A week ago, hundreds of people flooded to Hartford City Hall to address the Pregnancy Information and Disclosure Ordinance, introduced by Mayor Bronin. The ordinance would require any pregnancy services center to be forthright about the services they provide, and whether there are licensed medical providers on site.
The tension in the hallway outside the hearing room was deeply felt. We had been organizing for months documenting the deceptive practices of the CPC, quietly spreading the word in the community, writing, editing, and practicing testimony, and readying the community voices that needed to be heard. My hands were shaking and my voice was raspy as I signed my name on the list to speak first in the lineup of Hartford residents. Regular anti-choice protestors I see outside the clinic stood around the table calling out "Erica, why are you spending so much time looking at the list, what are you doing, Erica? Erica?"-- all in attempt to intimidate. I took a deep breath and said to myself, "Breathe. This is it. We've prepared and brought all the voices in this room. The community is behind you. You've got this."
Just before the doors of the hearing room opened, the chairman stood up on the table outside the door to address the crowd: residents first, non-residents second. The divide was clear: Outsiders showed up with an anti-choice agenda. Hartford residents showed up to support transparency and honesty. This is what they had to say...
Author: Erica Crowley, Organizer & Volunteer Coordinator, NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut and Hartford GYN Center