Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and Introducing Legislative Agenda

January 22, 2018

Connecticut’s female lawmakers and women’s health advocates today celebrated the 45th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, one of the critical landmark Supreme Court decisions in United States history. In addition to remarking on this important decision protecting a women’s right to choose, the lawmakers announced their intention to introduce several bills establishing protections for women’s health in Connecticut. These bills will be designed to defend against the ongoing attempts at the federal level to roll back women’s access to necessary health services.

Every single woman should have the right to make her own medical decisions and choose what she wants to do with her body. The landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision was an important victory, but we still have a long way to go in ensuring all women receive comprehensive healthcare. This legislative session, I will continue to be an advocate for all women and fight for their reproductive rights, bodily integrity and privacy, along with their ability to obtain access to safe and legal abortions.

The legislators announced their intention to introduce and support the passage of several bills enshrining the women’s health aspects of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. The passage of these bills will ensure that Connecticut women do not have their healthcare impacted by attempts in Washington DC to repeal the ACA.

10 Essential Benefits

The legislators will introduce a bill ensuring that health insurance plans offered in the state of Connecticut cover the “10 essential benefits” protected by the ACA. These benefits include outpatient care, as well as hospital care and trips to the emergency room, prenatal care and ongoing care for the baby throughout its childhood, prescription medicine, lab tests, as well as mental health and substance use disorder services.

Women’s Preventative Services

Legislation introduced this session will allow Connecticut to join a growing list of states that protect women’s access to contraception and other preventative health services with no out-of-pocket cost. More than 746,000 women in Connecticut have gained access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. There have been multiple attempts at the federal level to roll back this benefit. This change can cost a woman up to $600 a year, making it unaffordable for those who are already struggling to make ends meet. Increasing these healthcare costs would worsen the healthcare disparity between poor, underserved communities and other, wealthier parts of the state, contributing to a higher rate of maternal mortality and other health complications.

Building on the ACA’s Preventative Coverage

Legislation to be introduced this year will expand on the progress in reproductive health made by the ACA by expanding coverage for contraception. This new legislation will expand coverage for contraception to include 12-month prescription coverage and emergency contraception with no co-pay.

Shedding Light on “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”

Legislation will be introduced this year to ensure that people seeking healthcare advice about a pregnancy are not lied to or shamed by staff at “crisis pregnancy centers” seeking to further a political agenda. Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that attempt to look like legitimate family planning clinics, while actually providing medically inaccurate, anti-choice information. They target urban neighborhoods and other medically underserved communities where people do not have access to a regular gynecologist.