Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Connecticut state leaders are working to make abortion access a central issue in a state where the right has long been protected. It began with the passage of a first-in-the-nation bill to protect Connecticut abortion providers from legal action by those in other states. On Friday, it continued with the launch of a new website and information helpline.
“We are already seeing the devastating human impact of laws and policies that restrict the basic healthcare rights of individuals and put caring clinicians in jeopardy for simply providing essential care to their patients,” Connecticut Department of Social Services Commissioner Deidre Gifford said in a statement following the announcement. “This phone line and website will provide essential information and resources to people seeking abortion services in Connecticut.”
Both the website and helpline will provide users with information about reproductive rights and abortion services in the state. Users can find information about what reproductive protections are available in the state, as well as information about community resources, abortion funds to assist in paying for the procedure, transportation services for appointments, and ways to locate abortion providers.
For those who would prefer to speak to a human being, the an information helpline has also been set up. Representatives are able to direct callers to resources and information, including assisting in finding a provider. While the service is maintained by the Department of Social Services, the operators are subcontractors rather than state employees.
Commissioner Gifford said during the press conference on Friday that her office has heard from their community partners that there has been an increased demand for abortion services in the state since the Dobbs decision in June. There has also reportedly been an increase in inquiries from patients in states where abortion access has been curtailed or abolished who are seeking abortion services in Connecticut. Gifford was unable at the time to provide exact numbers.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Tong who was also in attendance reiterated his support for protecting reproductive rights.
“There’s a national effort to coordinate pro-bono legal assistance for women and patients and doctors and healthcare providers,” explained the Attorney General. “We’re putting that together as a coalition of states and attorneys general. I’m talking with a number of advocates and providers here … we’re trying to figure out how to get people the help and protection they need but suffice it to say, I’m here, we’re here, and if anybody has a problem they should call my office.”
In a statement, Tong vowed to sue should the federal government seek to institute a nationwide abortion ban in the future. Such a measure has been floated by Republican members of Congress in recent weeks, though they would need to regain control of both houses to pass such a measure. It is also unlikely that President Biden would sign a ban into law.