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CT leaders speak out as Supreme Court again confronts issue of abortion access

Attorney General William Tong speaks out with state leaders at the State Office Building as The Supreme Court is considering a new abortion case affecting women across the U.S. The high court in arguments may ratify a ruling from a conservative federal appeals court that would limit access to a medication, mifepristone. Hartford, Connecticut March 26, 2024.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Attorney General William Tong speaks alongside leaders at the State Office Building as The Supreme Court considers a new abortion case affecting women across the U.S. Hartford, Connecticut, March 26, 2024.

Connecticut leaders are speaking out against a case before the U.S. Supreme Court to limit access to mifepristone, an oral medication used in the majority of abortions.

In nearly 90 minutes of arguments, a consensus appeared to emerge that the abortion opponents who challenged the FDA's approval of the medication and subsequent actions to ease access to it lack the legal right, or standing, to sue.

Tuesday’s arguments mark the court’s first abortion case since conservative justices overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, ending the constitutional right to an abortion.

Connecticut will continue to be on the offense to keep abortion legal, safe and accessible in the state, said Attorney General William Tong.

“We're going to be in every fight - any court, any time, any place,” Tong said. “State court, federal court, district court, court of appeals, U.S. Supreme Court and if necessary, in the streets, to protect women, patients, doctors, nurses, health care.”

In January, Tong joined a multi-state coalition of 24 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court defending access to the medication.

The court’s decision on the case is expected by early summer.

Mifepristone was used in almost two-thirds of abortions last year. Patients can get a prescription through telehealth and have it delivered by mail.

Connecticut law secures the right to abortion care. Gretchen Raffa, with Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said mifepristone continues to be safe and effective.

“This important medication has helped ensure that patients are able to make their own private medical decisions and has expanded access to reproductive health care, something that is under dire threat in our country,” Raffa said.

Liz Gustafson, director of Reproductive Equity Now tells of her personal experience with medication abortion with state leaders at the State Office Building as The Supreme Court is considering that would limit access to a medication, mifepristone. Hartford, Connecticut March 26, 2024.
Joe Amon
/
Connecticut Public
Liz Gustafson, director of Reproductive Equity Now tells of her personal experience with medication abortion as state leaders at the State Office Building as The Supreme Court is considering a new abortion case affecting women across the U.S. that would limit access to a medication, mifepristone. Hartford, Connecticut March 26, 2024.

Liz Gustafson, Connecticut state director of Reproductive Equity Now, said that access has been important on a personal level.

“I made a decision that was best for my circumstances, my health and my future,” Gustafston said. “And because I knew I wanted to have a medication abortion, and in the comfort and privacy of my own home, I will forever be grateful for my ability, and quite frankly, privilege, to access the abortion care that I envisioned for myself.”

Comprehensive abortion care is an essential health service, according to the World Health Organization, and Shantae Shaw with the Hartford GYN Center said the barriers to care are unequally distributed among people due to structural inequalities.

“Including Black and brown people, our LGBTQI+ communities, young people, immigrants and those living in rural areas and people working to make ends meet,” Shaw said. “When a person decides to end a pregnancy, they deserve to decide where, when and how to end that pregnancy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla Savitt focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. Michayla has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that she was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.