HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Reproductive rights advocates announced a major change on Tuesday in the fight for abortion availability.
A Massachusetts-based advocacy group is now expanding into Connecticut.
“By creating a regional powerhouse for reproductive health care advocacy, we can build unstoppable political and organizing power across the country,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, the president of Reproductive Equity Now.
Reproductive Equity Now is forming that regional powerhouse by expanding south into the Nutmeg State. The organization effectively replaces the group Pro-Choice Connecticut. That group’s leader, Liz Gustafson, will become the Connecticut state director of Reproductive Equity Now.
“As Pro-Choice Connecticut sunsets, I am proud to introduce our friends from Massachusetts, Reproductive Equity Now, who will be picking put the mantle and carrying on Connecticut’s legacy of bold advocacy,” Gustafson said.
That did not go over well with anti-abortion advocacy groups watching the press conference on the steps of the capitol.
“I think these groups have doubled down on the fact that the only thing they are really about is abortion,” said Peter Wolfgang, the executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut. “They want abortion for all. They want everybody to pay for it, and it’s really just a sad thing to do.”
While there is obviously some opposition to abortion rights in Connecticut, this expansion is less about working for rights in Connecticut than it is about helping women in other parts of the country. After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, many states created severe limits — or outright bans on abortions.
Advocates think a big change in strategy is required in response.
“[The ruling] reversed 50 years of freedom in this country,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said. “We’ve been playing defense for far too long, and here in Connecticut, we’re on offense.”
That means reaching out to women in other states who need what Connecticut and Massachusetts are offering.
“Our state and our regional have an obligation and an opportunity to be a beacon for reproductive freedom,” Gustafson said.
The group hopes the regional partnership will be an example for other parts of the country.