Recently, Planned Parenthood Newark organized a gathering called "Caffeinated Convo" at a Montclair local coffee shop. It was an informal conversation where we discussed an article published by the New York Times titled "How the 'Green Wave' movement did the unthinkable in Latin America."

It explained how the “Green Wave” has been making progress on reproductive health and rights in Latin America while we are going backward in the United States. We also discussed the Supreme Court hearing on Mississippi’s law that, if Supreme Court judges determine its constitutionality, would mean the end of access to abortion for millions of women nationally by next summer.

Therefore, we must guarantee the access to abortion services and reproductive health care to New Jersey women and girls. The Reproductive Freedom Act was kept into a drawer by state Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin for too many months to avoid putting it in discussion in health commissions. Once the legislative session is over (in a couple of weeks), the new lawmakers will be seated, with a smaller Democratic majority than we have right now, and the process would have to start all over.

Make no mistake about it — pro-life supporters are coming for the criminalization of abortion and everyone who seeks an abortion, and those who help the woman in her endeavor. We are not exceptional. This happens around the world. It may happen in the United States.

If you don’t want to have an abortion, don’t do it, but you cannot decide my health care and my well-being for me. I refuse to become a second-class citizen. While the "Green Wave" has been making progress on reproductive health and rights in Latin America, here in the United States we are fighting not to go back in time. If you want to guarantee access to sexual education, access to contraceptives to avoid abortion and access to legal abortion to avoid risking women’s lives, call Sweeney, Coughlin, state Sen. Joseph Vitale (the Senate Health Committee chair) and Assemblyman Herb Conaway (the Assembly Health Committee chair) now. We have only weeks until the legislative session is over.

Maria Eva Dorigo


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