In May 2022, Governor Lamont signed Public Act 22-19, expanding Connecticut's abortion statute, creating a first-in-the nation law that provides important protections for medical providers and patients seeking abortion care in the state. Now in effect, Public Act 22-19: (1) allows a broader class of health care providers to perform certain abortion-related care, (2) maintains confidentiality regarding communications and information shared between patients and health care providers, and (3) provides additional legal protections for Connecticut abortion providers and those traveling to Connecticut for abortion care. In line with this new law's commitment to expanded access and patient privacy, the state launched a reproductive rights website and phone line in early August with information and resources related to individuals' privacy and other rights regarding pregnancy, abortion, and abortion-related care.
Public Act 22-19 expands abortion access in Connecticut by increasing the number of health care providers eligible to perform certain abortion-related care, among whom include, advanced practice clinicians, registered nurses, nurse-midwives, and physician assistants. The law also prohibits the disclosure of patients' medical information related to reproductive health care services, without the patient's written consent. It is important to note that the law includes several exceptions to this written consent requirement. These exceptions include, (a) state or court rules that permit disclosure without written consent, (b) instances in which the information or communications are provided to an attorney or professional liability insurer to combat claims against the health care provider, (c) claims of suspected abuse of a child, elderly individual, or individuals who are physically or intellectually disabled, and (d) public health investigations conducted by the Commissioner of Public Health.
The law additionally establishes several protections for abortion providers and those traveling to Connecticut for abortion care against lawsuits and harassment from other states. Connecticut tribunals are now prohibited from issuing subpoenas requested by another state relating to reproductive health care services. Connecticut judges are also prohibited from issuing summons based on pending prosecution or a grand jury investigation of an individual, requested by another state and relating to the assistance or receipt of reproductive health care services. Finally, the law prohibits public agencies or employees, appointees, officers, officials, or individuals acting on behalf of a public agency from expending time, money, and resources (e.g. facilities, property, equipment, etc.) in the furtherance of any interstate investigation or proceeding to impose civil or criminal liability on an individual or entity for seeking assistance or assisting others with reproductive health care services.
In addition to this new law, the state has developed a new reproductive rights website replete with information for individuals in English and Spanish on their rights to an abortion, community resources, transportation and travel, paying for an abortion, and how to help protect privacy relating to reproductive health care services. For example, on the state's portal dedicated to abortion rights in Connecticut, individuals are provided with instructions on using "incognito" or "private" browsing to look up information relating to pregnancy or abortions if they wish to maintain confidentiality while using shared electronic devices. For more information relating to privacy and confidentiality related to reproductive health care, please review the following tools provided by the state:
- Keep Your Abortion Private & Secure
- Security and Privacy Tips for People Seeking An Abortion
- Security and Privacy Tips for Those Involved in Abortion Access
- Surveillance Self-Defense: Tips, Tools, and How-Tos for Safer Online Communications
The state also launched an "infoline" phone line at 1-866-CTCHOICE (1-866-282-4642), which people can call for information about reproductive rights and providers in Connecticut.
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