Connecticut must be in solidarity with people harmed by other states’ abortion bans, as well as people here who still need access. We must also look inward at our own state’s inequities.

Today, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, ACLU of Connecticut policy counsel Jess Zaccagnino joined members of the Connecticut General Assembly's new pro-choice caucus, as well as partners from the Coalition for Choice -- including Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Pro-Choice Connecticut, the Hartford Gyn Center -- to speak out for the need to protect not only the legal right to abortion, but abortion access and justice for all.

As the Coalition for Choice said today: "The protections of Roe v. Wade are critical, but they’ve never been enough. Connecticut took a bold step in 1990 to codify the right to abortion in state law, but the right alone is meaningless to residents who can’t access abortion. Systemic and structural barriers to sexual and reproductive health care like abortion stigma, racism, misogyny, transphobia, and economic inequity puts abortion out of reach for people in Connecticut. These disparities disproportionately impact Black, Latino/a/x and Indigenous people; people with low incomes; people living in rural areas; immigrants; members of the LGBTQ+ community; and anyone shut out of our health care system.

Connecticut can do better. We cannot just watch as the courts strip away our reproductive rights – we must act. Connecticut can play a critical role in expanding access to reproductive health care for patients in the state as well as for those forced to travel from their community to get care by removing medically unnecessary barriers that prevent qualified clinicians from providing procedural abortion in our state. We must expand health insurance coverage to all residents, regardless of immigration status. We must combat the rising costs of health care and provide relief to people who are forced to pay out-of-pocket for their medical expenses. We must fight to keep politicians out of the exam room and empower patients to make decisions without political interference.

Reproductive freedom is under attack everywhere, and enough is enough. Connecticut has long led the fight for reproductive rights in this country – and we can’t back down now. We must continue to defend abortion access in our state and give everyone the freedom and power to make their own decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures."

Here are Jess Zaccagnino's remarks:

"Good afternoon. My name is Jess Zaccagnino, and I am the policy counsel of the ACLU-CT.

The anniversary of Roe v. Wade this year couldn’t come at a more dire time in the fight to control our bodies and futures. We are at a crisis point.

As the U.S. Supreme Court appears ready to turn its back on Roe, the threat to abortion rights is very real. People across the country could be forced to remain pregnant against their will, endangering their mental and physical health, their lives and futures, and their family’s lives and futures.

Because of systemic racism, we know that those hurt first and worst by these attempts are Black and Latinx people, and those who are low-income. The promise of Roe has never been a reality for everyone in this country, and in the coming months that promise might be gutted entirely. Half of the states are already poised to ban abortion if Roe is overturned, and politicians will try to ban abortion nationwide if they have the opportunity.

This is why we urgently need the U.S. Senate to take up and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and ensure everyone can get the abortion care they need.

Here in Connecticut, our laws are strong, but we can do better. It’s not enough to say that Connecticut will not go back. We must move forward to ensure that no matter what, abortion access here is as guaranteed as legal abortion rights. People who live right here, in Connecticut, still have to scrape together money and seek help from strangers just to afford abortion care, something that is their legal right. It is on every elected official in our state to do better for them.

The majority of people in Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, and Missouri, just like the majority of people here in Connecticut and across the country, are pro-choice. Connecticut must be in solidarity with people harmed by other states’ abortion bans, as well as people here who still need access. We must also look inward at our own state’s inequities and become a firewall for access to true reproductive freedom, including abortion care.

Abortion is healthcare. Abortion is a moral good. Abortion is a legal right, and abortion is a human right. Thank you."