Press Releases

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz



(HARTFORD, CT) - Today, a caucus of 22 lieutenant governors representing more than 165 million people, led by Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, announced the formation of a Reproductive Freedom Coalition. The multi-state coalition will work together to protect and expand reproductive freedom and access to health care in the wake of unprecedented attacks following the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“I’m proud that Connecticut has historically been a national leader in the fight for reproductive justice. From the Griswold v. Connecticut decision in 1965, to codifying Roe v. Wade into state statutes in 1990, and most recently passing the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, Connecticut has stood strong against these attacks - but we cannot stand alone. Each of our states has individually advocated for impactful and innovative legislation to protect and expand access to women’s health care, and this coalition will work together to share best practices, and fight together against those wishing to restrict access to essential care” said Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz. “This is an important moment. Overturning Roe v. Wade was only the beginning, and as we await a decision from a federal court in Texas targeting the most commonly used method of abortion care, the need for states to stand firm with our patients and providers is clear.”

The lieutenant governors who have joined the coalition are:

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes

California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis

Connecticut Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz

Colorado Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera

Delaware Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long

Guam Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio

Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton

President of the Maine Senate Troy Jackson

Maryland Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll

Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist

Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan

New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver

New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales

New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado

Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan

Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis

Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos

Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman

Washington Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck

Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez

In the wake of extremist attacks on reproductive freedom in legislatures and courtrooms across the country, this coalition will serve as the firewall. Despite the unique nature of the situation in each state, this network will work as a united front to share model legislation and executive orders, methods protecting health care providers from prosecution, ways to maximize federal funds for reproductive health care, and means of support for manufacturers of abortion medication and contraception as they face legal uncertainty.

Quotes from Lieutenant Governors:

"California has a long history of protecting reproductive freedom and a woman’s right to choose, from enshrining the right to abortion and contraception in our state constitution to passing legislation expanding access to safe and affordable reproductive care for Californians and those who seek care here. I am proud to join Lieutenant Governors across the country who share our commitment to protecting the fundamental right to reproductive healthcare,” said California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis

“As a mother, grandmother, and the Lt. Governor of Colorado, I recognize the vital importance of protecting reproductive health rights across our country” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. “That is why I was so proud when Governor Polis signed the Reproductive Health Equity Act, protecting the right to an abortion in Colorado. We have also taken additional steps to defend individual health and reproductive freedoms and the privacy of women as they make personal choices with their doctor while also supporting and protecting healthcare professionals working to provide quality and equitable care.”

“Access to reproductive health services is an essential need for women. Without these services the impact can be devastating. As a nurse, I have seen what happens when women are denied these basic services and the freedom of choice. While we have taken important steps in Delaware to combat the rising threats against women's reproductive rights, we must continue to advocate here and nationally. In 2017, the General Assembly codified legal access to abortion into state law and in 2021, we removed outdated state laws that could be used to criminalize abortions,” said Delaware Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “It is paramount that state leaders work together to ensure that women have the freedom to make their own healthcare decisions. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was an offense to all women. We must lead by example in every State to ensure reproductive rights for women.”

"In 1970, three years before Roe v. Wade, Hawaii became the first state to legalize abortion, and we have continued to be at the forefront of efforts to protect and expand access to reproductive health care," said Hawaii Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke. "Now with reproductive rights under attack throughout our country, Hawaii has introduced legislation to protect out-of-state patients and providers who receive or perform abortions in Hawaii from being penalized. It would be a huge step forward in ensuring access to essential health care and securing reproductive freedom throughout the Aloha State."

“Reproductive freedom is under siege, from the overturning of Roe V. Wade to legislation proposed or passed throughout the nation to restrict access to healthcare procedures, ban gender affirming care or make it difficult for a person to make decisions about their bodies. The threat to life and the trauma these actions are causing is unacceptable, so we must lean forward and fight,” said Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton. “I am proud to join this collaborative coalition and continue the battle. This will be an extension of the commitment we have made in Illinois where we have become a beacon of hope and a path of access by signing into law protections for providers and expanding funding for reproductive healthcare. We cannot and will not go back.”

“The right to decide if and when to start a family is fundamental to who we are as Americans and our freedom. It’s a deeply personal decision — one that should not be made by politicians or justices with political agendas. In Maine, we fought to not just safeguard this right but ensure folks can actually exercise it. More than that, Maine has passed laws to improve access to birth control, ensure more new mothers can access postpartum care and help Mainers who want to become parents access fertility care," said Maine Senate President Troy Jackson. "Efforts to undermine reproductive freedom are anti-family, anti-Maine and anti-American. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues from across the country as a part of the Coalition to Protect Reproductive Freedom."

