HARTFORD, Conn. — The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision to end constitutional protections for abortions that had been in place for nearly 50 years is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. But what does it mean for Connecticut?
Abortion rights in Connecticut have been codified into state statutes for more than 30 years. In 1990, lawmakers passed a law giving women the legal right to abortion. Passed with strong bipartisan support, it was lauded at the time for being a rare compromise between abortion rights advocates and opponents.
It affirmed a woman’s unqualified right to an abortion “prior to viability of the fetus,” as well as late-term abortions “necessary to preserve the life and health of the pregnant woman.”
It also repealed state laws predating Roe v. Wade that had made it a felony to have an abortion, or to perform one, and required patients under 16 to receive counseling about their options.
Earlier this year, Connecticut passed House Bill 5414, a pro-abortion bill that allows not only doctors, but nurses, midwives, and physician assistants to administer medical abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The law also protects people from other states seeking and assisting with abortions from being sued or sent back to where abortion is illegal to face criminal charges.
Connecticut's legal protections could draw women from other states where abortion becomes restricted or outlawed.
“With 40 million people in the country potentially losing access to abortion, where are they going to go? They will travel, hundreds of miles, thousands of miles if they need to,” Amanda Skinner, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Votes CT said.
But what could this decision mean for Connecticut in the future? That will likely depend on who is running Washington.
“Two years from now, if the Republicans control the House, the Senate and the Presidency, they will enact a national abortion ban,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.
Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, has vowed to challenge any attempt to nullify Connecticut’s abortion rights law.
“Let’s not mince words. They will come for us,” Tong warned abortion rights supporters during a recent news conference. “We will fight that effort tooth-and-nail. Any court, any place, Connecticut will be there and will fight.”
Connecticut’s new law protecting abortion providers from other states’ bans takes effect on July 1. There’s a discussion of possibly amending the state’s constitution to enshrine the right to abortion, making it more difficult to overturn, but that would be a multi-year process.
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