this critical issue of health. We don’t let them decide things like heart bypass surgery. This is a reminder that we need to keep a watch on this. We do have a governor and state legislature – and we need to pay attention.”

New Jersey is also home to U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4), one of just two Republican congressmen, the


dean of the delegation, and a career-long pro-life lawmaker.

Today, Smith released the following statement:

“The leak of Justice Alito’s February draft opinion on Dobbs is an egregious abuse of process and trust. That said, the U.S. Supreme Court seems poised to take a powerful step towards empowering elected representatives to protect the weakest and most vulnerable. We are at the tipping point. A new national debate on abortion has begun and fresh scrutiny must be brought to bear on how the lives of unborn children are destroyed including by dismemberment with sharp knives, pulverization by powerful suction devices, or poisoning by any number of toxic chemicals.

“I join millions of Americans who are hopeful that government sanctioned violence against babies and the exploitation of women by abortion is nearing an end—although in a very real way, the struggle to defend children in the womb and offer tangible assistance to their mothers now enters a critically important new phase,” Smith added.

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One response to “New Jersey Women, Allies Take to the Streets After Roe v. Wade Decision Leaks”

  1. Roe v. Wade is now a dead-letter and a fraud. The SCIENCE has changed in the past 50 yrs. We now know when life begins. And, Gov. Murphy knows ALL about the SCIENCE since he told us during the pandemic to follow the SCIENCE!!!!

    Democrat-Socialists can no longer use Roe v. Wade as an excuse to vet federal judges or politicians. The question that should now be asked, is a woman’s reproductive rights include murder. Think about this: When a pregnant woman is murdered, why does law enforcement call it a “DOUBLE HOMICIDE”. Answer: Because TWO (2) LIVING HUMAN BEINGS were murdered!!!!!!

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