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Connecticut leaders react to Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

The 6-3 ruling was handed down Friday morning, a major decision after months of protests and years of legal fighting over abortion rights in the country.

CONNECTICUT, USA — Connecticut leaders are speaking out after the Supreme Court has ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, the longtime legal precedent guaranteeing the right of legal abortion in the U.S.  

The 6-3 ruling was handed down Friday morning, a major decision after months of protests and years of legal fighting over abortion rights in the country.

The court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was a determination of the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi law banning most abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.  

RELATED: Roe v. Wade overturned by Supreme Court in landmark decision

Gov. Ned Lamont said he is grateful that Connecticut has laws that protect a woman's right to choose: 

Today’s Supreme Court decision drastically oversteps the constitutional right for Americans to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without government interference. Decisions on reproductive healthcare should only be made between a patient and their doctor without the interference of politicians. This ruling will not only result in a patchwork of unequal laws among the states, but more importantly it will result in dangerous and life-threatening situations similar to what this country witnessed countless times in the era prior to the landmark Roe case in which women died or were left severely injured because they could not access the medical care that they should have every right to access on their own.

I am grateful to live in Connecticut, where our laws make it clear that women have a right to choose. As long as I am governor, reproductive rights will be protected in Connecticut and I will do everything in my power to block laws from being passed that restrict those rights.

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In the last legislative session, Connecticut passed House Bill 5414, a pro-abortion bill that was signed into law by Lamont in May. Specifically, the law allows not only doctors, but nurses, midwives and physician assistants to administer medical abortions.

It also protects people seeking and assisting with abortions from being sued or sent back to a sent where abortion is illegal to face criminal charges.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said that the ruling will criminalize health care providers and half of the country:

Today is a dark and devastating day for women across this nation. This ruling demolishes almost a half century of settled law ensuring women’s reproductive freedom, and the right to have an abortion is an integral part of a women’s reproductive freedom. This ruling is cruel and unconscionable because it targets poor women, indigenous women and women of color in particular. This ruling does not mean that women will no longer receive abortions, but millions of women will no longer have access to safe abortions. This ruling will criminalize health care providers, and half of our country. This unbelievable decision moves our country backward by preventing women from achieving full equality by overturning a law that a majority of our country supports.

While I am incredibly proud that Connecticut is a leader in protecting women’s reproductive rights with our first-in-the-nation law that protects medical providers and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut, many women will still be left without options. It is time that other states step up and do the same to protect the women in their states, and stop letting anti-abortion rhetoric dismantle decades of progress. Governor Lamont and I want women across the country to know that Connecticut is a safe harbor, we will provide reproductive care to any woman who needs it, and we will protect the medical providers who provide that necessary care.  

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said regarding the ruling:

Tonight, millions of women nationwide will end their day with fewer rights than they woke up with. We need to be clear-eyed and realistic about just how dangerous this decision is for women, patients, and doctors, and what it signals for every single major decision before the Court. Make no mistake—this is just the beginning of a systematic right-wing effort to rewrite decades of bedrock legal precedent, the foundation of which is our long-recognized right to privacy in making our most personal decisions. We are about to see a tsunami of radical litigation and legislation aimed at further eroding rights we have taken for granted—some for generations. Marriage equality, inter-racial marriage, and access to birth control are all in the crosshairs. We know already there are plans to push for a nationwide abortion ban should Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. If that happens, I will be the first to sue. This decision carves our nation in two—states that trust the personal and professional decisions of women and doctors, and states where craven politicians control and criminalize those choices. Connecticut is a safe state, but we will need to be vigilant, aggressive and proactive to defend our rights.

Comptroller Natalie Braswell said that while she's grateful to live in Connecticut, she urged the president and Congress to act urgently:

Today’s Supreme Court decision is grotesque and a direct attack on women across the nation. This is a reminder that progress is not guaranteed. Without a far-reaching and relentless effort to ensure our government reflects the common good and works on behalf of all its people, we will inevitably see more extremist rulings in the future, threatening everything from civil rights and marriage equality to environmental protections and access to public education. While I’m grateful to live in a state like Connecticut that guarantees access to safe and legal abortions, individual states can’t overcome the extremist, anti-democrat sentiment oozing out of far-right courts, legislatures and the media that guides them. President Biden and Congress must act urgently to pass national protections for abortion access, and start undoing the rot at the core of American democracy.

RELATED: VERIFY: How could IVF be impacted by overturning Roe v. Wade?

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that every American should have the right to decide if they want children, and when:

In overturning Roe, the Court strips women of the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions and puts that power in the hands of the government.

