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In Connecticut, heated reaction to Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade

After an hour long rally outside the Connecticut State Capitol, several hundred Reproductive Rights Advocates block Capitol Avenue on Sunday afternoon in Hartford.
Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
Outside the Connecticut State Capitol, several hundred Reproductive Rights Advocates block Capitol Avenue at a rally in response to a leaked draft opinion from the United States Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade on on May 15, 2022.

Several of Connecticut’s elected officials and health care groups have reacted strongly in opposition to the Supreme Court decision that overturns the constitutional right to an abortion and reverses Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, Connecticut's Catholic bishops and other groups that oppose abortion rights celebrated Friday's decision.

Regardless of the ruling, abortion will remain legal in Connecticut.

Gov. Ned Lamont said he is “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,” Lamont said.

Lamont signed into law legislation that protects in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut who may be traveling from other states that have outlawed abortion.

Lamont, a Democrat, said the Supreme Court's 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,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor, posted a statement on Twitter that the 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,” Stefanowski wrote.

State Republican leaders released a statement saying that the Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t change abortion access in Connecticut.

“The Supreme Court's decision does not change a woman's right to choose in the state of Connecticut, nor will it,” Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly and Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica wrote in a statement. “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."

'Consequences ... will be heartbreaking,' Planned Parenthood says

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England said “the consequences of this devastating decision will fall on those who already face the greatest barriers to health care due to this country’s legacy of racism and discrimination, including Black, Latino, and Indigenous communities, people with low incomes, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, and people living in rural areas.”

“This is personal,” said Amanda Skinner, president and CEO. “We are all outraged and devastated that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and taken away our federal constitutional right to abortion. The Supreme Court has just undone nearly 50 years of legal precedent and can no longer be counted on to uphold our fundamental freedom. By stripping Americans of their federal constitutional rights, this ruling will begin a ripple effect — spreading abortion bans across the country and allowing lawmakers to have free rein in personal medical decisions.”

“The consequences for people across the country will be heartbreaking.”

According todata provided to Connecticut Public's "Where We Live," in 2021, there were 9,373 abortion visits at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England’s 14 health centers in Connecticut, of which 6,282 were medication abortions, and 3,091 were in-clinic abortions.

PPSNE is the largest provider of abortion care in Connecticut.

Supreme Court ruling will cause harm to people of color, health care group says

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut said that every woman should have equitable access to a “full range of reproductive health care options, including abortion.”

“Let me be clear that this decision to criminalize access to a safe abortion will cause more harm to Black, Brown and low-income women across our nation and their loved ones,” said Frances G. Padilla, the foundation’s president.

“Women have the wisdom to decide for themselves. Political barriers to care are harmful and discriminatory,” Padilla said.

The foundation notes that abortion restrictions “already harm Black, Brown and low-income women the most.”

“This disproportionate impact is the direct result of historic racism, ongoing white supremacy, and coercive reproductive policies,” the organization said.

'We welcome this historic reversal,' Catholic bishops say

Connecticut’s Catholic Public Affairs Conference said the ruling means the U.S. is entering “a new era of opportunity and responsibility to safeguard life and protect the most innocent among us.”

“We welcome this historic reversal, which affirms the right to life of an unborn child and we pledge to do all that is possible to support pregnant women who face serious challenges,” the group said. “The Dobbs decision presents all of us with new and persistent challenges and opportunities. Future debates over abortion must be peaceful and respectful. There are people deeply divided by their beliefs on both sides of this issue. Acts of violence and other hateful actions will only make it more difficult for constructive discourse. It is time for reconciliation as we support a culture of life together.”

The Family Institute of Connecticut said the ruling “is the victory the pro-life movement has worked for these past 49 years. We should celebrate it. And prepare ourselves for the battles that still lie ahead here in Connecticut.”

A decision that's 'dangerous' for patients, attorney general says

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said the state needs to be “vigilant, aggressive and proactive to defend our rights.”

“Tonight, millions of women nationwide will end their day with fewer rights than they woke up with,” Tong said in a statement. “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.”

Connecticut’s Congressional delegation reacts

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, called Friday a “devastating day.”

“A group of unelected politicians masquerading as justices just eliminated a constitutional right that generations of women have known and relied on – the right to make decisions about their own bodies, to decide if and when to have children," Murphy said in a statement. "This is a disaster for every person in every state – even in states like Connecticut that have proactively protected the right to an abortion. And it’s only the beginning. Overturning Roe was the first step toward achieving the Republicans’ ultimate goal: a nationwide abortion ban.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote on Twitter: “The Court strips women of the freedom to make their own health care decisions & puts that power in the hands of the government.”

He said that 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," Blumenthal wrote. "The government should never be allowed to dictate decisions about pregnancy that should remain between a woman & 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.”

This is a developing story, which will be updated. The Associated Press and the Connecticut Mirror contributed to this report.

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