Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz visited a women’s health center in Hamden Friday hours after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade — and issued a nationwide invitation to individuals with uteruses to come to Connecticut while placing abortion at the forefront of their re-election campaign.
The Lamont-Bysiewicz stop — organized by their campaign committee — took place in Hamden at Comprehensive Gynecology of CT, a clinic that’s part of a statewide women’s health network serving over 200,000 people.
Lamont and Bysiewicz were joined by doctors and center staffers in condemning Friday’s Supreme Court decision in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. As expected, the court in the 6 – 3 ruling overturned the 50-year-old precedent set in Roe that established a constitutional right to abortion. (Click here for an “explainer” about the ruling.)
As a result of the ruling, dozens of states are expected to promptly puts laws into effect banning all or almost all abortions. Connecticut has strengthened its abortions rights laws in anticipation of the ruling. (Read about that here.)
Connecticut welcomes women who are “not getting a fair shake in Texas or Mississippi” to come here to Connecticut to obtain an abortion, Lamont proclaimed.
As for efforts to ban abortion or limit access in Connecticut, Lamont stated, “No way. Not on our watch.”
And he welcomed employers looking to leave abortion-banning states: “Businesses are going to relocate in Connecticut because they want to attract top female talent.”
Like Democrats nationwide, Connecticut Democrats are seeking to emphasize Supreme Court rulings on abortion and gun control on the campaign trail this year, at a time when concerns about inflation and the president’s sagging popularity have given an advantage to Republicans.
Bysiewicz noted that the next set of decisions on abortion are “up to [state] legislatures now. There could not be a more critical decision for voters to make in November when they come to the polls in Connecticut. Who do you trust to protect women’s reproductive rights?”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski, who has the challenge of maintaining the votes of pro-life Republicans while appealing to pro-choice unaffiliated voters (the largest election bloc), sought Friday to downplay the abortion decision as a campaign issue — and portray Lamont, not him, as an ally of “extremism.”
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling has absolutely no impact on Connecticut residents,” Stefanowski was quoted as saying in a statement released by his office.
“I will continue to support Connecticut’s state law, which has codified a woman’s right to choose, with an appropriate ban on late-term abortion. Governor Lamont takes the extreme position that parents don’t even have a right to know their daughter is considering an abortion, while I support mandatory notification to parents for girls under sixteen.”
Stefanowski is correct that abortion rights are codified in state law, Bysiewicz noted in response. “What hasn’t been said by our opponent is that he will stand up to any attacks on that law. The governor and I will stand up to any attack. Those attacks come every legislative session.”
Obstetrician-gynecologist Emily Fine said Connecticut must aim not only “to protect our women, but to think of inventive ways to reach out to women who are suffering and help them in any ways we can.”
That includes supporting organizations that fund the costs of transportation for those who cannot access abortion without having to travel. She also urged her audience to advocate for free contraception nationwide.
Doctor Iyanna Liles described the court decision as “devastating.”
“It’s devastating because I’m having patients tell me that they go to school out of state and if something were to happen they’d have to come all the way back to Connecticut to get the care that they need,” she said.
The financial burden of attempting to access safe abortions, she noted, will fall disproportionately on communities of color.
Fine called the overturning of Roe “classist, racist and misogynistic.”
“We know the vast majority of Americans regardless of party support a woman’s right to choose,” she added. “Everyone needs to know: Abortion is healthcare. It’s not optional.”
Whether it’s due to the continuation of dangerous pregnancies, self-induced abortions, or the long-term psychiatric impacts of unwanted pregnancies, Fine warned: “We are going to see women die.”