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Legislative leaders again seek to codify right to abortion in CT constitution

State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford)
Molly Ingram
State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest (D-West Hartford), chair of the Reproductive Rights Caucus.

Connecticut’s top Democratic lawmakers are in favor of amending the state’s constitution to codify the right to an abortion.

The proposal has not received support from a surprising group — leaders of the state’s Reproductive Rights Caucus say it’s not a priority this year.

A constitutional amendment requires support from 75% of the legislature and a vote from Connecticut residents. If the legislature passes the measure this year, it will appear on the November 2025 ballot.

Ten state constitutions — including Massachusetts and New Jersey — protect abortion rights, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) said he supports the amendment.

“What this amendment would do is it will project the values that we have here in the state of Connecticut. And it also is a defense to the extremism we see in the United States Supreme Court," Duff said.

But members of the Reproductive Rights Caucus disagree. At a legislative priorities press conference on Friday morning, they said the amendment is not necessary, because the right to an abortion is enshrined in state law.

State Representative Jillian Gilchrest (D- West Hartford), the caucus chair, said they’re focused on other priorities.

“It is not part of our priorities,” Gilchrest said. “We still don't believe it's necessary. If we were to move forward, we'd want to look at expanding the Equal Rights Amendment.”

Gilchrest said the caucus is instead focused on Medicaid provider reimbursement, equitable fertility coverage and the child tax credit.

The caucus has more than 60 members.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.