As abortion rights hang by a thread, we must work to eliminate barriers to health care and ensure equitable access to abortion
Statement from the Connecticut Coalition for Choice:
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy. This case has the potential to unravel the right to abortion guaranteed in Roe v. Wade – in fact, that’s exactly what politicians in Mississippi set out to do. If the court allows the Mississippi ban to stand, it will erase nearly 50 years of precedent and put abortion access at risk for at least 36 million people across the country.
2021 has been the worst year for reproductive rights since the Roe v. Wade decision nearly 50 years ago. Politicians across the country have introduced more than 600 restrictions on abortion — and shamelessly used the COVID-19 public health crisis to limit people’s access to sexual and reproductive health care. As the constitutional right to abortion hangs by a thread, for too many people the right to abortion is already meaningless because they can’t access the care they need and deserve.
Connecticut has long been a national leader in safeguarding and advancing reproductive rights. Although the state codified the right to safe, legal abortion more than 30 years ago, we know that people in Connecticut still can’t access essential sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion. Pervasive, systemic barriers reflect widening disparities in our state and across the country, disproportionately impacting Black, Latino/a/x and Indigenous people; people with low incomes; people living in rural areas; immigrants; members of the LGBTQ+ community; and anyone shut out of our health care system.
We must do more to ensure access to care for all people in Connecticut. We must expand health insurance coverage for all residents, regardless of immigration status. We must combat the rising costs of health care and provide relief for patients enrolled in high-deductible insurance plans who are forced to pay out-of-pocket for their medical expenses. We must confront systemic racism, economic inequity, housing and food insecurity, and any other barrier that makes health care harder to access. We must continue to fight to advance reproductive freedom in our state.
It is clear we can’t be complacent and rely on the courts to protect our rights. We call on our champions here in Connecticut to reaffirm their commitment to protecting reproductive rights, work to expand access to health care for all people, and ensure everyone can make their own health care decisions without political interference.
Quote from Gretchen Raffa, Senior Director of Public Policy, Organizing, and Advocacy, Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut:
“Abortion access is under attack in America like never before. While Roe must be protected, it has never been enough on its own to guarantee access for millions of people across the country. Although Connecticut has codified the right to abortion in state law, we know that residents still can’t access the abortion care they need. It’s time to act — we must work to make health care accessible for all people, eliminate abortion stigma by honoring the experiences and stories of patients, and give people the freedom to make their own decisions about their health, their bodies, and their futures.”
Quote from Jess Zaccagnino, Policy Counsel, ACLU of Connecticut:
“The Mississippi law underlying this case is part of a full-scale assault on patients, their health care providers, and the lives and futures of every person and family who needs abortion care. This case could decimate, if not take away entirely, the constitutional right to abortion. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mississippi, it will take the decision about whether to have an abortion away from individuals and hand it over to politicians. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mississippi, it will be a racial and economic justice catastrophe. Black and Latinx people as well as those trying to make ends meet will be harmed first and worst by the decimation of reproductive rights due to decades of racism and structural inequality within the health care system. Abortion is healthcare, abortion is a right, and we will continue to fight to ensure that people are able to access the care they need.”
Quote from Liz Gustafson, State Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut:
“Make no mistake, abortion bans do nothing to ensure the health and safety of people who can get pregnant — they are designed to push the racist, classist, and dangerous agenda of anti-choice extremists. This fight is not only about legality, it is about our dignity and humanity free from shame and stigma. We envision a world where abortion isn’t just legal — but is truly accessible, affordable, and supported in our communities.”
Quote from Roxanne Sutocky, Director of Community Engagement, Hartford GYN Center:
“Today, we stand in solidarity with Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Yellowhammer Fund, Mississippi Freedom Fund, ARC-Southeast and our community members harmed the most by abortion restrictions and bans: Women, Black, Indigenous & other people of color, the LGBTQI+ community, immigrants, young people, those working to make ends meet and people with disabilities. Hartford GYN Center is proud to serve as part of Connecticut’s healthcare community, providing the full range of reproductive health services including abortion, since 1978. With our coalition partners, we are building a future where people can get reproductive health care when they need it, laws support each of us, and all pregnancy decisions are met with love and support.”