The Connecticut state Senate passed a comprehensive abortion rights bill Friday night, and the state governor is expected to sign it in the coming days.
The bill is specifically designed to counter the Texas anti-abortion law. It provides remedies and protections to abortion providers in Connecticut in case they are dragged into an interstate legal battle.
The Connecticut Senate passed the bill by 25-9 votes. The legislation was passed by the state house earlier this month and Governor Ned Lamont, a Democrat, has made it clear that he will sign it.
Once the bill becomes law, law enforcement in Connecticut will no longer be allowed to cooperate in investigations related to out-of-state abortion laws. The medical records of out-of-state patients will be sealed against subpoenas, and governors will be banned from extraditing people to their countries of origin.
“It’s kind of outrageous that another state thinks it can come into our state and sue clinicians,” Republican Senator Heather Somers said, according to the Hartford Courant.
Many legal observers expect a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the summer to overturn or significantly weaken the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Experts described the Connecticut legislation as a possible blueprint for other Democrat-led states seeking to protect abortion rights.
“It will definitely have ripple effects,” Greer Donley, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, told the Washington Post. “Once it’s enacted, people will notice.”
The bill also expands the number of medical professionals who can perform regular first-trimester abortions. Currently, such procedures are limited to physicians, but the bill empowers licensed nurses, nurse midwives and physician assistants.
Several Republican-led states, including Oklahoma and Idaho, have attempted to copy Texas’s paradigm-shifting law. Democrat-led states have countered this with their own efforts.
The Family Institute of Connecticut, an opponent of the Nutmeg State bill, may have inadvertently spelled out its purpose perfectly when it said the bill will provide a “safe haven” for “abortion providers who violate abortion laws in other states.”
With News Wire Services