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State Laws

New Jersey


Political Information

Executive (Governor)

Anti-choice

Senate

Pro-choice

House

Pro-choice

Abortion-Care Policies

Abortion Providers

Abortion Providers: Restrictions

New Jersey imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

New Jersey places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which require doctors to obtain medically unnecessary additional licenses, needlessly convert their practices to mini-hospitals at great expense, or provide abortion care only in hospitals, an impossibility in many parts of the country.

New Jersey requires that abortion services after the 14th week be provided only in a "licensed hospital" or a "licensed ambulatory care facility," and specifies that post-14-week procedures other than dilation and evacuation must be provided only in a licensed hospital. N.J. Admin. Code tit. 13, § 35-4.2 (d) – (e) (Enacted 1978; Renumbered 1984; Last Amended 1986).

Abortion providers who offer services after the 18th week must have admitting and surgical privileges at a hospital within 20 minutes’ driving time of the abortion facility.  Nothing requires a hospital to grant such privileges, nor is an exception made for rural areas.  N.J. Admin. Code tit. 13, § 35-4.2 (f).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

New Jersey prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing surgical abortion services.

Only a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery in the state may provide abortion care. N.J. Admin. Code tit. 13, § 35-4.2(b) (Enacted 1978; Renumbered 1986; Last Amended 1986).

Certain procedures require the doctor to be a board-certified or eligible OB/GYN.  N.J. Admin. Code tit. 13 § 35-4.1, 4.2(Enacted 1978; Renumbered 1986; Last Amended 1986).


Abortion Rights

Protections: State Consitutional Protection

The New Jersey Constitution protects the right to choose as a fundamental right and to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution.  The New Jersey Supreme Court struck down under the state constitution a law requiring either notice to one parent or a judicial waiver before a minor could obtain abortion care.  Planned Parenthood of Cent. N.J. v. Farmer, 762 A.2d 620 (N.J. 2000).  A similar restriction has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the U.S. Constitution.  Ohio v. Akron Ctr. for Reprod. Health, 497 U.S. 502 (1990).

The New Jersey Supreme Court held that a law providing state medical assistance for abortion solely in cases of life endangerment was invalid under the state constitution because the state must also provide funds for those abortion services medically necessary to preserve the health of the woman.  Right to Choose v. Byrne, 450 A.2d 925 (N.J. 1982).  A similar restriction has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the U.S. Constitution.  Williams v. Zbaraz, 448 U.S. 358 (1980).


Abortion Bans Throughout Pregnancy: Procedure Ban

New Jersey has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks.  N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A:65A-5 to 2A:65A-7 (Enacted 1997).

A court held that New Jersey’s ban is unconstitutional because it is impermissibly vague and constitutes an undue burden on a woman’ right to choose.  The court has issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the law’s enforcement.  Planned Parenthood of Cent. N.J. v. Farmer, 220 F.3d 127 (3d Cir. 2000).  The U.S. Supreme Court previously held that a similar ban, which had no exception to protect a woman’s health and was written so broadly as to ban more than one procedure, placed an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose.  Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).

New Jersey’s unconstitutional and unenforceable law subjects any physician or licensed health-care professional authorized to provide abortion care, who knowingly provides any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition, to immediate revocation of his or her professional license and a fine of $25,000, unless necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.  Any licensed ambulatory care facility in which an illegal termination is provided is subject to immediate license revocation.  N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A:65A-5 to 2A:65A-7 (Enacted 1997).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman’s health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.


Biased Counseling

No state measure.

Mandatory Delays

No state measure.

Insurance Coverage & Abortion

Supports Insurance Coverage of Contraception

New Jersey law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception.

What is required?  If a health-insurance plan provides coverage for prescription medication, it must provide coverage for Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription contraception.

To which insurance plans does the law apply?  Individual, group and certain small employer health-insurance policies, health, hospital, or medical service contracts, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and prepaid prescription service organizations that provide coverage for prescription medication.

