Sen. Derek Slap Credit: Mike Savino photo

The Connecticut Senate on Thursday approved a bill requiring public universities to provide students with access to reproductive healthcare. 

Sen. Mae Flexer, D-Windham, whose district includes the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus, said the bill comes after students called for it. 

“I think this is going to go a long way to ensuring an equitable access to healthcare for college students across our state,” Flexer said.  

The bill, which garnered a 34-2 vote, now moves to the House of Representatives. If approved, it would require UConn and the Board of Regents to come up with plans to provide access to reproductive healthcare on any residential campuses. 

It defines reproductive healthcare as “medical, surgical, counseling, or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including services relating to pregnancy, contraception, or pregnancy termination, and all medical care relating to the treatment of gender dysphoria.” 

Sen. Derek Slap, D-West Hartford, co-chairman of the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, said that includes counseling and services for students who opt to keep a pregnancy. 

Some Republicans said that helped win their support. 

“This is a step in the right direction to help not just patient care, but people,” Sen. Jeff Gordon, R-Woodstock, said. 

Sen. Henri Martin, R-Bristol, raised concerns that the bill placed more burdens on UConn and the Board of Regents, which oversees the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system. 

“Too many times we ask a body or a municipality to come up with a plan and provide recommendations, and then we don’t do anything with it,” he said. Martin and Sen. Rob Sampson, R-Wolcott, were the only opposing votes. 

The bill provides no funding to the schools. Slap said the universities can include cost estimates in their plans. 

The bill requires the universities to detail in their plans the availability of equipment and licensed staff on campus or nearby to perform the various services. They also have to detail how they would continue to provide services during holiday breaks and in between semesters. 

Officials with CSCU and UConn both testified in support of the bill earlier this year. So did a handful of college students. 

“I believe these things should be attainable, not a luxury that some people get,” UConn student Allison Villano said in written testimony. “I will keep this short and simple: getting the healthcare you need to survive should not be gatekept and reserved for those with the resources to access it comfortably.”