Several times every month, protesters come to the New Haven Planned Parenthood of Southern New England office to hold signs and pray the rosary. Planned Parenthood serves about 64,000 Connecticut patients a year, though according to a recent annual report, abortions are only about six percent of its services. Most of the services revolve around providing contraceptive services and testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Last month, the federal Food and Drug Administration eased restrictions on the so-called abortion pill, also known as RU-486. The new rules allow women to use the drug later in their pregnancies with less visits to the doctor.
Imagine a business that doesn’t advertise the services it actually provides, lies to its customers and purposefully pretends to be something it’s not. Connecticut has no less than 27 such businesses in its crisis pregnancy centers, which claim to be medical establishments but are anything but. Within those centers, women are told outlandish lies about abortion, and are often pressured to carry the baby full-term. These are not crisis centers. They are fronts for the anti-abortion movement, but they refuse to advertise as such to their vulnerable clientele of women who must decide how to deal with an unintended pregnancy.
The Affordable Care Act is providing women with an impressive array of reproductive health care options – except where it doesn’t. Whether a woman is benefitting from the ACA depends very much on her address, and the rather complicated workings of state exchanges. But with some caveats, for Connecticut women, the law is working. We should take a moment to think about that. Connecticut women are in the unusual position of having an important political promise met.