Connecticut

In 2021, NIRH built on its multi-year efforts with Health Equity Solutions (HES) to continue to advance reproductive equity in Connecticut. HES led the charge to pass a bill to expand health equity and address growing racial disparities in reproductive health care in 2021. Through the doula coalition which HES is a critical part of, NIRH supported doulas in highlighting the critical need for safety during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the post-partum period, especially for Black and Latinx people and infants who experience a dramatically disproportionate share of poor birth outcomes in a state where the maternal mortality rate for Black residents is rising at an alarming pace. Together, NIRH and HES strategized with the Departments of Public Health and Social Services to advance the process of ensuring doula care can be covered by Medicaid in Connecticut.  In 2020, NIRH worked with Health Equity Solutions, Hartford GYN Center, and Pro-Choice Connecticut to promote proactive reproductive freedom legislation. Pro-Choice Connecticut and Hartford GYN Center led the way on measures to prevent anti-abortion pregnancy centers from engaging in deceptive and harmful advertising, and to ensure that abortion is accessible and covered by insurance. Health Equity Solutions, in keeping with its core mission, promoted health care policies intended to address racial disparities in health care access and outcomes in Connecticut, including Medicaid-covered access to doulas.    In 2019, Health Equity Solutions, Pro-Choice Connecticut, and Hartford GYN Center partnered with NIRH to promote an ambitious package of proactive reproductive freedom legislation, including measures that would prevent fake clinics from engaging in deceptive and harmful advertising and ensure that abortion is accessible and covered by insurance. All three organizations are members of the CT Coalition for Choice, which held an effective lobby day that featured advocacy and testimony workshops for medical students, clinic escorts, and other grassroots supporters. Health Equity Solutions prioritized a bill for the certification and funding for Doula care coverage in Medicaid. Through this advocacy and with NIRH’s support, Health Equity Solutions built their expertise and were able to direct some of the work in the Doula effort in Connecticut.