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 proactive, pro-choice legislative agenda and provide numerous opportunities for you to get involved!
NPCCT’s Proactive Pro-Choice Policy Agenda
Reproductive freedom is not achieved simply by legalizing abortion and although this legislative session loooks and feels different, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut is committed to ensuring our State takes the lead by passing proactive, pro-choice police. Everyone deserves to decide if, when or how they want to start or grow their families without facing shame, barriers or delays. There are countless racist, xenophobic, ableist, classist barriers built into the very fabric of our systems, and they must be dismantled before reproductive healthcare is truly accessible to everyone. Together with our strong member base, legislative champions and cross-movement allies, we are fighting harder than ever so that every individual regardless of race, gender identity, sexuality, zip code, immigration, or economic status is able to access the reproductive healthcare that they want and need.
Update on the 2021 Legislative Agenda
- S.B. 835 AAC Deceptive Advertising Practices of Limited Services Pregnancy Centers: By regulating deceptive advertsing practices utilized by CPC’s, our state will take steps to ensure no one faces deception or delays when seeking time-sensitive, essential reproductive healthcare such as abortion or emergency contraception. Current Status: S.B. 835 has been voted out of the Public Health Committee and is now ready for action in the Senate.
- H.B. 6389 An Act Concerning Explanation of Benefits requires that when multiple people are on the same insurance plan, confidential health care information is protected and not shared with anyone other than the patient. This bill is particularly important when considering the safety and privacy of young adults who are insured through a parent’s plan, minors who are exercising their right to access services, and adult spouses who are dependent on a partner’s plan and may be in a controlling, and/or abusive relationship. Current Status: H.B. 6389 was voted out of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee and has been sent to the Senate.
- S.B. 1 An Act Equalizing Comprehensive Access to Mental, Behavioral, and Physical Health Care in Response to the Pandemic contains four core components: declaring racism a public health crisis, defining the doula profession, REL data collection, and tying community benefit spending to the needs identified by communities. Codifying all four aspects are crucial steps towards ensuring equitable and accessible healthcare. Current Status: S.B. 1 had a public hearing in the Public Health Committee last week on March 17th, 2021.
- In addition to S.B. 1, the legislature will be hearnig H.B. 6662 An Act Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis and Establishing the Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health. HB 662 would create & house this commission in the Executive Branch, and require it report to both the Office of Policy and Management and the Public Health Committee of the General Assembly. By doing so, it will have the reach and oversight necessary to accomplish the goals for reducing racial disparities in health. Current Status: H.B. 6662 is having a public hearing in the Appropriations Committee today, 3/26.
- S.B. 956 An Act Providing Medical Assistance to Certain Individuals Regardless of Immigration Status expands Medicaid coverage to include immigrants that have been living in CT for less than 5 years, a group that is currently ineligible to participate in HUSKY despite paying taxes. By providing these individuals with a low-cost healthcare option, the state would increase access to reproductive care, including abortions. Current Status: S.B. 956 had a public hearing in the Human Services Committee on March 11th, 2021.
- S.B. 910 An Act Expanding Medicaid Coverage for Post-partum Care to Twelve Months After a Medicaid Beneficiary Gives Birth to a Child asks for exactly what the title states. Postpartum care encompasses a range of important health needs, including recovery from childbirth, follow up on pregnancy complications, management of chronic health conditions, access to family planning, and addressing mental health conditions. Guaranteeing that everyone has access to healthcare before, during, and post-pregnancy will aid in improving health outcomes for birthing people and for infants and will expand reproductive freedom and autonomy for all. Current Status: S.B. 910 was voted out of the Human Services Committee and has been sent to the Senate.
EACH and Every One of Us Deserves Access to Abortion
On Thursday, March 25th, Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the EACH, or Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance, Act to Congress which would repeal the Hyde Amendment and provide universal coverage for anyone seeking an abortion. Senator Duckworth and Representative Lee believe now is the time to level the playing field and end discriminatory restrictions on healthcare. Read more about this bill and it’s adverse impacts on marginalized communities here.
Republican States Pose Intentional Challenges to Roe v. Wade
Two weeks ago, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed legislation into law that bans abortions in all cases, including race or incest, unless the health of the pregnant person is at risk. This past week, in an interview with CNN, Hutchinson stated that the bill “is not constitutional under Supreme Court cases right now. I signed it because it is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.” This legislation was intentionally designed with hopes of rekindling the fight to repeal Roe v. Wade. Other states continue to follow suit with their own anti-choice legislation.
For more updates on the state of reproductive freedom in Connecticut, follow us on social media and stay tuned for the next Repro Rundown! In the meantime, take action by:
date on efforts in the nutmeg state to expand access to doula care.
Learn: More about why racism is a public health crisis and which states have declared it so here.
Donate: To the families who lost loved ones in the Atlanta shootings.
Find descriptions of and links to their authenticated GoFundMes here.