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Planned Parenthood Of Southern New England Braces For The Impact Of Supreme Court Change

Lori Mack
CT Public Radio
Susan Yolen, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England

The recent retirement announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has sparked questions about the future of abortion rights. During his tenure, Kennedy voted to uphold abortion rights in several cases. Now agencies like New Haven’s Planned Parenthood of Southern New England are worried that the Trump administration will seek to appoint a justice who will overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, the ruling that established a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

If Roe is overturned it would get thrown back to the individual states to make a determination. But for a state like Connecticut there wouldn’t be much of an impact: Roe v. Wade is codified into state law, said Susan Yolen, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

“In Connecticut we have laws on the books that say if Roe were overturned we would have legal abortion,” Yolen said. “In Rhode Island, our next door neighbor, there is no such protection.”

Yolen said it’s already difficult for women in many states to get an abortion, even with Roe. She said the Court’s been chipping away at the process for years.

“What they’ve been doing for decades now is, rather than overturning Roe, they’ve been taking cases that have a particular twist to them and just eroding—making restrictions easier for states to impose and making it more costly sometimes, injecting a time element, a waiting period sometimes,” Yolen said.

President Trump has said he’s not asking Supreme Court candidates about their position on Roe v. Wade. But Connecticut U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who joined Yolen during a press conference Monday, said Trump doesn’t need to ask those questions.

“Every one of the nominees on that list has been screened to meet the litmus test that the president himself has articulated again and again and again, saying he will appoint only someone who will automatically overturn Roe v. Wade.

Blumenthal said there needs to be a call to action to make sure that Americans understand what’s at risk to avoid going back to the days when abortion was criminalized.

Blumenthal said that Democrats are pushing for a confirmation vote to take place after the upcoming midterm elections.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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