ACCESS TO ABORTION AND CONTRACEPTION
Young or old, rich or poor, queer or straight: reproductive healthcare is for everyone. However, a woman's demographic background may affect her ability to access safe, reliable contraception and abortions. In Connecticut, our legal system grants certain groups differential access to reproductive healthcare. Sometimes these laws empower women, sometimes they bring back the anti-choice specters of the past. This page outlines how these laws treat certain groups of women in our state.
Young Women’s Access to Abortion
Although minors can get abortions without parental notification or consent, Connecticut requires young women to receive abortion counseling prior to receiving an abortion.
A young woman under age 16 may not obtain abortion care without receiving counseling from a physician, nurse, physician's assistant, clergy member, or qualified counselor who must:
- explain that the information is intended neither to persuade the girl to have an abortion nor to carry the pregnancy to term.
- explain to the girl that if she does decide to have an abortion, she can change her mind at any time before the abortion. If she decides not to have an abortion, she can change her mind at any time during which she can have a legal abortion, i.e., before viability of the fetus.
- explain all of the available alternatives to having an abortion and the agencies that can assist her with these alternatives.
- explain to the girl that she can get birth control information from public and private agencies and that she can have a list of these agencies.
- discuss the possibility of involving the girl’s parents or other adult family members in her decision on the pregnancy.
- give the girl a chance to ask questions about pregnancy, abortion, and child care. The counselor must give her the information she wants or tell her where she can get it.
The patient must provide proof of compliance with state law (usually a signed document from the counselor) to receive the abortion. Exceptions are granted in medical emergency situations. (CGS § 19a-602(a), (b)), Enacted 1990; Last Amended 1996); 19a-601 (Enacted 1990).
Low Income Women
Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion
Connecticut’s Medicaid programs for adults fully cover the cost of an abortion. For minors, Medicaid covers the cost of abortions in cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s life.
The Hyde Amendment prohibits any funds allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services from being used to pay for abortions unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger. Because Medicaid is funded by this department, under federal law most abortions are not covered by this program. Additionally, Title XIX of the Social Security Act stipulates that payments made to the state under the Act can only be used to pay for an abortion if it is "necessary to save the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or incest" (42 U.S.C. 1397ee(c)(1)). However, this piece of legislation does not regulate a state's allocation of its own dollars, meaning that under federal law states can fund abortions as long as they do not use federal funds to do so (42 U.S.C. 1397ee(c)(7)).
In Connecticut, the Superior Court decided in Doe v. Maher (40 CONN. SUPP. 394, 1986) that state regulations restricting payment of abortions were unconstitutional because they violated due process, equal protection, and the state’s equal rights amendments. As a result, the Department of Social Services is required to give all four of Connecticut’s Medicaid-managed programs a capitated rate to include abortions in the bundle of medical services they provide. The three Medicaid programs for adults fully cover abortions that do not meet the provisions of the Hyde Amendment (Conn. Agency Regs. §§ 17b-262-338). Husky B, the Medicaid program for minors, covers abortions in cases of rape, incest, or where the mother’s life is threatened (Conn. Agency Regs. § 17b-262-341).
For more information: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2010/rpt/2010-R-0136.htm
Survivors of Sexual Assault
Emergency Contraception for Rape Victims
Connecticut law requires all licensed health care facilities to give accurate and comprehensive information on available contraceptives to survivors of sexual assault (a survivor of sexual assault is defined by the state as a woman who says she has been injured as a result of a sexual offense). These facilities are legally obligated to provide emergency contraception (eg. Plan B) to a survivor of sexual assault upon her request.