Cannot Abide by Fazio & Fiorello’s “Galling Deception” on CT Pro-Choice Legislation

Submitted by State Reps. Matt Blumenthal (D-147) and Jillian Gilchrest (D-18), Co-Chairs of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Reproductive Rights Caucus

We generally don’t comment on other campaigns’ statements. But as Co-Chairs of the Reproductive Rights Caucus and the primary authors of HB 5414, the Connecticut Reproductive Freedom Defense Act (RFDA), we cannot abide the falsehoods spread by at least two candidates about our state’s nation-leading law in defense of abortion rights and reproductive healthcare. In particular, we have been alerted to false statements in a mailer by Sen. Ryan Fazio and in at least one debate by State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello.

State Rep Matt Blumenthal (D-147), co-chair of CT General Assembly Reproductive Rights Caucus, at the Bans Off Our Bodies rally in Stamford. May 15, 2022

First, Fazio’s mailer claimed that “6 health organizations” opposed the RFDA. This claim is categorically false. To the contrary, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the licensing organization responsible for physicians who provide obstetric care), the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the Chief of Yale School of Medicine’s Family Planning Section, and the Connecticut Hospital Association all supported the RFDA as improving healthcare quality, safety, and access. They were joined by a host of other organizations, experts, and providers, including Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, Pro-Choice CT (formerly NARAL), and NOW-CT. These organizations’ support was discussed extensively in the RFDA’s floor debate.

Second, the Fazio mailer claims that the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act “lowered standards of care.” Similarly, in her debate, Fiorello claimed that it would make women unsafe. These claims, too, are false.

The relevant provision allows certain advanced healthcare practitioners, including APRNs, nurse-midwives, and PA-Cs, to perform first-trimester abortion care to the same standard of care as physicians.

Data from the 15 other states that previously passed the same measure shows that these practitioners have the same or better outcomes for this care compared to physicians. The RFDA will increase the quality and safety of care by decreasing wait times. Abortion already is one of the safest medical procedures available.

In addition to being false, the mailer’s claim is also deeply uninformed and insulting to the thousands of advanced practitioners who provide vital, excellent care to our residents every day. Those practitioners do not provide “lower standards of care.” Indeed, many of them have the same or more training and experience in their areas of obstetric care than most physicians.

The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act increased access to reproductive healthcare and protected those who provide and receive it from out-of-state legal attack. That’s why every women’s rights and reproductive healthcare organization in our state—and Sen. Fazio and Rep. Fiorello’s pro-choice Republican colleagues—supported it.

Instead of joining them, Sen. Fazio and Rep. Fiorello voted to allow extreme anti choice states like Texas to sue or prosecute Connecticut healthcare providers, residents, and those who come here for care.

To claim that vote was one for “women’s health and safety” and to “keep abortion legal in CT” isn’t just dead wrong—it’s galling deception.

As legislators, Sen. Fazio and Rep. Fiorello are entitled to oppose legislation protecting abortion rights in Connecticut. But they should not be allowed to so egregiously misrepresent it to avoid accountability from voters for that decision. The Reproductive Freedom Defense Act improves access to abortion care and protects reproductive healthcare in our state. Sen. Fazio and Rep. Fiorello voted against it.

State Reps. Matt Blumenthal and Jillian Gilchrest are the Co-Chairs of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Reproductive Rights Caucus.