New Jersey is known for many things: arguing over the name of a breakfast sandwich, arguing whether or not the “central” part of the state exists, arguing that we’re not just the suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia — a lot of arguing, it turns out! However, one inarguable trait the Garden State should be known for is that we are on our way to becoming the safest and most equitable place in the country to have and raise a baby — especially for LGBTQ+ couples.
In the last month alone, we’ve helped New Jersey implement two major changes benefitting new LGBTQ+ parents:
The first is a bill which expands access to fertility treatment for same-sex couples and single parents. The legislation expands the definition of “infertility” to include people who cannot achieve pregnancy without the intervention of assisted reproductive medicine because they are either a same-sex couple or single. The bill requires insurance companies to cover when a physician determines a person to be in need of medical assistance to achieve pregnancy and a wider range of such procedures.
“This legislation provides people who want to have children with affordable means to overcome the barrier of infertility,” said Garden State Equality Action Fund Board Member Bill Singer, Esq., who spearheaded our legislative advocacy efforts in support of the bill.
“This new legislation isn’t solely about mitigating financial constraints; it acknowledges an undeniable truth that every individual, irrespective of circumstances, should be able to embrace their dream of parenthood,” said Ralph and Michael Maguire-Losanno, of Morris Plains, advocates for families who will benefit from the bill.”
“This landmark legislation demonstrates New Jersey’s continued commitment to equality and inclusion, and is a significant step towards ensuring reproductive rights for all,” said Amelia and Rachel Fairley, of Bridgewater, who are also advocates for families who will benefit from the bill.
The other recent way Garden State Equality is helping New Jersey become the best place to raise a family is working with First Lady Tammy Murphy on making the new Family Connects NJ program is as inclusive as possible. This groundbreaking statewide program connects new parents with specially trained nurses for a free, personalized, at-home follow-up visit two weeks after their child’s birth. The program offers the same service for adoptive and resource (“foster”) families, who are often members of the LGBTQ+ community, when they welcome a newborn into their home. Nurse visits are also available for families experiencing the tragedy of a stillbirth or loss of a newborn.
Because more than 50 percent of maternal mortalities occur after childbirth, and in an effort to catch complications as early as possible, Family Connects NJ includes basic health and developmental screenings for mothers and their babies, postpartum education, feeding and sleeping tips and much more. Families may also be connected to community programs and supports such as WIC, community doulas, food assistance programs, and more. For more information on the program, click here.