Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) launched another attack at Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood) over the Reproductive Freedom Act Wednesday, calling on him to “stop blocking” the bill.
“Here’s the facts: New Jersey’s legislative leadership has made it clear that they do not want to see the Reproductive Freedom Act passed, these are the same bosses and insiders who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund Gordon Johnson’s campaign,” she said. “While Gordon Johnson continues to fold to the establishment, I continue to fight them. “
Both Democrats are running to succeed Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck), who is not seeking another term.
Johnson’s campaign saw the latest attack, which is similar to one the assemblywoman launched last week, as a sign of a flailing campaign.
“Assemblywoman Huttle is getting exceptionally desperate in this late hour and is shamefully pandering for votes,” Johnson campaign manager Storm Wyche said. “She knows full well the legislative process, who is responsible for posting bills, and she also knows Gordon is literally a sponsor of the legislation.”
The Reproductive Freedom Act would codify abortion protections in state law and mandate insurance coverage for the procedure, also eliminating certain barriers and allowing longer prescriptions for birth control.
The bill has stalled as some Democratic lawmakers question whether it is needed. They’re expected to vote on the bill in this year’s lame duck session, months before the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case over abortion restrictions in Mississippi that pro-choice advocates fear could imperil Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion nationally.
“I don’t care that Trenton’s insiders don’t want to see the Reproductive Freedom Act passed, I don’t answer to them, I answer to you,” Vainieri Huttle said. “I wish I could say the same for Gordon Johnson.
It’s up to Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge) to post the bill. Johnson’s position as Assembly speaker pro tempore does not allow him to add bills the chamber’s board list unilaterally.
“Gordon Johnson understands that there is nothing more fundamental to women’s rights than a woman’s right to choose, and that should never be up for debate in New Jersey,” Wyche said. “Valerie is once again misrepresenting the reality of the situation for political gain and should be ashamed of herself.”