LETTER: Fazio Can’t Be Trusted with Our Reproductive Healthcare

Submitted by Sheila Phelan, Cos Cob

For all of my adult life I have had the ability to make my own choices for reproductive healthcare. These were hard won rights, and most of us never thought they would be taken away. But the SCOTUS Dobbs decision changed all of that that for many people in this country and it could just as easily happen in Connecticut. Currently, our legislators are protecting our abortion rights, but that could change depending on who we elect on November 8. It is more important than ever to pay attention to the people running for office. Listen not only to what they say, but what they do, including voting records.

I support Democrat Trevor Crow for Connecticut State Senate in district 36 and here’s why: CT Republicans have submitted over 30 bills since 2014 to limit reproductive access in our state. Local candidates currently running on the Republican ticket, including incumbent state senate senator and candidate Ryan Fazio, claim they will uphold CT law and that abortion in CT is rock solid.

I am not seeing it. In the debates during his special election run for state senate last year, Mr. Fazio dismissed questions about abortion with the standard GOP “it’s settled law”. Not an issue. We know how that went. This year, since Dobbs, he says he is for keeping abortion legal. Well, what does that mean exactly? Many states have gestational bans, and they are now legal. He needs to be specific. He says he wouldn’t change the current law in Connecticut, but that doesn’t mean he would vote yes to protect it. And he hasn’t answered the question about whether he would support an amendment to the state constitution to codify abortion rights. You know – the way they did it in Kentucky.

It might be that in his heart of hearts Ryan Fazio is fully pro-choice. But the one chance he had to strengthen women’s reproductive rights here in CT, he failed. Mr. Fazio voted against the Reproductive Freedom Defense Act, which prevents other states from extraditing and prosecuting those seeking abortions in CT.

Mr. Fazio said he was opposed to anyone but doctors providing abortion services. More than 90 percent of abortions in the U.S. take place in the first trimester and many of the procedures are done with medication and not surgically. Plus, at least 19 states allow this practice and have for many years. This was clearly a have-it-both ways ruse. A way to vote no that seemed like a protection but really was a way to vote no. And we see through it. He is fine to partner with extremists like Leora Levy, who if elected would vote to enact a federal abortion ban, to pander to the base.

Then he’s wishy-washy in front of his greater constituency, which includes thousands of women who are horrified by the Dobbs decision and angry that rights were taken away.

We know that in the states where complete or near complete abortion bans have occurred since Dobbs, some were based on laws that had been on the books for a century or more. (Go progress!) In other cases, such as Texas, abortion access was whittled away for exactly the kind of reasons Mr. Fazio voted no on the RFDA: the facility must be x number of miles from a hospital, requiring ultrasounds, cutting funding, and banning insurance coverage. And on and on until now in Texas there is a bounty on the head of any woman who gets an abortion or anyone who helps a woman to obtain one.

That ‘only doctors should perform abortions’ no vote was a big red flag. Having seen what happens in other states, can we trust someone who tries to pull this in Connecticut? I think the answer to that is no.

Women’s reproductive autonomy; LGBTQ civil rights, including the right to marry; voting rights and election integrity. All of these hard-won legal protections are currently threatened by today’s GOP. SCOTUS could push more of the federally protected rights back to the states. We don’t need someone in Hartford who seems nice but when it comes down to it fails to protect us. We do need Trevor Crow, who is also nice. She will not equivocate. She will be forthright and clear.

She will introduce an amendment to the state constitution to protect abortion rights in CT. These rights are not on the fringe. They are not ‘well yes maybe’ but what about inflation. We need someone with a backbone who will stand firm for our freedoms while also tackling the economic, healthcare, local control, and public safety challenges CT faces – and is making great progress with – today. It’s not either / or. It’s all of the above. You don’t have to choose one over the other if you vote for choice. If all of these things are priorities for you, and they should be, Trevor Crow is that person. Vote for her.

NOTE: The deadline for submitting letters to the editor regarding the Nov 8, 2022 election is Nov 1 by 12:00 noon.