The Reproductive Freedom Act would guarantee a right to abortion under state law and require most private insurers to cover abortion and birth control with no out-of-pocket expenses. It would remove some restrictions on abortion, while allowing physician assistants, certified midwives, and other nurses to administer legal abortions.
Cardinal Tobin wrote that he Church "teaches that all human life is sacred from conception to natural death. That is why we oppose all threats to human life and dignity evident in contemporary society, including abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and capital punishment."
"We join with Pope Francis in noting that the right to life of the unborn 'is the most fundamental right. This is not first a religious issue; it is a human rights issue.'"
The Church "cannot support provisions of the proposed Reproductive Freedom Act that threaten the life of unborn children or remove existing laws and regulations that are intended to protect the life and health of mothers," the cardinal stated.
"For instance, if passed as written, clauses in sections 2 and 3 of the Reproductive Freedom Act would codify a proposal by the State Board of Medical Examiners to amend certain rules for surgeries and procedures. We believe this would, in certain situations, allow non-physicians such as physician assistants and certified midwives to perform abortions in non-hospital settings any time throughout the nine months of pregnancy."
He added that "we cannot support any legislation that would eliminate New Jersey's longstanding legal tradition that protects the freedom of conscience of healthcare workers who do not want to perform or assist with abortions because doing so would violate their most fundamental beliefs as individuals and as healthcare providers. Based on my review, the absence of any language in the Act to protect this clause means that one could challenge, in court, a medical professional's decision not to perform an abortion for moral, religious, or ethical reasons."