‘An act of compassion.' Connecticut looks to expand abortion access
Physician assistants and some nurses could perform medical abortions under a bill that advanced at the General Assembly on Friday.
It’s one of three measures Connecticut lawmakers are considering to expand abortion access, as other states severely restrict it and the U.S. Supreme Court weighs the future of Roe v Wade.
The legislature’s Public Health Committee approved the measure by a wide margin. Supporters say it will reduce wait times for reproductive procedure, especially in rural areas.
Also on Friday, lawmakers heard testimony on a plan to guarantee abortion rights in the state constitution.
Connecticut law already guarantees abortion access, but advocates fear courts or a future legislature could strike the law down.
But at a public hearing, critics said the amendment is too vague.
“It’s an extremist amendment,” said Peter Wolfgang with the anti-abortion Family Institute of Connecticut. “It would legalize abortion all the way up to just a moment prior to birth.”
The Government Administration and Elections Committee has until next Wednesday to advance to amendment to the full Connecticut state House.
Lawmakers are also considering a “shield law” to protect abortion providers and others from out-of-state lawsuits. In Texas, helping someone get an abortion after six weeks can land a person a $10,000 lawsuit.
Under the bill, Connecticut judges could not issue subpoenas in out-of-state abortion lawsuits, or issue summons in our-of-state criminal cases related to the procedure.
"We cannot let politicians in other states attack and threaten health care providers in Connecticut, and we can't let them intimidate any patients seeking legal medical care within our borders," said Gretchen Raffa, of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.
The Judiciary Committee has until April 4 to act on the measure.
But abortion opponents are mobilizing. Around 2,000 of them rallied at the state Capitol this week.
Pro-Choice CT director Liz Gustafson has the paperwork from her abortion framed, as a reminder of the decision she was allowed to make for her health and well-being. She wants everyone to have the same option she had.
"It was an act of compassion and love for myself, and it provided me with the opportunity to shape my future," said Gustafson.