Reproductive Rights: We Won’t Go Back!
No issue motivated voters in 2022 more than the battle for reproductive choice. BlueWaveNJ remains committed to fighting for abortion rights and abortion access. Here are some of the most significant actions we undertook to defend these fundamental rights in 2022:
- RALLYING FOR OUR RIGHTS
- LOBBYING FOR LEGISLATION
- VOTER OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
RALLYING FOR OUR RIGHTS
May 3, 2022 — Bans Off Our Bodies (Montclair)
When the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case was leaked on May 2, there was great public outcry throughout New Jersey. The leak was a clear signal that our worst fears were coming to pass: the Supreme Court intended to overturn Roe v. Wade.
BlueWaveNJ immediately helped organize a quick-response rally, bringing together a broad network of coalition partners. On May 3 — the very next day — we drew hundreds[b] of protesters to blocked-off streets in front of Planned Parenthood in Montclair. Together, we raised our voices, sending a clear message to lawmakers that we expect New Jersey to protect our rights, and that we will fight to support the rights of those in more restrictive states.
BlueWaveNJ led a coalition that included Make the Road NJ, NJ 11th For Change, NJ Citizen Action, NJ Working Families, Our Revolution NJ, People's Organization for Progress, Planned Parenthood, Summit. Marches CD7, and Women for Progress.
Despite the short notice, we were joined by speakers including Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Rep. Donald Payne, Jr., First Lady Tammy Murphy, Montclair Councilman Peter Yacobellis, and Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller.
Speakers from the front lines, representing many facets of the fight for reproductive rights.
BlueWaveNJ President Marcia Marley thanking the crowd for their passion and commitment.
May 13, 2022 — We Won’t Go Back (Westfield)
Our outrage and efforts did not fade. On May 13, we led another strong coalition rally with partners including Tom Malinowski for Congress, the Westfield Democratic Committee, Westfield 20/20, NJ Citizen Action, Women for Progress, and New Jersey Working Families Party. Hundreds of participants sent their message loud and clear, despite the pouring rain!
Rep. Tom Malinowski addressing the crowd.
Community leaders and student leaders raising their voices.
Rallygoers show off their signs.
June 24 — Decision Day (South Orange)
The outrage only intensified as the anticipated Dobbs decision day approached. Without knowing the exact day SCOTUS would overturn Roe, we and our coalition partners laid the groundwork for three statewide rallies — one in South Jersey, one in Central Jersey, and one here in North Jersey — and put our friends, neighbors, and supporters on alert!
When the day came, we were ready.
The North Jersey rally, in South Orange, was BlueWaveNJ’s primary organizational focus. With just a few hours notice to publicize the event when the decision finally dropped, we drew a crowd of over a thousand — the largest Decision Day protest in the state! The powerful speakers and overwhelming turnout left no room for doubt: abortion rights matter to New Jersey voters.
October 8 — March to ROEvember (Montclair)
As Election Day approached for the congressional midterms, BlueWaveNJ organized one final rally to build visibility, drive voters to the polls, and emphasize to legislators that abortion rights are a key election issue.
With over 30 co-sponsors, this event was truly a show of strength. Hundreds of supporters came out for an exciting program, featuring Senator Cory Booker, Reps. Sherrill and Payne, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, State Senator Teresa Ruiz, State Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, and many other insightful, inspirational speakers, followed by a march through the streets of downtown Montclair.
Senator Booker has the crowd’s full attention.
Speakers included Senator Cory Booker, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Rep. Mikie Sherrill, Rep. Donald Payne Jr., Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, and many others.
State Senator Teresa Ruiz, NJDSC Chairman LeRoy Jones, Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller and others represented a wide range of perspectives and experiences.
LOBBYING FOR LEGISLATION
Even before the Dobbs decision leaked, BlueWaveNJ was preparing for the inevitable attack on Roe v. Wade. In the absence of judicial protections, legislation that preserves our rights will be crucial, so that’s where we focused our efforts.
STATE-LEVEL: Both independently and as a member of the NJ Thrive coalition, BlueWaveNJ lobbied and demonstrated successfully on the state level to codify the right to an abortion and the funds necessary to ensure access. On January13, 2022, our efforts were successful: the right to an abortion was codified into state law. While New Jersey case law already protected abortion rights, that case law was all based on Roe. “The United States Supreme Court is preparing to take a wrecking ball to its own precedent of Roe v. Wade, and that would also demolish our case law-based foundation here in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy at the bill-signing in Teaneck. In June, this landmark legislation was followed by the enactment of an expansion of legal access requirements.
FEDERAL LEVEL: In October, BlueWaveNJ was part of a coalition calling on the New Jersey federal delegation (senators and congressional representatives) to put an abortion rights and access bill up for a vote, forcing opponents to go on record before the midterms.
VOTER OUTREACH AND EDUCATION
(BlueWaveNJ Independent Election Expenditures)
BlueWaveNJ knows that the best way to build support for an issue is to educate voters! In 2022, we made a major push to inform voters about the repercussions of the Dobbs decision. We integrated this education campaign with our efforts in the 7th Congressional District, where steadfast abortion rights defender Rep. Tom Malinowski faced an uphill climb for re-election in the midterms. The more people understood about Dobbs, the easier it would be to drive pro-choice voters to the polls.
OUR DIGITAL CAMPAIGN: In the lead-up to the midterms, we launched a digital ad campaign targeting a strategically-selected cohort of 10,500 voters in CD7. The campaign focused on healthcare issues — especially reproductive rights. All told, we served 336,746 digital ads to educate voters about the power of their vote to protect freedom of choice.
OUR HEALTHCARE POSTCARD CAMPAIGN: To further educate voters in CD7, we created “Malinowski vs. Kean” postcards contrasting their positions on healthcare issues: abortion, contraception, drug pricing, and ACA premiums. With the help of our partner groups, we distributed 3,000 healthcare cards at train stations, and mailed 7,000 to voters.
Front and back of our CD7 postcards.