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Champions for reproductive health and rights must take proactive steps to protect and expand abortion access in Connecticut

HARTFORD, CT – At a press conference today, Connecticut State Representatives Jillian Gilchrest (D-18) and Matt Blumenthal (D-147) announced the formation of a Reproductive Rights Caucus in the Connecticut General Assembly; Gilchrest and Blumenthal will serve as co-chairs. The members of the caucus will work to expand access to abortion and sexual and reproductive health care in Connecticut, defend reproductive rights, and honor the state’s legacy as a national leader in the fight to achieve reproductive freedom.

Statement from Gretchen Raffa, Vice President, Public Policy, Advocacy, and Organizing, Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut:

“For decades, Connecticut has led the fight for reproductive rights in our country. This state took a bold step in 1990 by codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade in state statute – but we know legal protections alone don’t go far enough. The right to abortion is meaningless to anyone who can’t access the abortion care they need and deserve.

“Here’s the reality – even in a state like Connecticut that champions reproductive freedom, people still can’t access abortion. Systemic barriers such as racism, economic inequity, immigration status, transphobia, abortion stigma and the rising costs of health care keep abortion out of reach for people in our state. And we know who these barriers hurt the most: Black and Latinx people, people with low incomes, people who live in rural areas, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender and non-binary people, and anyone shut out of our health care system.

“Connecticut can and must do better. It’s a disgrace when any resident in our state who tries to exercise their right to abortion can’t access or afford one. To honor our legacy, we must take proactive steps now to protect and expand abortion access and give everyone the freedom to make their own health care decisions without shame, stigma, and political interference. We can’t just celebrate the past – Connecticut must keep moving forward.

“This critical work requires bold action once again. Right now, we are witness to an all-out assault on reproductive rights as politicians across the country and even the courts are stripping away our most basic freedom – the right to control our own bodies. We applaud the leadership of Representatives Gilchrest and Blumenthal in forming a reproductive rights caucus in our legislature to take action this year. Together, we must do everything we can this legislative session and beyond to eliminate barriers to sexual and reproductive health care, protect and expand access to abortion, and defend our fundamental rights.”