Category Archives: Abortion

Blumenthal To Hold a Press Conference Monday at the Hobby Lobby Store Under Construction in Manchester

by Categorized: Abortion, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts chain at the center of a U.S. Supreme Court case over birth control and religious freedom, is expanding in Connecticut.

And with the Oklahoma-based business preparing to open three new stores in Connecticut later this year, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal has written to the firm’s CEO to ask that it provide full insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Blumenthal, who will hold a news conference Monday morning at the construction site of the Manchester Hobby Lobby store, said Connecticut law mandates that all health insurance coverage through group or individual policies must provide “coverage for prescription contraceptive methods approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.” During the press conference, he plans to release a letter he wrote to Hobby Lobby CEO David Green.

On June 30, in one of the most closely watched U.S. Supreme Court cases of the year, the court ruled 5-4 that closely held for-profit businesses have a right to exercise their religious beliefs. The owners of the Hobby Lobby chain are conservative Christians who believe certain types of birth control are immoral and, the company argued, providing employees access to such contraceptives would violate principles of religious freedom.

Blumenthal, a stauch defender of access to birth control and legal abortion, is cosponsoring legislation that overturn the Hobby Lobby decision and clarify “the intent of Congress to provide equal and broad health insurance coverage for all forms of FDA approved contraceptives.”

“Religious liberty is about the right to practice your own religion, not the right of bosses to impose religious beliefs on employees,” Blumenthal said. “I am calling on Hobby Lobby to do the right thing and provide full contraceptive coverage to its Connecticut employees. Connecticut residents have enjoyed a long history of respect for individual rights and I urge Hobby Lobby to comply with our state laws.”

Blumenthal will be joined at the press conference by Christian Miron, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut, Christine Palm, communications director for the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, Victoria Veltri, state healthcare advocate, Susan Yolen, vice-president for public policy and advocacy at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.

According to the Hobby Lobby website, the store on Buckland Street in Manchester is scheduled to open on Sept. 12. The chain is also planning to open a store on Farmington Avenue in Bristol on Oct. 3 and on the Boston Post Road in Milford on Oct. 10.

 

 

Weicker’s Words: Former Gov Calls CT GOP Irrelevant

by Categorized: Abortion, Gay Rights, Republicans Date:

Former Gov. and U.S. Senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr. branded the Connecticut Republican party irrelevant in a radio interview this morning.

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Speaking on WNPR’s “Where We Live,” the Republican-turned-independent said the state GOP  needs to stop taking its cues from an increasingly conservative national party.

 

“A Southern strategy does not work in the state of Connecticut,” Weicker said. “We’re not a religious right state. We’re not an anti-labor state. I think it’s more an understanding of what comprises Connecticut that is necessary.”

You can listen to the entire segment here.

But one prominent social conservative questioned what Weicker was talking about. PeterWolfgang

Peter Wolfgang, the executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said he cannot recall a time when the Connecticut GOP embraced the strategy Weicker was referring to.

“Was it when Jodi Rell signed gay civil unions into law? How about when Rob Simmons voted to keep partial-birth abortion legal? Maybe it was when Nancy Johnson voted AGAINST the Born Alive Infants Protection Act? Was that it?,” Wolfgang asked in a blog post published a few hours after the former governor’s radio interview.

“When was this mythical time when the CT GOP supposedly employed this strategy? Because we here at Family Institute of Connecticut are still waiting for our ‘irrelevant’ CT GOP to at least give it a try,” Wolfgang said.

Sandra Fluke Speaks At Trinity College

by Categorized: Abortion, Hartford, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Here is a report from Rose Lichtenfels, a Trinity College senior and Courant intern:

Attorney and women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke applauded U.S. Sen Richard Blumenthal’s newly introduced bill aimed to protect access to abortion in front of a crowd of nearly 100 students and community members at Trinity College on Thursday.

\"sandraFluke pointed to recently-enacted restrictive laws over women’s health in Texas and Wisconsin and said that some places still “insist on taking the progress women and men have both made and moving it backward.”

Blumenthal’s bill, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, would protect a woman’s access to abortion and other health services.

