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N.J. Gov. Christie: Abortion an issue 'whose time has come'

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Last updated: Monday January 24, 2011, 7:01 PM

BY JOHN REITMEYER State House Bureau



Governor Christie told anti-abortion protesters who gathered in Trenton on Monday for a rally on the anniversary of the legalization of abortion in the United States that "this is an issue whose time has come."

Christie, a lawyer and former federal prosecutor, told the protestors he believes the Declaration of Independence contradicts the legalization of abortion. The governor, a Republican, stepped out onto the steps of the State House just after noon to address the rally, which was organized for the anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. "Every human being is one of God's creatures and deserves the love and respect that God gives to all of us," he told a crowd that filled the front of the steps to the State House and spilled over into a park across the street. "What we need to do each and every day is to live our lives in a way that encourages everyone to understand why this cause is so important," Christie said.

Christie won the 2009 gubernatorial contest against then-incumbent Democrat Jon S. Corzine, who fully supported abortion rights. Since becoming governor -- the state's first anti-abortion governor in decades -- Christie has generated a national following among Republicans for his generally conservative values. The governor largely stayed away from social issues during his first year in office, but he did cut money for women's health programs that had been funded by the state budget as part of a broader effort to restrain spending. Christie made no specific promises during the rally, but he told protesters "as long as I have the honor of serving as governor of this state, you will know you have someone sitting in that office who understands this issue, who appreciates it, and who will continue to stand up and speak strongly in favor of the protection of human life -- of every human life -- in New Jersey.

The rally was hosted by New Jersey Right To Life, a statewide anti-abortion organization. It was held to coincide with other events across the country, including the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., to protest abortion and the court decision that legalized its practice in the United States.

Despite frigid temperatures, the crowd in Trenton stood outside for the entire event, with many carrying signs that read "Abortion Is Not Healthcare" and "Abortion Kills Children." Christie, a lawyer and former federal prosecutor, told the protestors he believes the Declaration of Independence contradicts the legalization of abortion. "We must all stand up for what our Declaration of Independence tells us we must stand up for. The first of those principles was life," he said, drawing applause from the crowd and then chants of "right to life." "Our founders said that we should stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, (and) without life, there cannot be liberty, nor the pursuit of happiness," he said. "If you continue to remain true to that document, you need to continue to speak out strongly and clearly on this issue."

But Christie also reminded the crowd that during the early days of his political career he was not against abortion. He said hearing the heartbeat of his oldest daughter in a doctor's office before she was born changed his mind. 

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