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As Supreme Court preserves abortion pill access, CT attorney general warns of legal challenges

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 pregnant people 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
FILE, 2024: In response to the Supreme Court's ruling to preserve access to mifepristone, Attorney General William Tong said, “This case is not over. They are going to stop at nothing to get a national ban on abortion. And they’re going to keep going.”

Connecticut’s attorney general says the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday to preserve access to mifepristone is a big victory for abortion rights, but that optimism is tempered for now.

The state’s law already ensures the right for people in Connecticut to get abortion care, including mifepristone, but the federal case threatened that. The medication is regularly used to end a pregnancy, including people having a miscarriage.

Attorney General William Tong was among the 24 attorneys general who filed an amicus brief this year defending access to mifepristone.

Since the ruling, he expressed concern about additional attacks on abortion rights, including anti-abortion advocates bringing forward new plaintiffs.

“This case is not over,” Tong said in an interview. “They are going to stop at nothing to get a national ban on abortion. And they’re going to keep going.”

The high court is separately considering the legality of Idaho’s abortion ban, which only allows doctors to perform abortions if the patient’s life is at risk.

The World Health Organization outlines abortion care as an essential health service.

Last year, Tong issued a formal opinion to clear up ambiguity for the right to access abortion in Connecticut. That included the ability to be prescribed mifepristone or have it insured by Medicaid – guidance which he says is “unchanged” by the federal opinion.

Tong said that’s a “firewall” designed to make abortion even safer and more accessible in the state.

“Patients are less free, and less safe, than they were before the Dobbs decision,” Tong said. “So we're not fine. And we need to make sure that Connecticut is there to protect the civil rights of everybody.”

This is the Supreme Court’s first abortion ruling since overturning Roe v. Wade two years ago. Abortion has been legal in Connecticut since 1990. People in the state have that right up to 24 weeks, or if a pregnant person’s health or life is in danger.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that 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.