Does the law contain a refusal clause, allowing certain employers and/or insurers to refuse to provide or pay for contraceptive coverage?  Yes.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Religious employers for whom contraception is contrary to their bona fide religious beliefs and practices.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception, such as to preserve the life or health of an enrollee.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  No.  The law narrowly defines the term "religious employer" as a tax-exempt church or association of churches or an elementary or secondary school controlled, operated, or principally supported by a church or an association of churches.  This narrow definition is appropriately limited in scope, applying to religious entities but not broad-based entities that operate in the public sphere.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide written notice to prospective enrollees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? Yes.  A refusal clause may not be used to exclude overage for prescription medication prescribed for reasons other than contraception.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause?  No.

N.J. Stat. Ann. C.17:48-6ee, C.17:48A-7bb, C.17:48E-35.29, C.17B:27-46.1ee, C.17B:26-2.1y, C.26:2J-4.30, C.17B:27A-19.15, C.17:48F-13.2, C.52:14-17.29j, 17B:27A-7.12 (Enacted 2006).


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

New Jersey law requires health-insurance plans to cover dispensing of a 6-month supply of prescription contraceptives.

N.J. Stat. Ann. C.17:48-6ee, C.17:48A-7bb, C.17:48E-35.29, C.17B:27-46.1ee, C.17B:26-2.1y, C.26:2J-4.30, C.17B:27A-7.12, C.17B:27A-19.15, C.17:48F-13.2, C.52:14-17.29, (Enacted 2017).


Low-Income Women & Abortion

Restricts Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion

New Jersey allows women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care to obtain public funds for medically necessary abortion services.  To determine whether an abortion is medically necessary, a physician may consider:  (1) whether it is necessary to preserve the life of the woman; (2) whether the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest; (3) physical, emotional, and psychological factors; (4) family reasons; and (5) age.  N.J. Admin. Code tit. 10, § 54-5.43.  (Enacted 2001; Last Amended 2012). See Div. of Med. Assistance & Health Servs., N.J. Dep’t of Children and Families Policy Manual, at http://www.nj.gov/dcf/policy_manuals/CPP-V-A-1-800.pdf.

An unconstitutional and unenforceable statute prohibits public funding for abortion unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman’s life.  N.J. Stat. Ann. § 30:4D-6.1 (Enacted 1975).

A court held that this law violates the New Jersey constitution and issued an injunction prohibiting its enforcement to the extent that it prohibits the funding of medically necessary abortion care.  Right to Choose v. Byrne, 450 A.2d 925 (N.J. 1982).


Young Women & Abortion

Parental Notice

New Jersey restricts young women’s access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  No.  A state court held that this law is unconstitutional and unenforceable because it violates the equal-protection provision of the New Jersey Constitution by burdening, without adequate justification, a woman’s right to choose.  Planned Parenthood of Cent. N.J. v. Farmer, 762 A.2d 620 (N.J. 2000).

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18 who is not married, and is not serving in active duty in the military services, or who has been found to be incompetent by a court order.

What is required – parental consent or parental notice?  Notice.

Who must be notified?  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead?  No.

What is the process for providing notification? A young woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 48 hours after written notice has been delivered personally by the attending physician or by certified mail to one parent, unless the parent entitled to notice provides a written, notarized statement that notice was received.  If notice is made by certified mail, the 48-hour period begins to run at noon on the next day on which regular mail delivery takes place.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion by providing to a court clear and convincing evidence that a pattern of sexual abuse by a parent exists.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion by providing to a court clear and convincing evidence that a pattern of physical or emotional abuse by a parent exists.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman’s health is threatened?  Yes, but only if the attending physician certifies in writing that a medical emergency exists, defined as a medical condition that necessitates an immediate termination to preserve the woman’s life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function."

