HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Lawmakers at the state Capitol are debating the idea of a “safe harbor fund,” which would pay for abortion services and travel for women living outside of Connecticut, where abortion is banned.
Right now, Planned Parenthood and several other organizations have a fund like this to help women. The Democrats Reproductive Rights Caucus wants to create a fund run by the state.
Should Connecticut establish a state-funded “safe harbor fund” for women seeking an abortion? That’s the question lawmakers are debating at the Capitol.
“I don’t think we should make dividing lines on people’s humanity and dignity based on what state that they live in,” State Rep. Jason Rojas, the Democrat Majority Leader, said.
The fund would pay for abortion services for women who live in states where the practice is banned.
Republican Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said Democrats are weaponizing abortion. He has concerns about “creating policies that are paying for people outside the state of Connecticut to receive our services when they’re not paying taxes in the state of Connecticut.”
At a news conference, the Democrats Reproductive Rights Caucus announced a list of priorities, including:
- Increasing the number of birthing centers
- Boosting medical data privacy
- Increasing training and protections for reproductive health care providers
- Expanding access and affordability of reproductive health “safe harbor fund”
- Offering abortion pills on college campuses
Newly elected state Treasurer Erick Russell is joining other state treasurers to coordinate a nationwide coalition among states like Connecticut that allow abortion up to 24 weeks.
Advocates say abortion bans disproportionately harm Black women who can’t afford to travel or pay for an abortion.
Chris Healy, the executive director of the Catholic Conference, says these policies will turn the Constitution state into the abortion state.
“But impanel more bureaucrats to run around the country to pose to see who’s the best abortion state in the world,” Healy said. “It’s not very productive.”
Several bills requiring parental notification for minors who seek an abortion have been filed but will reportedly not get a public hearing.
“We require parents to sign off on ear piercing and tattoos, but we don’t do it for abortion,” Candelora said.
“You have instances where the family member was the perpetrator that impregnated somebody,” Speaker of the House Matt Ritter said. “You cannot have a blanket rule without thinking about the reality that some young ladies face.”
Ritter said financing a “safe harbor fund” would not result in cuts to other programs. Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) has said he would have to look at how much this would cost.