A woman no longer has the right to decide when and whether to bear children. In fact, if Mitch McConnell is in charge, he’ll be leading a national ban on abortion, shredding laws in Connecticut and other states protecting women’s choice.

Every American should have the right to decide whether and when to have children. Politicians do not know better than women what kind of care they need from their physicians. The government should never be allowed to dictate decisions about pregnancy that should remain between a woman and her doctor. The government should not be able to impose a forced pregnancy on anyone – especially a pregnancy that is the result of abuse or rape or threatens their life.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro said she "shudders to think" about what the conservative majority of the Supreme Court would "choose to strip away next": 

I wish I was shocked, but I sadly am not. This activist conservative Supreme Court that lambasts decisions it does not like as judicial activism has made a dangerous move, disregarding science and decades of legal precedent to strip away a woman’s fundamental and constitutional right to make her own health care decisions. Make no mistake, this decision puts women’s lives at risk.

The decision to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason, is an immensely personal decision that can only be made by a woman after receiving counsel from her doctor and whoever else she chooses. This Supreme Court’s action today is not about protecting life. It is about stripping power, control, and dignity away from women. Their hypocrisy and cruelty for those that do not subscribe to their warped worldview is the point.

We must immediately act. Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years. Overturning it now sets a dangerous precedent and opens the door to the end of additional judicial precedents.  The right to privacy is at stake. Access to contraception is at stake. Gay marriage is at stake. I shudder to think about what the conservative majority of the Supreme Court will choose to strip away next.

For decades, GOP lawmakers have sought to overturn Roe. Their goal is clear: a total ban on abortions across the nation. We know several states are poised to outlaw the right to choose in the wake of this ruling. We cannot allow these draconian laws to take effect. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to join the House in protecting abortion rights by passing the Women’s Health Protection Act.

I am proud that Connecticut has proactively taken steps to protect the right to an abortion and has created a sanctuary for those seeking an abortion. We will continue to the lead the way, but we cannot be complacent and assume these protections will last forever. We cannot and should not accept a world where women are hostage to their geography.

The majority of Americans support the right to choose, and I swear I will not stop fighting with them to protect it.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski said in a statement:

Today’s Supreme Court ruling has absolutely no impact on Connecticut residents. I will continue to support Connecticut’s state law, which has codified a woman’s right to choose, with an appropriate ban on late-term abortion. Governor Lamont takes the extreme position that parents don’t even have a right to know their daughter is considering an abortion, while I support mandatory notification to parents for girls under sixteen.

RELATED: Who voted against Roe v. Wade?

Rep. Jahana Hayes said that she's "deeply disturbed" by the ruling:

While I am not surprised, I am deeply disturbed by the ruling of the Supreme Court. This decision is horrifying and jeopardizes the healthcare of millions. For decades, we have seen the right to choose under attack, and today, those rights have been stripped away in one swift decision. Banning abortions will not stop abortions; it only compels women to risk their lives and health by seeking unsafe abortion care. Reproductive care and abortion access are essential. I will continue to fight so every person can make their personal health care decisions.

Rep. John B. Larson praised Connecticut for taking action ahead of the decision but said the U.S. Senate must act on a federal level:

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn almost 50 years of precedent and subjugate women’s rights to their own bodies is shameful,” said Larson. “Abortion is now completely outlawed in 13 states with more expected to follow.  

The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act ten months ago, and the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade was leaked in April of this year. The Senate knows the urgency to protect this right, and the filibuster is once again standing in the way. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say you need 60 votes to pass a law.

I am proud Connecticut has already taken action to protect the right to safe and legal abortion, but the Senate must act at a federal level to ensure every American in every state can access the reproductive care they need. There is no time to waste; the Women’s Health Protection Act must become law now.

The Women's Health Protection Act establishes the federal statutory right for health care providers to offer abortion care and the federal right for patients to receive that care, free from state restrictions. 

Rep. Jim Himes said Connecticut remains a safe haven, but Congress must act on a federal level:

A Republican-appointed Supreme Court just struck down 50 years of precedent in an abhorrent assault on the basic American right to seek health care,” said Rep. Himes. “Make no mistake, this ruling is a targeted attack on bodily autonomy and denies women the most basic freedom: to control their own bodies, healthcare and future. This ruling does not reflect the will of the people, but rather the radical politicization of America’s highest court.

The fight isn’t over. Connecticut remains a safe haven for women in need of abortions, but Congress must use every tool at our disposal to ensure that all Americans have full access to reproductive care and the right to govern their own bodies.

RELATED: If Roe v Wade is overturned, would anything change in Connecticut?

