Governor Ned Lamont signed a historic bill into law that will protect medical providers and patients seeking abortion care.
The Connecticut Senate gave final legislative approval shortly before midnight Friday to a bill abortion rights advocates contend is needed to protect in-state medical providers from legal action stemming from out-of-state laws, as well as the patients who travel to Connecticut to terminate a pregnancy and those who help them.
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said lawmakers in Connecticut, a state with a long history of supporting abortion rights, needed to pass the legislation “in defense of our own values and our own legal system.”
It comes after Texas enacted a law that authorizes lawsuits against clinics, doctors and others who perform or facilitate a banned abortion, even in another state.
The bill, which already cleared the House of Representatives earlier this month, passed in the Senate on a 25-9 vote.
Supporters voiced concern about the string of new abortion restrictions being enacted in a growing number of conservative states and the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn or weaken Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.
Under the bill, state and local agencies in the state of Connecticut, which codified the Roe v. Wade decision in state law in 1990, would be prevented from cooperating in investigations and prosecutions of abortion providers in the state. The bill also modifies the state’s extradition statutes and prevents an out-of-state patient’s medical records from being disclosed.
The bill would also allow an advanced practice registered nurse, nurse-midwife or physician assistant to perform the most common type of in-clinic abortion known as an aspiration abortion in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. The procedure is currently limited to physicians.
Advocates contend the additional clinicians are needed to help address a shortage of doctors in Connecticut that perform abortions as well as prepare for the possible influx of women from out-of-state seeking to have the procedure.
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