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  She must secure a court order finding by clear and convincing evidence that she is sufficiently mature to decide whether to have an abortion, that there is a pattern of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by a parent, or that parental notice is not in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  At the time the young woman initially requests abortion services, the physician responsible for providing parental notice or the physician’s designee shall provide the young woman with a state-prepared fact sheet explaining the judicial-bypass procedure.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  A court held that this law is unconstitutional under the state constitution.  Planned Parenthood of Cent. N.J. v. Farmer, 762 A.2d 620 (N.J. 2000).

Other information about the law:  None.

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 9:17A-1.1 to -1.12 (Enacted 1999).


Family-Planning Policies

Insurance Coverage & Contraception

No state measure.

Low-Income Women & Contraception

No state measure.

Emergency Contraception

EC in the ER

New Jersey law ensures that sexual-assault survivors receive access to emergency contraception (EC) in hospital emergency rooms.  As part of the minimum standards for the examination and treatment of a sexual-assault survivor, a physician or other health-care provider must provide a woman with medically and factually accurate written and oral information about EC, offer her EC, and provide EC to her upon request. N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 26:2H-12.6b to 26:2H-12.6g (Enacted 2005); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 52:4B-44 (Enacted 1986; Last Amended 2005).


Other Important Issues

Clinic Protections

No state measure.

Fake Health Centers

No state measure.

Refusals & Guarantees

Refusals of Medical Care

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

New Jersey allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Individuals, hospitals, or health care facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow? Allows individuals, hospitals, and health-care facilities to refuse to provide abortion care. The refusal to provide or assist in abortion services may not constitute grounds for civil or criminal liability, disciplinary action, or discriminatory treatment.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services? No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause? No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law? A court held these provisions unconstitutional as applied to non-sectarian, nonprofit hospitals, which do not have the right to refuse to permit their facilities to be used for first-trimester abortion services. Doe v. Bridgeton Hosp. Ass’n, 366 A.2d 641 (N.J. 1976), cert. denied, 433 U.S. 914 (1977).

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A: 65A-1 to -4 (Enacted 1974).

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although New Jersey law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception, certain employers may require that their plans exclude coverage for contraception.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Religious employers for whom contraceptive methods are contrary to their bona fide religious beliefs and practices.

What does the refusal clause allow? A religious employer may require issuers of its health insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women? Yes.  The law defines the term "religious employer" as a tax-exempt church or association of churches or an elementary or secondary school controlled, operated, or principally supported by a church or an association of churches.  

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide written notice to prospective enrollees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? Yes.  A refusal clause may not be used to exclude overage for prescription medication prescribed for reasons other than contraception, or to preserve the life or health of a subscriber.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause? No.

N.J. Stat. Ann. 17:48-6ee, 17:48A-7bb, 17:48E-35.29, 17B:27-46.1ee, 17B:26-2.1y, 26:2J-4.30, 17B:27A-19.15, 17:48F-13.2, 52:14-17.29j, 17B:27A-7.12 (Enacted 2006).

STERILIZATION REFUSAL CLAUSE

New Jersey allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to participate in sterilizing procedures.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Individuals, hospitals, or health-care facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow? Allows individuals, hospitals, and health-care facilities to refuse to participate in sterilization services. The refusal to perform, assist, or provide abortion services may not constitute grounds for civil or criminal liability, disciplinary action, or discriminatory treatment.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected? No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised? No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services? No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause? No.

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 2A: 65A-1 to -4 (Enacted 1974).


Guarantees Access to Prescriptions

New Jersey law guarantees that women’s birth-control prescriptions will be filled.  Upon receipt of a valid and lawful prescription for a medication or device, a pharmacy must dispense it without delay.  If the pharmacy does not have it in stock, the pharmacy must obtain it under its standard expedited ordering procedures.  In the alternative, a patient may choose to have the prescription transferred to a different pharmacy that is reasonably accessible to the patient or have the prescription returned to her.

Any person who believes that a violation of this provision has occurred may report such violation to the New Jersey State Board of Pharmacy.

N.J. Stat. Ann. § 45:14-67.1 (Enacted 2007).


Counseling & Referral Bans

No state measure.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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