HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -The battle to protect reproductive rights grinds on in Washington. Senate Democrats are calling on their Republican counterparts to pass legislation that would protect access to birth control and other healthcare services.
They fear other rights are under threat after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“The Supreme Court has made it clear that they’re starting with abortion, that they’re going to move onto gay marriage, and then they’re going to move on to contraception,” said Senator Chris Murphy.
That’s why some lawmakers are pushing for measures to be put in place to codify these rights on a federal level. A group of Democratic senators have introduced the Expanding Access to Family Planning Act.
The bill would protect access to reproductive healthcare by providing $500 million in funding for Title X services for each of the next 10 fiscal years.
“It’s a federal program that ensures that people of low incomes have access to family planning services. That includes access to contraceptive care, STI testing and treatment, life-saving cancer screenings, and other reproductive healthcare,” said Amanda Skinner, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.
Millions of Americans receive family planning services through Title X including more than 40,000 people in Connecticut. People can access the services for free or at a low cost.
“For an organization like ours, whose mission is to care for low-income individuals across the Southern Connecticut region, access to these funds enables us to do that,” said Dr. Mark Silvestri, Chief Medical Officer, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center.
It would also fund clinic construction and require that pregnancy counseling include information about a person’s options, including foster care, adoption, and abortion. Just this week, the House passed legislation to ensure access to contraception nationwide. It’s likely to fail in the evenly divided Senate.
Anti-abortion groups have urged lawmakers to oppose this measure, as well.
Both Senators Blumenthal and Murphy are hoping to find bipartisan support on this. They said this is a launching pad and they’re asking their Republican counterparts to come to the table, offering up their own ideas, so they can find a compromise.
The Family Institute of Connecticut released a statement saying, “Family Institute of Connecticut opposes abortion and does not take a position on contraception. We are encouraged that our state’s two U.S. Senators would like to expand pre-natal & delivery care, and expand counseling regarding infant care, foster care & adoption as these services are needed even more in a post-Roe world. Although these provisions would be encouraging, requiring pregnancy resource centers to refer women to abortion would be wrong on many levels and is the subject of a current lawsuit by CT pregnancy centers against the state.”