Devil of a time of democrats with the law on the freedom of reproduction


One of the ideological truisms of today’s polarized political world is that Democrats support abortion rights and Republicans do not.

But apparently not all the time.

New Jersey Democrats are struggling to try to pass what probably should be a slam-dunk – a bill to protect abortion rights in the face of questionable US Supreme Court action.

The threat is real. The court is due to hear arguments this week over a Mississippi law that severely restricts abortion rights. On the surface, this violates Roe v. Wade, this is precisely why abortion opponents are so excited. Their hope is that the court will back the law and essentially overturn Roe v. Wade.

This possibility prompted Democrats to draft what’s known as the Reproductive Freedom Act, which would protect abortion rights in New Jersey regardless of what the Supreme Court does.

The bill has many sponsors and co-sponsors, suggesting that its passage should be a mere formality.

This is not the case.

Despite the apparent support and strong backing from Gov. Phil Murphy, the bill languishes in the Legislature.

The first problem was the elections which have just ended.

Polls indicate statewide support for abortion rights, but party leaders appeared to be afraid to push the bill forward in the months leading up to election day.

It is true that Republican Jack Ciattarelli attacked the bill during his campaign as proof that Democrats were going too far to the left. But at the same time, the right to abortion is a staple of Democratic Party ideology, and campaign rhetoric is indeed… campaign rhetoric. Why the apprehension?

Now that the election is over and when it comes to the speedy passage of the bill, things can be even darker.

After a strong Republican performance, Democrats may want to be cautious. Or in other words, stay away from anything that might be controversial. At least that’s conventional wisdom.

Okay, but you must be wondering why supporting basic abortion rights in a state where a majority supporting basic abortion rights is controversial?

Plus, how massive was the GOP?

The perception is that the Republicans won big on November 2, but what is the reality?

Murphy will be governor for the next four years and Democrats will still control both houses of the Legislature. Sure, they lost a few seats, but their margin before November 2 was so overwhelming that some losses were to be expected. And attention to Steve Sweeney’s defeat aside, in the end, Democrats only lost one Senate seat.

In frank political terms, Republicans control nothing. It’s reality.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time the Trenton Democrats have shied away from passing consequential legislation simply because it might upset some people. It dates back a few years, but is reminiscent of Democrats’ inability to embrace marriage equality and pot legalization despite the support of a majority of residents, and certainly a majority of party members.

All of this raises a simple question:

Why is it so difficult to pass a law that members of your own party want to see passed?

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