We are one week into the Biden-Harris administration and sexual and reproductive healthcare have taken center stage.  Read on for everything you need to know! 

Friday, January 22nd marked the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and while it will always be a historic victory we must strive to go beyond not just upholding our rights, but also expanding access to reproductive freedom for all. On the national scale, organizations like All* Above All are doing this by calling for abortion justice. Despite Roe being nearly half a century old, abortion access is still under attack across the nation — arguably, more than ever before:

  • In Knoxville, TN, an individual fired bullets through the front door of a Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday. Luckily, no one was injured, but many are linking this and similar episodes of anti-abortion violence to white supremacy, as many prominent anti-abortion extremists attended the riots at the Capitol on January 6th. 
  • The Kansas House of Representatives approved an amendment to the state’s constitution that could allow legislators to propose an all-out ban on abortion. If the Senate also approves the amendment, it will be included in the 2022 ballot.
  • At least 200 GOP lawmakers joined together in opposition to any bill that attempts to repeal the Hyde Amendment, referencing a long withstanding bipartisan agreement on the issue. House Democrats oppose their stance, acknowledging the barriers that Hyde places on those seeking abortions.

Make no mistake, we are not immune to these threats right here in our own state. That is why NARAL Pro-Choice CT is committed to protecting and expanding access to comprehensive reproductive freedom by passing proactive, pro-choice legislation.

President Biden Takes Executive Action on Reproductive Healthcare

Yesterday, President Biden passed an executive order (EO) to protect and expand access to reproductive health care within the U.S. and beyond. This memo immediately overturns the global gag rule that bars international non-profits that provide abortion counseling from receiving U.S. funding. It also calls for increasing international family planning funds and removes the U.S. from the anti-choice Geneva Consensus.  What’s more, it takes steps to roll back the harm of the domestic gag rule by requesting that the Department of Health examine whether regulations under the Title X family planning program require updating. This is crucial, as the Trump-era family planning program prohibits Title X grants to be applied towards abortion services. These executive actions are a promising sign that this administration will make expanding reproductive freedom nationally and globally a priority, while also recognizing how much work still needs to be done.

President Biden lifts Transgender Military Ban 

On Monday, President Biden signed an executive order that reverses the transgender military ban Trump instated in 2017. Biden references a report made in 2016 by the then Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter, which demonstrates that the inclusion of trans individuals does not negatively impact the Armed Forces’ unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or group morale and only slightly impacts their health care costs and military readiness. Further, the order states that the Armed Forces must take the appropriate measures to aid those wishing to transition during their time in the military. In the statement, Biden explains that when implementing this ban, the Trump administration ignored valid, scientific evidence and instead relied on a falsified report that supported their discriminatory practices.

Cross-movement State Advocacy: Windham United to Save Our Care 

We have news! Since our fight for reproductive freedom doesn’t occur in a vacuum, we’ve decided to include a section in our Repro Rundown to highlight cross-movement state advocacy work throughout the legislative session. Today, we want to lift up Windham United to Save our Care, a movement mobilizing to save Windham Hospital’s labor and delivery services. 

Hartford Healthcare recently closed Windham Hospital’s Maternity Unit without any community input or Certificate of Need.  Windham is already a medically-underserved area with more high-risk maternity patients than the state’s average.  Thus, the removal of these vital services has increased healthcare risks in the community and put a substantial burden on low-income, uninsured, and women of color who may already face barriers like limited funds and an inability to access reliable transportation when trying to access essential healthcare. Check out the Action Alerts below to learn how you can help the effort to restore and rebuild local, equal, and quality childbirth and delivery services at Windham Hospital. 

For more updates on the state of reproductive health care in Connecticut, follow us on social media and stay tuned for the next Repro Rundown! In the meantime, you can take action by: 

Do: Sign Windham United to Save our Care’s petition here!

Learn: Listen to an episode of Black Feminist Rants, a podcast by LaKia Williams

Donate: CTCORE-Organize Now COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund supports on-the-ground efforts working to build communities of care across the state.

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