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Senators Menendez, Booker Hold Event at RU-N to Support Abortion Rights

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U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, as well as local and state officials, held a press conference and rally at the Rugers-Newark campus to support federal abortion rights.

The event came days after a majority opinion from the Supreme Court was leaked, indicating that the Court is poised to overturn the landmark 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. A senate vote this week is scheduled to advance legislation that would codify into federal law the right to an abortion. 

“Let us be abundantly and unapologetically clear. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.  It is well-established precedent,” said Menendez.  “And if you’re the Supreme Court of the United States, the institution entrusted by the Constitution to interpret laws and rights for every person in this nation, you cannot strike down 49 years of precedent on a whim. Supreme Court Justices cannot draft a majority opinion, one that is filled with flawed justifications and racist and sexist assertions, and consider the matter settled. And they most certainly cannot strip the fundamental rights of half the American population without a fight.”

Sen. Cory Booker denounced elected officials who propose “draconian” abortion bans. “[They] seek to control, criminalize, and dehumanize Americans’ most personal health decisions…We are at a decisive moment in the fight to protect abortion rights,'' he declared.

Although Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor did not speak at the event, she gave a statement supporting efforts to uphold Roe vs. Wade and protect women's rights. “We stand with our political leaders at this critical time,” she said. “Certainly this issue will impact our students, who we count on to create justice in this world.”

Attending the event were representatives from Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, the American Civil Liberties of New Jersey, and Garden State Equality. The rally was also attended by New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Britnee Timberlake and U.S. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.

"As the conservative activist judges of the Supreme Court move to strike down half a century of legal precedent, it is Congress’s responsibility to protect women’s autonomy,’’ said Sherill. “I proudly voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act in the House last September to ensure women have access to reproductive care without undue restrictions. We rallied here today to call on the Senate to do the same.’’

Said Roslyn Rogers Collins, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey, “We are at a crisis moment for abortion access in this country,” Today, what seemed to many as almost impossible is almost our reality. But, to be clear: Abortion is still legal in New Jersey and we intend to keep it that way. We must turn outrage into action…we are furious, and we will fight back.’’