Chatham Borough Council Member Peter Hoffman’s recent statements about New Jersey’s abortion laws being “extremely permissive” and needing “some sort of restriction” should alarm anyone who believes in a woman’s right to choose.

It would apparently shock Hoffman to learn that many reasonable people here think New Jersey’s laws are just fine in allowing a woman to consult her doctor and her God, but not her political representative, when deciding what to do with her body,
especially in the heartbreaking circumstances that lead to the vast majority of abortions in later terms. 

The discussion took place at the August 13 Borough Council meeting when resident Lisa Hart requested a resolution from our governing body that October 7 be named “Respect Life Day in Chatham Borough.” She brought plastic fetuses as props.

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I found Hoffman’s response extremely inappropriate, particularly his condescending assertions that no matter what side of the debate you are on, no reasonable person could deny that New Jersey’s laws are too permissive in allowing a woman to decide what to do with her body.

He said: “Unfortunately . . . it’s [life is] also . .   a little bit too cheap in our own country when New Jersey has some extremely permissive late-term abortion laws, which I think moderate and rational people on both sides of the abortion debate, whether you’re pro-choice or pro-life it doesn’t matter, I think we could all find consensus that there needs to be some sort of restriction on that.”

Hoffman also drew a moral equivalent between restricting abortion and restricting gun ownership: he thanked Hart for pointing out “what I think is a moral equivalent between abortion and a whole host of other issues. We spent a lot of time here talking about gun violence . . . over-zealous enforcement of immigration laws. . . these are all issues that speak to the dignity of life, respect for life, the sanctity of life.” 

That he believes there is a moral equivalent between trying to stop a deranged person from killing school children in their classrooms and trying to stop a woman from exercising control over her own body does NOT reflect the values of most Chathamites, who voted for Clinton over Trump by 20 percentage points.

Ida Picker
Chatham, NJ