Connecticut Senate approves bill that protects abortion providers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval shortly before midnight Friday to a bill that says abortion rights advocates are needed to protect the state’s medical providers from lawsuits arising from out-of-state laws; and patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those assisting them.

Senate Pro Tempore Speaker Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said lawmakers in Connecticut, a state that has long supported abortion rights, must pass the legislation “to uphold our own values ​​and our own legal system. “. This comes after Texas enacted a law that allows lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a banned abortion, even in another state.

The bill, which already passed the House of Representatives earlier this month, passed the Senate by a 25-9 vote. It is now moving to Governor Ned Lamont’s office. The Democrat said he would sign it.

Supporters have expressed concern over the wave of new abortion restrictions being passed in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning or weakening Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.

“We have to think about what we will do when the time comes and we have to think about what we are going to do now, given what is happening in other states,” said Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, co-chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the General Assembly.

Under the bill, state and local agencies in Connecticut, which codified Roe v. Wade in state law in 1990, would be barred from cooperating with investigations and prosecutions of abortion providers in the state. The bill also changes state extradition laws and prevents disclosure of a patient’s medical records out of state.

The socially conservative Family Institute of Connecticut criticized the legislation, saying it would create a “safe harbor” for “abortion providers who violate abortion laws in other states.”

The bill 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, during of the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure is currently limited to physicians.

Advocates argue that additional clinicians are needed to help address the shortage of doctors in Connecticut who perform abortions as well as prepare for the possible influx of out-of-state women seeking the procedure. .

Senator Patricia Billie Miller, D-Stamford, who is black, said she agreed 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 described during a House speech by freshman Rep. Treneé McGee, D-West Haven, who spoke about black girls being directed to abortion as a form of birth control.

“I can’t support a system that has systematically tried to get rid of a race of people,” Miller said.

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