Dear Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey,
First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you on winning a second term to be Governor of New Jersey as well as being the first Democrat governor in forty-four years to win re-election. That is a massive accomplishment in its own right especially considering this election was a very contentious and tight race so I applaud you for your victory. I am a born and raised resident of Middletown, New Jersey which coincidentally is the town you now call home. The main reason why you earned my vote during this election cycle was your proposal of the Reproductive Freedom Act for New Jersey solidifying women’s abortion rights, access to contraception and women’s health will be fiercely protected on a state level. I am writing to you today imploring you to uphold your campaign promise that the Reproductive Freedom Act will be your top priority in your next term.
With the passing of the Texas Heartbeat Act banning abortions after 6 weeks from conception and incentivizing people to report women themselves who would be getting an abortion, medical practitioners who would conduct the procedures as well as anyone who assists in aiding and abetting women to proceed with abortion it is incomprehensible how this could even happen in a modern society. To add insult to injury other states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, Indiana, Arkansas and Florida have expressed intention to enact similar restrictions on abortion. American women have enough reason to be terrified to the bone. On the larger scale of the world where abortion is legal in twenty-six countries, it sets the United States back nearly five decades ago to before Roe vs. Wade was passed on a federal level in 1973 and challenges all of the progress that has been made since. Ultimately, banning abortion is a clear human rights violation. We have come too far for too long to let women’s health and rights slip through our finger tips like grains of sand. From my experience, I know the great state of New Jersey is better than this.
Speaking as a woman of child bearing age myself I am absolutely horrified that lawmakers and strangers have more power to decide what is right for me, my body, my family, my life and future. Who is someone who doesn’t know or involved in another person’s life to decide what is or is not best for them? Does the life of the woman no longer matter at all once she becomes pregnant? Are woman just a concubine or a commodity to a patriarchal society? Is my life not worth more than just to cook, clean, run a household and bear children being subservient to a man? With the rise of violence and murders against women from on a local level of Freehold, New Jersey’s own Stephanie Parze to recent cases on a global level including Gabby Petito and Sarah Everard and many women whose names will never be heard, can we say in good faith that there isn’t more we could be doing to protect women? If women’s safety is constantly threatened out in public, on the streets, in their relationships, in their work place and now even in their own bodies – Where are women safe if even at all?
While I have never had an abortion myself, I have come to know many brave, beautiful and compelling women throughout my life that have had abortions. I applaud them for having the courage to make such a monumental decision. Believe me when I say it is not a position any woman foresees for themselves, makes the decision lightly and every single one had a complex story to tell that lead to their ultimate decision. They are women who fell pregnant after having sex for the first time with their partner. They are women who were still in high school or college who adult lives have yet to begun. They are women who don’t have health insurance or access to healthcare. They are women who cannot afford to have a child living paycheck to paycheck or are unemployed that by being forced to go through an unwanted pregnancy would sink them further into poverty. They are women who are unable to take birth control due to various health conditions. They are women who were never educated by parents, educators or other adults about reproductive health, safe sex, birth control options, and what consent is. They are women who are raped and who are in abusive relationships. They are women who come from strict religious families that would force them to have the child otherwise face being disowned by their own family or homelessness. They are women whose own health or life may be at risk should they be forced to proceed with the pregnancy. They are women who are told that their child would not survive or quality of life would be significantly impaired should they be delivered to term. They are women who have hopes and dreams to achieve to further themselves personally and professionally rising above whatever challenging circumstances they come from where being forced to have a child would significantly hold them back or extinguish those aspirations. They are someone’s mother, daughter, sister, cousin, friend, student, and colleague. They have names, faces, and lives to be lived individually before giving of their life to another human being. Life as a whole is not black and white and coming to terms with the decision to have an abortion isn’t either.
According to World Population Review, New Jersey has the third highest abortion rates in the United States for 2021 therefore it is paramount for your attention and action. So I ask you Governor Murphy: What side of history will you be on? God forbid more states proceed with further abortion bans or Roe vs. Wade is overthrown. Are you going to have a clear conscious and be able to say that you did absolutely everything you possibly could for women? When the history books for future generations are written about this current time period, will your name be one of which that were bold enough to make a stand to protect women of your own state? What if they were your own wife or daughter, Governor Murphy? If not now, then when? If not you, then who? I ask, plea and implore of you Governor Murphy to stand by your promise to uphold protecting women’s abortion rights and their human right to choose what is best for them in their lives and bodies by passing the Reproductive Freedom Act in New Jersey. When women thrive, society as a whole does tenfold.
Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.
Kimberly Kelly Winberg
Kimberly Kelly Winberg