New Jersey partners with federal government to enforce abortion protections

The acting attorney general will also issue guidelines to prosecutors on charges to bring against people who try to prevent access to abortion in the state.

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New Jersey AG Matthew J. Platkin speaking at a press conference on July 20, 2022 about abortion access. (NJAG)

New Jersey AG Matthew J. Platkin speaking at a press conference on July 20, 2022 about abortion access. (NJAG)

New Jersey Acting Attorney General Matt Platkin announced a partnership with federal law enforcement officials to protect people seeking an abortion in New Jersey in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month.

At a press conference in Newark on Wednesday, Platkin said he plans to issue guidelines to New Jersey prosecutors soon about the types of charges they may bring against people who attempt to prevent access to abortion in the state. He did not detail the penalties people will face for interfering with or threatening someone’s right to access abortion services in New Jersey.

“Through this collaboration that we’re announcing today, we will share expertise and resources to help prepare clinics and providers with security measures and training,” Platkin said.

“I’ve called on our county prosecutors to coordinate criminal charges. And to assist in law enforcement efforts in investigating threats to pregnant persons and reproductive health care providers. Our county prosecutors and law enforcement officers will work together to hold responsible those who would seek to intimidate, harass, terrorize, or harm patients and providers,” he said.

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Platkin also stated that state and federal agencies would “share intelligence” in relevant cases, including those involving offenders in New Jersey and out of state.

“Intelligence sharing through this collaboration is anticipated to uncover misconduct that crosses state lines and exceeds the territorial restraints of state law enforcement and agencies,” Platkin said.

This month, Gov. Phil Murphy signed two new laws protecting individuals who come to New Jersey from out-of-state seeking abortion services from criminal or civil liability in states with statutes that restrict or ban abortion.

New Jersey codified abortion access into state law in January as officials braced for the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Officials also announced that the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, or OHSP, is expected to begin directing funds to New Jersey’s Reproductive Health Security Grant program.

The $5 million fund will go towards security measures at “high-risk reproductive health facilities,” officials said.

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OSHP Director Laurie Doran stated that a few reproductive health facilities in the state had received threats from anti-abortion protestors since the Supreme Court’s ruling, but she did not specify how many.

“That’s law enforcement sensitive information. So I’m not at liberty to share that. But there have been a few,” Doran said.

Platkin doubled down on prior statements that New Jersey is a haven for people seeking abortion care.

“We are actively monitoring any threats. And we are seeing an increase in activity outside of centers, but everyone should rest assured it is safe to obtain reproductive health care in the state,” Platkin said. “We’ve seen an uptick in protest activity. But beyond that, we are actively monitoring and working with the centers to address any security concerns.”

Last week, Platkin’s office announced a task force to protect abortion rights in the state.

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