June 7, 2017
On the final day of the legislative session in Connecticut, the House of Representatives tabled debate without a vote on S.B. 586, An Act Expanding Mandated Health Benefits for Women, Children and Adolescents. S.B. 586 was intended to protect current ACA provisions for women’s preventive services with no cost sharing. The bill included coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive and sterilization methods. This legislation would have ensured that no matter what happens at the federal level, access to contraceptives and other vital medical care will be available through insurance plans to Connecticut women, regardless of income level.
The bill was introduced in the House by Representative Sean Scanlon (D), who spoke about the importance of passing this bill on the anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, a landmark case in the right for birth control. Representatives Liz Linehan (D) and Kelly Lunxenburg (D), both co-sponsors of the bill, also spoke eloquently about the fact that access to the healthcare covered by this bill is a human right.
State Representative Rob Sampson (R), then began to speak about insurance mandates raising costs. However, S.B. 586 only continues current provisions of the ACA. This bill would not raise costs. Preventive services, particularly contraceptive coverage, also help lower healthcare costs overall. Representative Sampson also filed an anti-choice parental notification amendment, at which point debate on the bill was tabled.
S.B. 586 was vital legislation for women in Connecticut. Copay-free coverage for contraception faces imminent threats from the Trump administration. This bill had nothing to do with abortion, and it is disheartening to see that in Connecticut one man can decide whether women in our state can access contraceptives.
We already have excellent protections for teens who are seeking abortion care, including mandatory counseling. These laws truly protect vulnerable young people. By contrast, the type of legislation proposed by Representative Sampson places vulnerable teens at risk from physical and emotional abuse, and exacerbates dangers young people may face.
Sarah Croucher, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut said, "We call on Connecticut legislators to find ways to build support for prioritize birth control coverage for women in our state. It is unconscionable that a single legislator was able to kill this bill. We urge Democrats and Republicans alike to protect contraceptive coverage and other women’s preventive care benefits in our state.”
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About NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, Inc.
The legislative arm of NARAL works to pass pro-choice legislation and defend against anti-choice legislation at the State Capitol, believing strongly that all women have the right to access the full range of reproductive choices including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion.