Connecticut seeks to expand abortion, attacks pro-life pregnancy centers
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Connecticut seeks to expand abortion, attacks pro-life pregnancy centers

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Connecticut, home of some of the most permissive abortion laws in the country, is taking steps to expand its already liberal laws. A bill likely to be introduced in the January 9th session would require all private insurance companies to cover abortion procedures without copay, according to the Hartford Courant. This proposal, modeled on a 2017 Oregon law, also accompanies preliminary discussions in the state legislature about regulating pro-life pregnancy centers. The proposal comes as Planned Parenthood of Southern New England is announced as a recipient of a state grant for $740,553 to expand and renovate its Waterbury Health Center.

Currently in Connecticut there is no waiting period legislation, no parental consent law, no counseling requirement, no stipulation that an abortion be performed by a licensed physician, and no ban on partial-birth abortion, according to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. Abortion laws in Connecticut are more liberal than in neighboring Massachusetts or Rhode Island, both of which require parental consent for minors and mandate that only licensed physicians commit abortions. Connecticut has also codified the legality of abortion into state statute, meaning overturning Roe v. Wade would have no effect on the state’s status quo.

READ: New website busts pro-abortion myths about pregnancy centers

The attempted regulation of pregnancy centers is not an unfamiliar battle in the state. In December 2017, the city of Hartford passed an ordinance characterized by the Family Institute of Connecticut as “requiring such centers to post signs discouraging abortion-minded women from accepting pro-life help and restricting advertising by the centers.” A similar measure was brought up in the state legislature in March but died in committee, according to a Family Institute of Connecticut email. The Hartford ordinance never went into effect due to the June 2018 Supreme Court decision that handed the pro-life movement a victory. The 5-4 NIFLA v. Becerra decision ruled that states cannot compel pregnancy centers to post signs about state-sponsored abortion services.

Any proposed regulation based on the Hartford ordinance would likely impose strict advertising restrictions and attack the credibility of pro-life pregnancy centers. The state’s local NARAL chapter is advocating measures designed to prevent what the Courant characterizes as “deceptive practices at so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which critics say sometimes pose as medical clinics to lure women and hand out misleading information about abortion.” If successful, the measure would test the legal boundaries of the NIFLA v. Becerra decision. The tweet below reveals the true aim of NARAL’s measures against pregnancy centers:

The legislative initiatives come as pro-lifers suffered electoral setbacks in 2018 in Connecticut. “We feel comfortable that the public gave us a mandate on these issues,” Sarah Croucher, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, told the Courant.

READ: Supreme Court says pregnancy resource centers can’t be forced to advertise abortion

Developments in Connecticut could have ripple effects in abortion-friendly states nationwide. The NARAL offensive in Connecticut represents what the Courant calls “testing grounds for more liberal abortion policies,” and Governor-elect Ned Lamont has indicated that he would like to make Connecticut a model for abortion activists nationwide.

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