Governor Lamont Signs Series of New Laws Protecting Reproductive Rights in Connecticut
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed a series of bills approved by the Connecticut General Assembly during the recently adjourned legislative session that enact new laws further protecting reproductive rights in Connecticut, ensuring that women in the state can continue making their own medical decisions regarding abortion and contraception in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade.
The governor explained that while other states are passing new laws restricting these rights, elected officials in Connecticut remain firmly committed to ensuring that reproductive health care remains safe, legal, and accessible for all who need it.
“Now more than ever, it is important for state elected officials across our country to stand by the residents we represent and enact laws that protect their rights to make their own reproductive decisions,” Governor Lamont said. “This is an issue of freedom, and the people of Connecticut can rest assured that we are doing everything in our ability to protect their reproductive rights. These new laws we’re enacting further safeguard the rights of all persons in Connecticut to access an abortion and the contraceptive care they choose.”
The governor specifically thanked the General Assembly’s Reproductive Rights Caucus – including its co-chairs, State Representative Matt Blumenthal (D-Stamford) and State Representative Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford) – for their strong commitment on this issue, and he pledged to continue working with them as the nationwide concern regarding reproductive rights continues to develop.
The new laws Governor Lamont signed include:
- Protecting medical providers from adverse actions taken by another state: Public Act 23-128 enacts a law protecting licensed medical providers in Connecticut from any adverse actions taken by another state as a result of a provider’s involvement in otherwise legal and competent reproductive health care services. This includes providing reproductive care services on behalf of a patient who arrives in Connecticut from a state where such care has been made illegal. In these situations, the law generally prohibits the suspending, revoking, or denying the renewal of a medical provider’s license or other credentials, so long as those providers are following Connecticut law. (Effective upon passage.)
- Allowing pharmacists to prescribe birth control: Public Act 23-52 enacts a law allowing pharmacists to prescribe certain types of birth control without patients first needing to visit their doctor as required under previous law. Enabling pharmacists to prescribe birth control will improve access to this medication, especially in rural and underserved areas where access to reproductive health care is limited. The law permits pharmacists to prescribe a hormonal contraceptive and emergency contraceptive only if they have completed an accredited educational training program related to the prescribing of hormonal contraceptives and emergency contraception. (Effective upon passage, pending the adoption of updated regulations from the Department of Consumer Protection.)
- Increasing access to reproductive care by college students at public institutions of higher education: Public Act 23-41 enacts a law requiring public higher education institutions with on-campus residences to develop a plan by January 1, 2024, that addresses students’ need for reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion, and gender-affirming care. The plan must address the availability of equipment and licensed health care providers to provide reproductive health care services on residential campuses or in the surrounding community; opportunities for providing reproductive health care; means for ensuring the continuity of care during holiday and vacation periods between semesters; and an estimate of the costs associated with plan implementation. Developing these plans at higher education institutions will ensure that these services are available to students who live on campus and depend on them for most of their living necessities, including food, housing, transportation, and other health care needs. Additionally, it will ensure these services are available to those students who are attending a public college in Connecticut and are from other states where such care is banned or otherwise restricted. (Effective July 1, 2023.)
- Protecting the privacy of patient health data online: Public Act 23-56 enacts a law establishing safeguards for the collection, sharing, and selling of personal health data by businesses and service providers operating online platforms in Connecticut that have the ability to collect personal information about an individual. This can include items such as internet searches, GPS tracking devices, and apps that keep track of a person’s health information. While this law protects a wide scope of personal health information, it explicitly includes safeguards regarding those on reproductive health. These standards will help individuals who are seeking health care information and services online trust that their personal data and information is secure and cannot be collected and used against them. (Effective July 1, 2023.)
Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said, “To watch the last five decades of progress in women’s equality chipped away since the fall of Roe has been incredibly disheartening, disappointing, and downright infuriating. But as so many states continued to roll back the clock, I’m proud that Connecticut has continued to push forward. Governor Lamont and I – with our fierce advocates, medical professionals, and legislators – are committed to ensuring that all patients in Connecticut have access to the care they need. We will not stop fighting.”
State Representative Gilchrest said, “I am so pleased to see Connecticut continue to prioritize reproductive health and rights. The legislation we passed this session, and that Governor Lamont signed into law, will strengthen protections for those seeking abortion care in our state, expand access to birth control and emergency contraception, and improve maternal healthcare in our state. As many states across the country are restricting reproductive healthcare, we continue to improve care.”
State Representative Blumenthal said, “This session, the Reproductive Rights Caucus led passage of a broad agenda of pathbreaking legislation both protecting and increasing access to reproductive healthcare. These laws expand on the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act of 2022 by protecting providers’ licenses, insurance, and credentials by extremist anti-choice officials in other states. They also expand access to birth control and emergency contraception, increase access to reproductive healthcare at higher education institutions, protect individuals’ data privacy, increase equity in maternal healthcare, and fight LGBTQ discrimination in health insurance coverage. We are proud to have worked with Governor Lamont and our colleagues on these significant milestones in the fight for reproductive justice. Connecticut will continue leading the way in ensuring access to these fundamental rights.”
Polly Moran, board chair of Pro-Choice Connecticut, said, “As a health care provider, I can attest to the importance of strengthening protections for providers and protecting the health data of patients. By expanding access and addressing the barriers faced by state residents seeking care, it is clear Connecticut is ready to meet this moment. We are incredibly proud that Connecticut continues to lead on behalf of protecting and expanding access to reproductive health care. When everyone is able to access the information, resources, coverage, and care we need, we build communities in which we can all participate with dignity and safety.”
Gretchen Raffa, vice president of public policy, advocacy, and organizing at Planned Parenthood Votes! Connecticut, said, “Connecticut continues to lead the fight for reproductive freedom with the passage of key legislation this past session to further protect and expand access to abortion and contraceptive care to people in our state. We are grateful to the Lamont administration and our legislative champions, including the Reproductive Rights Caucus, for taking bold action again this year to protect our health and rights. These policies are more critical than ever as we continue to face the devastating consequences of abortion bans and restrictions on both patient’s health and the greater health care ecosystem. We are committed to continue to fight alongside our elected champions and our coalition partners until everyone, including residents in our state and those who have to travel here for care, has the ability and the resources to have full control of their bodies, their health, and their lives.”