Welcome back to NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut’s Repro Rundown, our digital newsletter that provides you with critical updates about the fight for reproductive freedom. These past few weeks have been busy, and we are excited to update you on our work and provide numerous opportunities for you to get involved!
Abortion Provider Appreciation Day
Wednesday, March 10th was Abortion Provider Appreciation Day and, wow, did everyone show up to express their appreciation for abortion providers! We also want to give special shout out to the students at Wesleyan University, who raised money to provide lunch for the outstanding employees at Hartford GYN Center, as well as those who submitted thoughtful messages of gratitude through our Google Form. If you are interested in expressing your love and appreciation for abortion providers, you can do so here!
Public Hearing for S.B. 956
On Thursday March 11th, the Human Services Committee held a public hearing on a variety of bills, notably S.B. 956, An Act Providing Medical Assistance to Certain Individuals Regardless of Immigration Status. NARAL Pro-Choice CT testified in support of this bill alongside numerous courageous immigrants, advocates, and medical professionals. We are so impressed by and grateful for the members of our community that shared their story and for the advocacy groups, such as Husky4Immigrants, that are championing this cause. Without appropriate health care coverage, immigrant residents and their families may be unable to access necessary medical care including essential comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare. Access to health care is a human right and should be awarded to every resident of Connecticut, regardless of their immigration status. Find more info on this bill here!
Anti-Abortion State Action
Unfortunately, anti-abortion lawmakers have attempted to make abortion illegal or even more inaccessible this week. Though some of these attempts have made progress, we want to emphasize that abortion is still legal in all 50 States.
- In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed Senate Bill 6 on Tuesday, March 9th after it passed both the House and Senate. The bill makes abortion illegal in all cases, including rape and incest, unless the mother of a fetus’ life is threatened. This law, which will go into place on August 3rd if it isn’t overturned, makes receiving or providing abortions punishable by extreme fines and up to 10 years in prison. However, groups such as the ACLU have declared SB6 unconstitutional and have pledged to challenge the bill in court. Learn more about the bill & the true intent of lawmakers who propose such legislation here.
- In Texas, GOP State Representative Bryan Slaton introduced HB 3326 An Act to Abolish Abortion in Texas, which would allow the courts to charge people that have received or provided abortions with assault or homicide, crimes that are punishable by the death penalty. Fortunately, this bill has only been introduced to the Texas House and many pro-choice advocates are confident that it will not travel much further. Additionally, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has removed Planned Parenthood from Medicaid services, adding to existing barriers faced by many low-income individuals when seeking comprehensive sexual & reproductive health care.
While many have heard of the Hyde Amendment and the Global Gag Rule (Mexico City Policy) after Preisdent Biden overturned it during his first week in office, we also need to turn our attention to the Helms Amendment of 1973. This law restricts any international organization receiving U.S. foreign aid assistance from utilizing that aid to fund abortion services. This differs from the Global Gag Rule, which restricts international NGOs from using their own money to fund abortion services if they are also receiving funding from the United States. The Guttmacher Institute has a great infographic outlining the difference between these two laws.
The Helms Amendment can be repealed through passage of the Abortion is Everywhere Health Care Act. U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) introduced this bill during session on Tuesday, March 9th. Read more about the Helms Amendment here.
Good News in the Fight for Reproductive Freedom
- On Thursday, March 11th President Biden signed the COVID-19 Relief Bill without including coverage restrictions for abortion, fundamentally blocking anti-abortion politician’s attempts to exploit the ongoing pandemic. With that said, we hope future relief is made to be accessible to everyone, including undocumented people, as well as inclusion of a Federal minimum wage increase.
- A new independent clinic called Lilith Clinic has just opened in downtown Portland, Oregon. This is the first independent clinic to open there in about 20 years!
More Ways to Take Action:
Do: Follow @sistersong_woc on Instagram and familiarize yourself with the history & leaders of the Reproductive Justice movement!
Learn: About the “The Link Between the Capitol Riot and Anti-Abortion Extremism”
Donate: To your local community fridges! Here are some:
Middletown: At 33 Ferry St. (under the stairs of the Community Health Center)
Bridgeport: At 3201 Corrine Dr. (under the stairs of the western side of East End Market).
New Haven: Fill out the Google form on their Instagram
New London: Find more info on their Instagram