NJ Constitution protects abortion rights

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We will await the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (argued on December 1) to see if the predictions about the disappearance of Roe vs. Wade are correct. But it is clearly not premature to wonder what the practical effect would be in New Jersey even if the Dobbs invalid decision Roe deer in its entirety. We think the answer is: very little, if at all.

Our New Jersey Supreme Court has, on at least two occasions, explicitly based aspects of the right to terminate a pregnancy on the Constitution of the State of New Jersey, independent of the Federal Constitution. In Right to choose c. Byrne, 91 NJ 287 (1982), our highest court overturned, under the right to privacy emanating from NJ Const. art. I, ¶1, a regulation that limited Medicaid funding for abortions to those necessary to preserve a woman’s life because it also did not provide Medicaid funding to protect the health of the mother. And in Planned Parenthood v. Farmer, 165 NJ 609 (2000), our court overturned a parental notification provision, again finding under NJ Const. art. I, ¶1, that the classification created by the legislature encumbered the fundamental right of a young woman to control her body and her destiny, without adequate justification.


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