As more states ban abortion, CT braces for influx of patients


On Friday, the Planned Parenthood of New England website featured two sentences in large white letters: “Our doors are open. Abortion is still safe and legal in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

They expect — if not hope — the message will be read as an invitation by those who lost their access to reproductive services on Friday when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years. Following the announcement of the court’s decision, nine states immediately banned abortion, and seven more have trigger bans that will go into effect in the coming days.

Medical providers at Planned Parenthood of New England said they are planning accordingly and expect an “increase” in out-of-state patients over the next few months. Abortion remains legal in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

“We anticipate that we will see a continued increase in the number of patients here in Connecticut because abortion is legal because we have the capacity to provide abortion services at all of our Connecticut health centers,” Amanda said. Skinner, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “We are accessible by airports; in many of our health centers we have airports within 20 or 30 minutes. We are working hard with our colleagues across the country…to make sure we have as seamless a system as possible for patients who need to access care.

Skinner was quick to point out that not everyone will be able to afford this option, however, and that the Supreme Court’s action will most directly affect low-income people and communities of color.

“The ability to travel thousands of kilometers is not available to everyone. These bans disproportionately harm people who live in poverty, people who live in rural areas, black and brown communities – all communities who are already disenfranchised from the health care delivery system and marginalized in this country. It is devastating to think that where someone lives will determine whether or not they have access to care,” she said.

Skinner said Planned Parenthood has already seen an influx of patients from Texas since that state passed Senate Bill 8 last year, banning abortions after six weeks except in medical emergencies.

Amanda Skinner, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said her organization is preparing for an “increase” in out-of-state patients. Yehyun Kim /

“We have already seen patients having to travel thousands of miles from Texas to receive safe, legal abortion care in Connecticut…and we have every reason to believe that abortion bans being enacted across the country, it will continue,” she said.

Dr. Nancy Stanwood, the organization’s chief medical officer, said Planned Parenthood will expand its workforce and begin training advanced practice clinicians to provide first-trimester abortions.

Connecticut’s General Assembly in April passed a sweeping bill strengthening the state’s existing abortion laws. In addition to providing a legal “safe harbor” for women in countries with restrictive laws who have abortions in Connecticut — and the clinicians who perform them — the measure expands who can perform first-trimester abortions. Effective July 1, advanced practice clinicians such as APRNs and physician assistants are permitted to perform aspiration abortions, also known as vacuum aspiration. Aspiration is the most common method of in-clinic abortion and can be performed by clinicians other than doctors in 14 other states.

“Our advanced practice clinicians will now be able to train in first trimester aspiration procedures, and we are preparing to bring this training to life,” Stanwood said.

Rep. Jillian Gilchrest, D-West Hartford, a key supporter of the recently passed legislation, said she was saddened by the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday.

“My hope is, if it hasn’t already started, that training will be underway for the types of expanded providers who can perform vacuum aspiration and that Connecticut can provide reproductive health care to women nationwide.” they need and deserve,” she said.

“My daughter and I are in Washington, DC, today. She’s 10, and I can’t help but look at her and think about the future for her and her generation and what that means for so many. women who will not be able to access the reproductive health care they so desperately need.

Several organizations focusing on health disparities criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday, saying it would exacerbate existing inequalities and further harm communities of color, low-income women and people living in rural areas. .

“People of color have historically experienced disproportionate health outcomes and poor treatment in the health care system, and today’s decision will likely have an outsized effect on people of color who will see their health care choices still more limited,” said Tiffany Donelson, president and CEO of the Connecticut Health Foundation. “Already, women of color have worse maternal health outcomes, regardless of socioeconomic status. In Connecticut, black women are 2.6 times more likely than white women to die within six weeks after giving birth, according to the state Department of Public Health.Changes that make it harder for people of color to make decisions about their reproductive health only worsen inequalities.

“We are fortunate that Connecticut has taken steps to preserve abortion rights in the state. Monitoring access will be critical in the years to come.

Apart from access to health care, the decision will also have other implications, advocates noted.

“The inability to choose whether or when to have children compromises a woman’s ability to complete high school or college. Education and income are linked,” said Janee Woods Weber, executive director of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund. “So the decision to have children or not affects lifelong economic stability and security. These are the types of decisions that can also have generational impacts, especially when considered in the context of gender gaps. income and wealth gaps that already exist for women of color.

“Let me make it clear that this decision to criminalize access to safe abortion will do more harm to black, brown and low-income women in our country and their loved ones,” added Frances G. Padilla, President of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. “Women have the wisdom to decide for themselves. Political barriers to care are harmful and discriminatory.

Although many decried the decision on Friday, others celebrated. Several Connecticut anti-abortion groups said they were galvanized by the ruling, though abortion remains legal in the state.

“We are thrilled,” said Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut. “Apart from the fact that it doesn’t immediately change anything for Connecticut, the overthrow of Roe v. Wade is what pro-lifers have been praying for, marching for, working for, voting for for 49 years. And now we’re going to do the same thing in Connecticut to hopefully overturn the 1990 law that still keeps abortion legal here.

The Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, which represents Catholic bishops in the state, released a statement praising the decision.

“Today, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion rights, we enter a new era of opportunity and responsibility to protect life and protect the most innocent among us,” group officials said. “We welcome this historic reversal, which affirms the right to life of an unborn child and we are committed to doing everything possible to support pregnant women who face serious challenges.”

As medical providers and pro-choice advocates envision a future without the protections of Roe v. Wade, some are calling for more action from Connecticut lawmakers.

Claudine Constant, director of public policy and advocacy for the ACLU of Connecticut, urged state leaders to increase support and funding to address the black maternal health crisis.

“Time and time again, we see the intersections of harms that occur in our systems. And the people most affected are poor, marginalized, often black and brown people,” she said.

Liz Gustafson, state director of Pro-Choice Connecticut, called for an expansion of the Medicaid program to include everyone who reaches the qualifying income limit, regardless of immigration status. So far, lawmakers have expanded the program to include all children 12 and under, regardless of immigration status.

Constant also called on lawmakers and others to stand up against efforts to undermine reproductive care in their communities.

“Abortion care is part of reproductive care and has honestly become synonymous with reproductive care,” she said. “When you start to see stops on one thing, you can see stops on all levels. And it’s happening right here in our state. It is important that our legislators pay attention to what is happening locally so that we can strengthen our defenses statewide.


Comments are closed.