TRENTON, N.J. (AP/WCBS 880) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told anti-abortion activists gathered in the bitter cold Monday that they have an ally in him.

But he urged them to speak “calmly and clearly and forthrightly” about their beliefs, saying “this is an issue whose time has come.”

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Right to Life Rally (Photo: Kelly Waldron/WCBS 880)

At a rally on the Statehouse steps, the governor said hearing the heartbeat of his unborn daughter 15 years ago convinced him to step off the sidelines on the issue.

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Abortion opponents gathered around the country Monday, the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade — the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision legalized abortion.

Christie’s remarks come as Democrats continue to criticize him for cutting money for family planning from the state budget.

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