Fluke also advocated for more unified action along all marginalized groups. “We need to be speaking up on these social justice concerns and the fights that effect all of us. The [lesbian-gay-bi-transgendered] movement’s fight is really the same as the gender equality fight, similarly to the ways that sexism hurts and impacts men, not just women,” she said. Continue reading

Blumenthal Collects Award From Global Reproductive Rights Group At Star-Studded Gala

by Categorized: Abortion, Richard Blumenthal Date:

Citing his work \”defending the rights of women worldwide, the Center for Reproductive Rights honored U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal at a star-studded gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York Tuesday night.

Blumenthal and his wife, Cynthia Blumenthal, joined Joan Jett, Alfre Woodard and Katie Lee at the event, which raised nearly $1 million for the group.

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“I am proud to receive this award from the Center for Reproductive Rights, who tirelessly advocate on behalf of women’s health,\’\’ Blumenthal said in a press release announcing the award. \”Across the country, state legislatures are enacting at an unprecedented pace anti-choice legislation, and it is critical that we work together to turn back these efforts. Even in the wake of small victories in the Texas and Oklahoma courts, I believe we need a new approach to complement the work being done by litigators—an approach that is proactive and aggressive – seizing the initiative, rather than reacting defensively to this new onslaught of attacks on women’s health care and reproductive rights.\”

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Also honored Tuesday was Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Fund and the former prime minister of New Zealand.

The Center for Reproductive Rights is a legal advocacy group dedicated to advancing and defending reproductive rights worldwide. With expertise in both U.S. constitutional and international human rights law, the center works for strong legal protections for reproductive rights, as well as affordable and open access to reproductive health care.

 

 

 

Esty to Keynote NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut Fundraiser

by Categorized: Abortion, Elizabeth Esty Date:

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty is the keynote speaker for NARAL Pro-Choice Connecticut\’s annual fundraiser.

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The event, billed as \”a unique evening of drinks, New Haven-style pizza, pro-choice camaraderie, and a carnival atmosphere.\” will be held on Nov. 21 at the New England Carousel Museum in Bristol.

The group will present its Catherine Roraback award to attorney Nan Birdwhistell, the former first selectwoman of Woodbridge.

 

Wild Finish in the Wild West: Texas Abortion Filibuster Ends, Bill Dead

by Categorized: Abortion Date:

This blog normally covers events and politics in Connecticut, but the scene that unfolded late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning at the Texas state Capitol in Austin is so remarkable that it warrants discussion here.

AM Update: The abortion legislation is dead. Texas senators emerged around 3 a.m. CDT this morning and said that the vote did not begin before last night\’s midnight deadline.
Here\’s video from one camera in the rotunda of Texas Capitol, where Sen. Wendy Davis addressed supporters after the session finally ended. The real action starts at about the 25-minute mark. Careful, it\’s loud at some points.


Live video by Ustream

After Republicans in the Texas Senate declared the filibuster on a controversial abortion bill by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis finished at about 10 p.m. Central Daylight Time, hundreds of protesters packed into the upper galleries around the Senate chamber yelled and hollered and chanted so loudly and for so long that the Senate was unable to normally call its roll and appeared to miss its midnight deadline to vote on the legislation before the end of the state\’s special legislative session.

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Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who was presiding, repeatedly tried regain order of the chamber as cheers of \”WENDY! WENDY! WENDY!\” drowned out the voice of the secretary rattling off senators\’ names in an attempt to take a final vote on the bill.

But Dewhurst eventually appeared to give up, simply standing at the dais as Democrats swarmed toward him yelling and pointing at their legislative rulebooks. He even appeared to briefly leave the chamber a few minutes before midnight.

But then, as the final minute of Tuesday ticked away in Austin, most of the Senate appeared to gather around the secretary who apparently kept taking roll on the bill. Dewhurst announced a passing tally of 19-10 at 12:02 a.m. CDT but it is still not clear if that vote was a valid one.

The Texas Tribune and other media outlets reporting in Austin say that Republicans insist the vote began before the midnight deadline and therefore, it counts. But at this moment, at 2:54 a.m. EDT, senators have reportedly been called back into caucus to decide how they\’ll resolve the situation.

If the bill is approved and is signed by Republican Gov. Rick Perry, most abortion clinics in Texas would be forced to close. The Associated Press reports that women living along the states southern border would face a drive of hundreds of miles to get the procedure performed.

Davis, a Democrat from Ft. Worth, had begun speaking against the abortion measure at about 11:18 a.m. CDT, according to local press reports. Republicans declared her effort finished after 11 hours, saying she had thrice violated the chamber\’s filibuster rules by receiving aid from a fellow senator (bracing of her back) and by twice talking about topics that were not \”germane\” to the abortion bill.

