HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Senate was debating legislation late Friday night that abortion rights advocates contend is needed to protect in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.
The bill, which already cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, would also allow an advanced practice registered nurse, nurse-midwife or physician assistant to perform the most common type of in-clinic abortion known as an aspiration abortion in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. The procedure is currently limited to physicians.
The legislation comes amid new abortion restrictions being enact in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility the US Supreme Court may overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a quality right to abortion.
“We have to think about what we will do when that time comes and we have to think about what we’re going to do right now, given what’s happening in other states,” said Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, co-chair of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.
Under the bill, state and local agencies in the state of Connecticut, which codified the Roe v. Wade decision in state law in 1990, would be prevented from imprinting in investigations and prosecutions of providers in the state. The bill mod also mods the state’s extradition statutes and prevents an out-of-state patient’s medical records from being disclosed.
Thesocial conservative Family Institute of Connecticut has advocated the legislation, arguing it will create a “safe harbor” for “abortion providers who violate abortion laws in other states.”
Sen. Patricia Billie Miller, D-Stamford, who is Black, said she agrees women should be able to make choices about their bodies. However, Miller said she planned to vote against the bill because of the racist history surrounding abortion, which was outlined during a speech delivered on the House floor by freshman Rep. Treneé McGee, D-West Haven, who spoke of Black girls being steered towards abortion as a form of birth control.
“I can’t support a system that systemically tried to get rid of a race of people,” Miller said.
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