Photo of Senator Cassano.

State Senator

Steve Cassano

Representing Andover, Bolton, Glastonbury & Manchester

Senate Votes To Approve Protections for Abortion Access


Late Friday night, State Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) voted for House Bill 5414, "An Act Concerning Protections For Persons Receiving And Providing Reproductive Health Care Services In The State." The bill will protect providers and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut who may traveling from other states that have outlawed abortion. Additionally, the bill will allow more medical professionals to perform abortions in Connecticut. Previously passed by the Senate, this bill now heads to Governor Lamont's desk to be signed into law.

"We need to protect a woman's right to choose, which has been enshrined in United States law for half a century," said Sen. Cassano. "This legislation takes action to protect our state from overreaching laws from others. As other states pass increasingly restrictive bills, we are countering those bills by protecting residents and visitors alike from others seeking to persecute them. It's an important step to defend women's rights in our state."

House Bill 5414 creates a "clawback" private cause of action to protect Connecticut residents against lawsuits, as several other states have recently passed laws allowing individuals to sue individuals who provide, receive or assist in reproductive health care services. This bill allows someone sued under these metrics to countersue the persecutor for reimbursement, attorney’s fees, costs, and other expenses. The bill also provides that the Governor will not extradite a person alleged to have committed a crime in another state while present in Connecticut unless the alleged act would also be a crime if performed in Connecticut.

This portion of the bill is largely in response to laws passed in states including Oklahoma and Texas which empower citizens to sue a doctor performing an abortion in Connecticut, a person who donates to a non-profit in Connecticut that provides reproductive health care services, or a person that gives a ride to a friend to receive an abortion in Connecticut. As 26 states could have bans of abortions in the near future, HB 5414 is a protection from the overreach of other state legislatures.

HB 5414 also expands abortion access in Connecticut by expanding the type of practitioners eligible to perform certain abortion-related care. It allows advanced-practice registered nurses (APRNs), nurse-midwives, and certified physician assistants to perform medication and aspiration abortion care.

Reproductive freedom is at the core of women's economic security and ability to provide for themselves and their families. The Connecticut Women's Education and Legal Fund submitted testimony in support of this bill, citing research indicating that women who are denied access to abortion face economic hardship in the years following. The inability to decide if and when to have children also undermines women’s ability to succeed in education and restricts their ability to properly plan careers and lives. Women continue to shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities without the support they need to help meet the demands of school, work and family. Since educational attainment and earnings are linked, the decision of whether or not to have children affects lifetime economic stability and security.

In order to avoid lawsuits that punish abortion providers and recipients, the bill also:

  • Protects private health information related to reproductive health care services that are legal in CT from an in-state subpoena or other request for disclosure.
  • Protects private health information related to reproductive health care services that are legal in CT from an out-of-state subpoena or other request for disclosure.
  • Protects individuals and information located in CT from an out-of-state summons or subpoena seeking information or testimony regarding reproductive health care services that are legal in CT, unless the alleged conduct forming the basis for the proceeding would also be punishable under CT law.

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