“In a post-Roe America, reproductive rights for millions hinge on Democratic leaders in the states. As lieutenant governors, we must work to ensure our states are safe havens for people to make their own reproductive health care decisions. This pact will allow us to remain a united front against attacks by extreme GOP to ban abortion,” said Maryland Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller.

“Massachusetts has a deep and proud history of standing up for reproductive freedom - from passing the Roe Act to enshrine abortion rights for our residents to standing up for the Buffer Zone Law to protect patients seeking care,’ said Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “I have been proud throughout my career to implement policies that expand and protect access to health care including abortion services, provide comprehensive sex education to our youth, and ensure access to menstrual products and birth control. At a time when access to reproductive health care is increasingly under attack, I am proud to stand with Lieutenant Governors across the country to fight for affordable, accessible abortion and health care for all.”

"As reproductive freedom is under attack across the nation, we are using every tool in our toolbox here in Michigan to ensure that women are the ones making decisions about their healthcare -- not politicians," said Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. "I am proud to stand with my fellow Lieutenant Governors in a coalition to protect and expand reproductive freedoms and critical healthcare services for Americans in communities across our nation. I look forward to building on this partnership and working together to ensure that everyone can access reproductive healthcare -- no matter who they are or where they live."

“Minnesota remains committed to protecting reproductive health care and access to abortion in the Midwest," said Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. "As the mom of a daughter and a lifelong advocate for children and families, I know that deciding if and when to start a family is deeply personal to every individual. I am fighting for the generations of women and advocates who came before me, to protect my daughter's rights and those who will come after her. I'm proud to stand with fellow lieutenant governors in this work."

“We are stronger together and we are sending an unequivocal message that we will continue to protect the right to abortion healthcare,” said New York Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “Despite deadly restrictions to reproductive services across the country, there will continue to be states that rigorously defend the right to choose. New York is proud to be one of those states and we’re proud to work in partnership with others to protect abortion rights.”

“Every Pennsylvanian should have the right to bodily autonomy and the freedom to make their own personal decision about whether or not to have a child,” said Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis. “What we’re seeing in other states – women who have received the worst news of their lives and have then been forced to wait weeks and travel hundreds of miles to obtain abortion care, women who have nearly died because they couldn’t get necessary care, women who are being sued for helping their friends access abortion care – is precisely what reproductive justice advocates had warned would happen. Right now abortion care is safe and accessible in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and Governor Josh Shapiro and I will always protect reproductive freedom.”

"Just a few years ago, Rhode Island finally enshrined our right to choose in state law after a hard-fought battle led by multiple generations of activists. We won't let extremists turn back the clock and take those freedoms away," said Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos. "I'm proud to fight for reproductive choice in every corner of America, whether as part of a national movement with other lieutenant governors or here at home with the passage of Rhode Island's Equality in Abortion Coverage Act."

“I am proud of Vermonters for overwhelmingly passing a constitutional amendment to enshrine reproductive liberty and bodily autonomy into our State Constitution,” said Vermont Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman. “Our state has a long and proud history of protecting individual rights, and this vote confirmed that Vermonters believe that decisions about one’s body and health are not for the Government to decide. Our State Legislature also just passed a shield law to make sure that our healthcare providers are protected from professional disciplinary action by other states for providing abortion services. Restricting access to reproductive healthcare not only infringes on a person’s capacity for self-determination, but it also restricts their economic mobility and opportunity to live a fruitful life. This is oppression that we are morally obligated to fight against. It is an honor to join my colleagues to stand up for reproductive liberty and all that it represents, from economic to social justice and equity.”

“Let us be clear that the attacks on reproductive rights are coordinated and have only intensified since Roe was struck down. Lives are at risk every single day,” said Washington Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck. “I’m proud Washington voters have long ensured reproductive health care is legal in our state and I’ll always fight to protect these rights. We cannot sit idly while the assault continues. We are called to go forward, not backwards. I’m proud to stand with lieutenant governors across the country in steadfast support and commitment of reproductive rights for all people no matter their zip code.”

“Every person deserves the right to make their own reproductive health care decisions without interference from elected officials who know nothing about their faith, their family, or their circumstances,” said Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Sara Rodriguez. “As a nurse and public health professional, I have witnessed the devastating effects for women and families who do not have access to a full range of reproductive care including prenatal, contraception, infertility, and abortion care. In Wisconsin, the assault on women continues through efforts to uphold the state’s unconstitutional and dangerous 1849 abortion ban, restrict access to contraception, outlaw medication abortion, and criminalize nurses and doctors for doing their jobs. To those seeking freedom and bodily autonomy—whether you’re a young professional deciding how to begin your career, a couple choosing when to start a family, or a mom raising your kids my message is simple: we respect reproductive rights in Wisconsin and in America. I am proud to stand with my colleagues across the country and will continue fighting to guarantee reproductive freedom in every state and for every person.”
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Contact: Sam Taylor