On May 21, 2019, the Connecticut Coalition for Choice joined the National Day of Action for Reproductive Rights by hosting a rally on the steps of the Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford. Led by Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, and more, the ACLU of Connecticut, a bipartisan group of state legislators, and hundreds of people from across the state joined together to say that when abortion rights are under attack nationwide, Connecticut will stand up and fight back. Here is the text (as written) of the speech ACLU of Connecticut communications director Meghan Holden delivered before the crowd:

“I am here today because abortion is healthcare. Abortion is a legal right, and abortion is a human right.

Abortion is still legal in all 50 states, and we are fighting to keep it that way.

Reproductive freedom means the ability to decide about our own futures and lives. Abortion is a critical, necessary part of that freedom. Whenever and wherever abortion access is restricted, the people who suffer first and worst are people who are marginalized by health inequities overall: people of color, people who are low-income, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, immigrants, people in rural areas, and more.

Right now, our sister ACLU affiliates across the country are standing up against state legislatures and governors to tell them that if they enact these unconstitutional, cruel bans on abortion, the ACLU will see them in court.

The ACLU has filed lawsuits in Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia to fight these bans, and we will keep fighting.

We stand in solidarity with our sister ACLUs, with independent clinics and abortion funds, and with every person whose health, rights, and future are threatened by abortion bans across the country. We know 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 prochoice.

It’s not enough to say that Connecticut will not go back. We must move forward.

It is not enough for Connecticut to be a firewall for legal abortion rights. Our state must also be a firewall for access to abortion care.

Abortion access is not a reality for many people in our state and across the country. As an abortion fund hotline case manager, I work with people who are pregnant and in desperate need of funding to get the abortion care they need. People who live right here, in Connecticut, who have to scrape together money and seek help from strangers just to access something that is their legal right. It is on us to do better for them.

Our state’s laws are strong, and we can do better.

We are lucky that support for abortion rights is bipartisan in Connecticut. And right now, there are bills active in Connecticut’s General Assembly to take our state forward.

You are here today because you care. You are part of a national movement of people who are raising their voices, right now, loudly and clearly to say that abortion is a right, and that our country should have abortion access for all.

We need you. Donate to abortion funds, independent abortion clinics, Planned Parenthoods, and ACLUs. Listen to groups on the ground in states facing abortion bans, especially groups led by women of color, when they tell you what they need.

And get involved in the fight for reproductive freedom here in Connecticut. Don’t wait for our state to slide backward – push our state forward with us. If your state and local elected officials don’t know where you personally stand on abortion access, tell them today. Don’t make them guess.

Take action to support bills to expand reproductive freedom that are moving through our state legislature. This building behind me is your house. We need you in there fighting for abortion access now.

With your help, these abortion bans will not stand, and Connecticut will move forward toward abortion access for all.”

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