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National day of action protests dangerous abortion bans across America and demands access to safe, legal abortion.

(New Haven, Conn.)—Today, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England (PPSNE) and the CT Coalition for Choice led a rally at the Connecticut State Capitol to protest the alarming rise of state-level abortion bans in America. The rally was part of a national day of action, #StopTheBans, featuring events held at noon local time at state houses, courthouses, and town squares across the country to oppose these unconstitutional and dangerous attacks on reproductive rights.

“We will fight back against each and every attack against health care because health care is a basic human right,” said Gretchen Raffa, Director of Public Policy, Advocacy, and Strategic Engagement at PPSNE. “And we won’t stop fighting until every politician gets the message that they don’t belong anywhere near our exam rooms.”

Hundreds gathered on the north steps of the State Capitol building to stand with people in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, and everywhere access to safe, legal abortion is threatened. Members of the CT Coalition for Choice were joined by elected officials who support reproductive freedom, including Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Secretary of State Denise Merrill, Attorney General William Tong, Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, and more than 40 members of the Connecticut General Assembly from both sides of the aisle.

Last week, Alabama and Missouri passed some of the most extreme abortion bans since Roe v. Wade, making abortions almost completely inaccessible in both states and criminalizing this safe, legal medical procedure. The Alabama law makes no exceptions for cases of rape and incest and doctors who provide abortions can be jailed for life. Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Mississippi have also passed six-week bans this year; since the start of 2019, 15 states have passed restrictions on abortion. Today, 1 in 3 women of reproductive age lives in a state where abortion could be outlawed if Roe is overturned—that’s more than 25 million people. A person’s state of residence now determines whether they can access the reproductive health care they need.

“Connecticut has been a safe haven across our country since 1990 because we have recognized something very important: women’s issues are economic issues and women’s health must be protected,” said Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “Women can’t support their families, pursue their professions, grow jobs, expand their businesses unless they have control over their own bodies. We respect women’s health care and their right to make their own decisions.”

Emboldened by the Trump Administration’s rhetoric and threats to reproductive health care, state politicians are now trying to ban abortion outright. From instituting a domestic “abortion gag rule” for Title X recipients to supporting a “refusal rule” that allows health care workers to discriminate against patients, it is clear that President Trump is intent on using malicious lies aimed at manipulating people’s emotions to eliminate access to life-saving health care. Yet, support for access to safe, legal abortion is at an all-time high: 73% of Americans say they do not want to see Roe overturned. In defiance of the American people, politicians are putting their extreme, misogynistic beliefs over the needs of patients. If these bans go into effect, lives will be at risk.

“This is a debate that has been going on far too long. This is not a moral debate, this is about us taking care of ourselves,” said Kamora Herrington of CT Black Women. “Black women are saying ‘stop it.’ Don’t be nice. Make it personal. Anyone who thinks they belong in your uterus is wrong.”

“What we need to happen in Connecticut right now is to pass a proactive agenda to show the rest of the country that, in states like ours, not only are we stopping the bans, we are not only standing still—but we are moving forward,” said Sarah Croucher, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice CT.

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England and the CT Coalition for Choice are working to advance reproductive freedom in Connecticut by supporting measures during this legislative session to expand access to health care, limit the deceptive practices of crisis pregnancy centers, improve maternal health outcomes, and institute a paid family and medical leave program. PPSNE will continue to fight for our patients’ rights to access the services, information, and resources they need to take charge of their reproductive health.