Welcome to NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut’s Repro Rundown, our biweekly 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!
NPCCT 2021 Legislative Session Updates
- H.B 6662 An Act Declaring Racism As A Public Health Crisis and Establishing and the Commission on Racial Equity has been voted out of the Appropriations Committee, and is now heading to the Senate! Declaring racism as a public health crisis is both a public acknowledgement of such, and also serves as a policy-led commitment to begin undoing the harm perpetuated by decades of racism and white supremacy.
- The Finance Commitee advanced S.B. 842, the Public Option bill with bipartisan support! With that said, we must continue raising our voices to remind insurers that we want a healthcare system that puts people over profits. Next Monday, April 26th, join health justice advocates for a rally to call out industry opponents who are working overtime to block the public option, which would deny care to tens of thousands of people who would benefit our state.
- Because of the incredible organizing & advocacy led by the Husky 4 Immigrants Campaign, S.B 956, passed out of the Human Services Committee, and is headed to the Senate. However, we must ensure the bill is passed without age-limiting amendents. Make sure to contact your legislators and remind them that healthcare is a human right, and everyone regardless of immigration status and age must be able to access it!
Black Maternal Health Week
In case you missed it, April 11-17th was Black Maternal Health Week! Numerous events took place on both the local and national level:
- On April 13th, President Biden released a formal proclamation declaring April 11-17th Black Maternal Health Week. He is the first President to ever do so!
- Vice President Kamala Harris, alongside the Director of the Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice and four Black mothers who experienced complications in childbirth and pregnancy, held a roundtable discussion on Black maternal health. The four guests consisted of: Heather Wilson, ED and founder of Kennedy’s Angel Gowns and Doula; Erica McAfee, Founder and CEO of Sisters in Loss and Doula; Donna Trim-Stewart, mother of a former policy expert in DC who passed away following childbirth; and Dr. Elizabeth Howell, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Follow this link to watch the entire roundtable discussion featuring ASL interpretation.
- The Black Mamas Matter Alliance held virtual events to inform and galvanize the public to take action on behalf of Black maternal health. Check out BMMA’s website to learn more about their organization’s crucial work.
- On Thursday, April 15th, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley introduced the COVID-19 Safe Birthing Act, which would provide increased protections to pregnant people both throughout and after the ongoing pandemic. The bill consists of the four primary provisions:
- Ensures that hospitals and health care settings allow birthing individuals to be accompanied by a loved one, in addition to a doula or other birthing support professional.
- Expands access to maternal telehealth services for Medicaid recipients.
- Includes a mandatory extension of Medicaid and CHIP postpartum coverage to a full year.
- Ensures that all pregnant persons, regardless of insurance status or source of insurance, have access to free COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination during and after the emergency declaration period.
Biden To Reverse Trump-Era Domestic Gag Rule
In 2019, the Trump administration instituted the “Domestic Gag-Rule” that “forbid any provider who provides or refers patients for abortions from receiving federal funding through Title X to cover services such as contraception and STD screenings.” This ruling had a devasting impact on access to free or low-cost comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services, and illustrates the ways in which anti-choice extremists utilize public policy to push a widely unpopular, dangerous, ideologic agenda. Learn more about the ways our federal policymakers can restore and strengthen the Title X family planning program here.
Medication Abortion & Telemedicine
On April 12, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will not require in-person dispensing of abortion pills for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, making this method more accessible and affordable. Scientific research continues to demonstrate the safety of medication abortion, as well as the widespread public health benefit when if it were made broadly accessible to those who need it. It is paramount the FDA review all restrictions in place regarding how or where people can access abortion pills, and implement measures to modify or remove them accordingly.
More Ways to Take Action (Act, Learn, Donate):
Act: Contact your legislators & ask them to support a REAL public option!
Learn: 1 in 10 college students who menstruate face period povery. Learn more about efforts to make menstrual hygiene products more accessible for college students!
Donate: Black journalists are often asked to report on racial injustice, but newsrooms rarely provide resources to process the trauma they may incur. Donate to the Black Journalist Therapy Relief Fund, Founded by Sonia Weiser in May, 2020.