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Republicans said Davis committed her third violation when she began speaking about a bill the legislature passed in 2011 requiring women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion, which leaders said was not germane to the discussion Tuesday night.

Democrats then launched into a flurry of parliamentary motions and questions that took nearly two hours to untangle. With about 10 minutes to go, one Democratic senator–fed up that her motion to adjourn had not been discussed–asked a final question of Dewhurst:

\”At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be heard over a male colleague?\” asked Sen. Leticia R. Van de Putte, D-San Antonio. 

Rather than answer her question or take any others, Dewhurst simply ordered the Senate secretary to begin a roll call. And so began the cacophony that plunged the Texas Senate into chaos.

Get more on this story here

FIC Criticizes Esty and the Connecticut GOP

by Categorized: Abortion, Republicans Date:

The Family Institute of Connecticut didn\’t much like the recent comments of U.S. Reps. Elizabeth Esty and Rosa DeLauro about a bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks or more.

Esty called the bill \”contemptuous towards women\’s health.\” But Peter Wolfgang, the FIC\’s executive director, said it was Esty who was \”contemptuous of the right to life of your fellow human beings.\”

In a post on the FIC\’s blog, Wolfgang also took a verbal swipe at the Connecticut Republican party:

\”All the post-election nonsense on how the GOP should drop social conservatism evaporated once the public was exposed to the horror of late-term (and \’post-birth\’) abortion during Kermit Gosnell’s trial. That is why the House was able to pass the Pain Capable Child Protection Act.

\”But why have we not heard a word from the CT GOP about the five Democratic Congressmen from our state who voted to sentence late-term unborn children to horrifying deaths? Is it because Andrew Roraback would have voted the same way?\”

Updated: DeLauro, Esty Slam 20-Week Abortion Bill in House

by Categorized: Abortion, Congress Date:

The U.S. House of Representatives gave approval Tuesday to a controversial abortion bill that would ban the procedure in almost all cases where the fetus is older than 20 weeks.

The measure cleared the House in a 228-196 vote Tuesday night, mostly along party lines. All five of Connecticut\’s representatives voted against it. As the Chamber took up the bill, both women in Connecticut\’s congressional delegation put out statements strongly condemning the legislation.

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“It’s offensive and, frankly, sad that House GOP leaders are once again debating one of our most fundamental rights as women,” Esty said Tuesday. “This legislation is a direct challenge to our reproductive rights. It’s contemptuous towards women’s health. And, it is a tremendous waste of time when we have serious work to do.\”

Democratic President Barack Obama has said that he would veto the bill, if it passes Congress. That\’s seems unlikely as leaders in the Democrat-controlled Senate have also signaled their opposition to the measure.

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“This blatantly unconstitutional legislation threatens the health and basic rights of women all over America,\” DeLauro said. \”Right now, we should be working to create jobs and grow the economy. Instead, here we are again with the Majority trying to insert their extreme and divisive ideological preferences into law.  This bill puts the federal government squarely between a woman and her doctor.

The Associated Press reports that 11 states have similar measures on their statute books.

Blumenthal marks 48th anniversary of landmark Griswold ruling

by Categorized: Abortion, Richard Blumenthal, Uncategorized Date:

Nearly half a century a landmark case involving Connecticut law established a constitutional right to privacy,  U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Tuesday that courts should protect women\’s access to contraception.

\"supremecourt_gavel\"The Democratic senator met with the ACLU and two reproductive rights groups to commemorate the ruling. He said in a statement that women have a right to get birth control.

\”Whatever the legal issues at stake, access to emergency contraceptives and other forms of birth control is, at its core, a human issue that intimately affects the lives of women and their families,\” said Blumenthal, a former state attorney general. Continue reading

Family Institute Links Newtown With Roe v. Wade

by Categorized: Abortion, Newtown Date:

The politics of Newtown, according to the FIC:

One week from this Tuesday the United States will mark the 40th anniversary of a Supreme Court decision that led to the legal killing of over fifty million of our fellow citizens. Here in Connecticut, it will be celebrated at the Capitol by all the forces in control of our state government–the same forces who are rightly horrified by the Newtown massacre but lack the ability or the will to make the connection between it and their own support for the culture of death.