STAMFORD, CT – Legislators and activists held a rally outside the Stamford-Norwalk Judicial District Courthouse on Sunday to protest against changes to the right to abortion care for women.
The rally was planned following the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that appears poised to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, stripping the constitutional right to abortion despite 50 years of precedent.
While the right to an abortion is codified in state law, the Connecticut General Assembly took additional action on April 29 in passing House Bill 5414, which expanded access to abortion services in Connecticut and shields doctors and patients from liability based on restrictive policies in other states. Gov. Ned Lamont signed the bill into law May 10.
Stamford resident Diane Vinci said that she remembers a time before Roe v. Wade, and said that women were put in harmful situations based on the lack of proper abortion care.
“It was a disaster. I have friends who got on planes and flew to Puerto Rico with a phone number by themselves and luckily didn’t die,” Vinci said.
The protest was named “Bans off our Bodies!” and was created by multiple pro-choice organizations, activists, and community leaders including Pink Wave Action, Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Women’s March, Ultraviolet, and MoveOn.
One of the legislators that attended was Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, who said that despite this dark time in the country’s history, Connecticut government officials and legislators will not stop fighting for the women of Connecticut.
“The Supreme Court has signaled to us that they want us to move backward, that they want women to be second-class citizens,” she said.
She also said the state’s newly codified abortion rights in the April 29 bill make Connecticut a safe place for both state residents and women from other states who come here seeking reproductive care.
“We are a safe harbor for any woman who wants an abortion,” Bysiewicz said.
State Rep. Matt Blumenthal, D-Darien, said that House Bill 5414 is the strongest bill protecting the right to safe and legal abortion care in the country, but if Roe is over turned at the federal level, millions of women across the country will lose access to care.
“This will set us back almost 100 years in terms of rights that we consider today to be our birthright as Americans,” he said.
Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons ended the rally by saying that if Roe v. Wade is overturned, by June some 26 states will ban abortion, affecting 36 million women.
“This is an infringement on the rights of our sisters, our daughters, our nieces, and millions of women across the country.”