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) said the country is no longer facing a theoretical threat to abortion access:

The Supreme Court's overturning of settled law on reproductive health is the nightmare we feared. Decades ago Connecticut wrote Roe v. Wade's abortion protections into state law and this year we took additional steps to protect not only our residents and medical professionals but also any American who has an abortion in our state. However, now that the Supreme Court has put an end to safe, legal abortions as a right in our country, Connecticut is dependent on having lawmakers and a Governor who will defend that right. We are no longer dealing with a theoretical threat to abortion access. Every local election will determine our access to that right.

State Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said:

This decision will cause confusion, pain, and division across our country and will do so disproportionally for low-income women whose health care options are already limited. Democrats in the General Assembly anticipated this upending of legal precedent and enacted additional safeguards for reproductive health care in our state this year, including protection against litigation from residents of other states.

State Sen. James Maroney (D-Milford) said:

This decision moves our country backwards. While we have Roe Versus Wade codified in Connecticut, this is a step backwards for women's rights and reproductive freedom. I am saddened by the supreme court's decision, but resolved to continue to fight in Connecticut to protect the rights of all of our residents.

State Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) also praised Connecticut's action to protect reproduction rights:

Five right-wing justices have thrown down the gauntlet, jeopardizing the reproductive rights of millions of families across the country," said Sen. Lesser. "The reckless scope of this decision is simply staggering - it threatens not just the right to abortion, but all kinds of other rights as well, including rights to marry and rights to contraception. The Supreme Court may be stuck in the 19th century, but Connecticut now has an obligation to review our laws to ensure 21st-century access to health care not just in our state but nationwide. Our role shouldn’t be underestimated - a century and a half ago, Connecticut was a critical stop on the Underground Railroad. We should consider playing a same role today for women facing threats and imprisonment in nearly half the country.

State Sen. Jorge Cabrera (D-Hamden) said:

The Supreme Court decision today overturning almost 50 years of established law threatens the freedoms of women everywhere," said Sen. Cabrera. "We must stand together to protect the right to choose. Although this is a somber time, it is not the end of this fight. In Connecticut, we will continue to ensure the right to choose is protected no matter what.

State Sen. Mae Flexer (D-29) said:

This is a dark day for our country. The rights of more than half of Americans have been rolled back in an unprecedented way. We no longer have control over our own bodies depending on what state we live in. And make no mistake, there is nothing "pro-life" about this.  The United States has the highest maternal death rates of any developed country and is virtually alone in the world in having no paid parental leave. This decision is not about caring for women and families, it is about controlling women. There will not be fewer abortions in our country, abortions will continue.  But we are now going to see women die in parts of our country because they will not be able to access safe health care. This will not just affect abortion access, but also access to contraception, infertility treatment, miscarriage treatments and other types of health care. 

It's hard to express how truly devastating this decision is.  But I am proud that Connecticut will continue to be a leader in protecting the full spectrum of health care rights for all of our citizens and welcoming our fellow Americans who come here for critical health care that is now illegal in more than a dozen states. We will also continue to be an actual pro-family state that respects women and supports families with access to early child care, the strongest paid family and medical leave in the country, strong pregnancy protections and much more. We will do everything we can to ensure that women will continue to be treated as full and equal citizens, even as the U.S. Supreme Court and dozens of state legislatures do the opposite.

State Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) said:

The Supreme Court's decision does not change a woman's right to choose in the state of Connecticut, nor will it. In Connecticut, the protections in Roe v. Wade were codified in state law in 1990. Over the years Connecticut has been joined by many other states in enacting similar protections, and the right to choose is broadly protected across New England. The Supreme Court decision does not and will not change the Connecticut laws that have embedded these protections in state law.

State Sen. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) said all women in all states deserve the right to choose:

I am stunned at this news. Even though we knew it was likely, I am so saddened at what this decision will do for women's freedom and for our nation. It is not enough to just take solace that we live in a state like Connecticut which protects women's freedom. We know that all women in all states deserve the right to choose. We also know that the rights we enjoy in Connecticut are under attack – in every election, and every year, we need to remain vigilant.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said that the city is committed to ensuring quality access to reproductive care:

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate the right to an abortion is an afront on a person’s bodily autonomy and ability to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions.

It is my firm belief that access to safe, legal reproductive care is a fundamental human right – and the weighty decision on whether or not to have a child should be made by a patient in consultation with their doctor alone.

The City of New Haven is committed to ensuring safe, quality access of reproductive care to any New Haven resident that needs it, and there are many ways residents can access reproductive care, including through Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, Fair Haven Community Health Center, Yale New Haven Health, or their own primary care physician and OBGYN.

New Haven is, and will always remain, a place where no one is denied the right to choose or the reproductive care they deserve. We are not going back.


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