BARRO: Representative Fiorello is Misleading Us on Reproductive Rights

Submitted by Jen Barro, MD, Greenwich

Kimberly Fiorello would have us believe that she voted against the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (HB5414) in order to protect our safety. This bill, that passed this year with bipartisan support, expands access to abortion in Connecticut by permitting certain non-physician clinicians to perform non-surgical (aspiration and medication) abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This convention is endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the premier professional organization responsible for OB-GYN practice guidelines. Fifteen other states permit this and there is evidence for safety. As Dr Saud Anwar, a physician and State Senator, noted (time stamp 6:07:00), the CT Department of Public Health, the American Public Health Association, and ACOG are all on board with HB5414. This Act will help decrease the current two week waiting times in our state for time-sensitive medical care.

During the recent Round Hill Association debate (time stamp 49:00), Ms Fiorello leaned into a narrative about her ‘Democrat’ colleagues who voted no on HB5414 along with her. In truth, 14 of 97 House Democrats voted no, and notably, but not mentioned, seven of her Republican colleagues in the House voted yes. Ms Fiorello also failed to tell us that most of the Democrats who opposed the bill, did so primarily on racial inequity grounds, not safety concerns, with a few of her colleagues recounting a fraught history of disparate reproductive pressures on women of color.

Ms Fiorello’s empty promise during the debate, “There is not one Republican legislator who wants to make abortion illegal in Connecticut,” leaves us wondering about all the ways legislators can restrict abortion access short of “making it illegal.” In fact, over a dozen bills and amendments have been introduced in CT in the past 7 years that could hinder abortion access.

We have seen other states impose waiting periods or even completely ban abortions after 6 weeks – effectively prohibiting the procedure 2 weeks after a missed period. These restrictions would be consistent with Ms Fiorello’s “promise.”

Kimberly Fiorello’s wake of no votes on issues important to women – such as improving breast cancer screening coverage, enhancing domestic violence protections, promoting gender pay equity, and protecting abortion access – proves that she is no champion for women or reproductive rights. She does not deserve to be reelected.

Jennifer Barro, MD
Greenwich Resident

The deadline to submit letters to the editor for the Nov 8 election is Nov 1 at 12:00 noon.