HARTFORD — A network of volunteer private attorneys will help provide free legal guidance to both in-state and non-residents seeking access to abortion and other reproductive services under Connecticut’s “safe harbor“ law, Attorney General William Tong announced on Tuesday.
Tong, in a news conference in the State Office Building with about 30 advocates and lawmakers, said last spring’s US Supreme Court decision overturning 50 years of national abortion rights has changed the legal landscape in many ways, some of which might not be known until time passes and elections are decided.
A federal judge has ordered Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to testify as part of a class action lawsuit brought by nonprofit abortion funds.
Abortion funds are asking the court for an injunction that would prohibit defendants from punishing organizations that facilitate abortion care outside Texas, according to court documents.
The funds are suing Paxton, several district attorneys and county attorneys in their official capacities.
The lawsuit alleges that statements made by Paxton violate the abortion funds’ First Amendment right to speak about and fund abortion care. The funds also allege their ability to facilitate out-of-state abortions, which are protected by the right to interstate travel, will be restricted, according to court filings.
Plaintiffs are Fund Texas Choice, The North Texas Equal Access Fund, The Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, Frontera Fund, The Afiya Center, West Fund, Jane’s Due Process, Clinic Access Support Network and Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi, an abortion provider.
Nearly all abortions have ceased in Texas after the US Supreme Court issued a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, ending federal protections for abortion rights. Abortions in Texas are prohibited in nearly all circumstances, with exceptions such as when the mother’s life or health is in danger.
A so-called trigger law banning abortions at all stages of pregnancy went into effect on Aug. 25, criminalizing providing abortion care and making it a first-degree felony if the abortion is complete or a second-degree felony if the fetus survives.
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After passage by the Indiana General Assembly, the state’s near-total abortion ban was signed late Friday by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
The law bans abortion except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies and when the life of the pregnant person is at danger.
Republicans attempted to remove the exceptions, but failed. The law goes into effect Sept. 15.
Indiana has approved a near-total ban on abortion that will take effect Sept. 15, making the state the first in the nation to pass sweeping abortion restrictions since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced late Friday he had signed the measure, known as Senate Bill 1, within an hour of its passage, capping a marathon day that saw both chambers pass the bill outlawing abortion except for several narrow exceptions.
“Following the overturning of Roe, I stated clearly that I would be willing to support legislation that made progress in protecting life,” Holcomb said. “In my view, (the bill) accomplishes this goal following its passage in both chambers of the Indiana General Assembly with a solid majority of support.”
Prior to the law, Indiana abortion providers reported treating patients coming from other states with existing abortion bans. That made international news when a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio received abortion care in Indiana.
Indianapolis OBG/YN Dr. Caitlin Bernard shared the girl’s story and spoke out strongly against the bill as it made its way through the General Assembly earlier this week.
“I am deeply disturbed by the bill being considered by the Indiana legislature,” Bernard said on Twitter. “I’ve practiced medicine for 12 years and follow a code of ethics, so I know medicine is not about exceptions. Every person deserves to have equal access to the best medical care.”
The Indiana Senate heard public testimony on a proposed abortion bill Monday, with passionate pleas from both anti-abortion rights and abortion-rights advocates.
Monday’s testimony comes prior to the legislature’s vote on Senate Bill I, which is slated for Tuesday at 1 pm
The proposed bill would ban all abortions in the state from the moment of conception, with exceptions for rape, incest, threats to the health of the mother, or due to fatal fetal abnormalities.
The bill would not hold women accountable, criminally, but rather those who perform abortions outside of these exceptions.
While testimony began, abortion-rights protesters could be heard from outside the Statehouse in Indianapolis, where the hearing took place.
Vice President Kamala Harris also came to Indianapolis in preparation for the legislature’s Tuesday vote, meeting with lawmakers to discuss the bill.
Dozens of Indiana residents shared testimony before state senators, calling for changes to the bill, some arguing for more restrictions, and others pleading for less.
On both sides, much of the hourslong testimony pointed to vagueness within the proposed law.
Several doctors tested that they or their colleagues will become fearful of performing abortions and potentially put their patients at risk.
“We want emergency physicians to be able to provide life-saving interventions and treatments consistent with the standard of care without fear of prosecution,” Daniel Elliott, an emergency physician, said during the hearing.
Amy Caldwell, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Indiana, testified to the same sentiment, adding that it’s important for