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Abortion Tourism on Taxpayer Dime

Connecticut is the latest state to pay for non-residents’ abortions. ​

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, shown in this file photo in his Hartford office, has pledged to sign the abortion bill into law. (Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Connecticut is the latest state to join what is becoming a very lucrative business: taxpayer-supported abortion tourism. In a gift to their campaign supporters at Planned Parenthood, state Democratic lawmakers, including Representative Matt Blumenthal, co-chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Reproductive Rights Caucus, proposed establishing a fund to cover the costs for out-of-state residents who travel to Connecticut for abortion. 

Joining New York, California, and other states that are advertising their abortion tourism packages to those living in states with abortion restrictions, Connecticut’s proposed “Safe Harbor” program promises to provide funds to pay for the abortions and abortion-related expenses of all who apply.
Congratulating his fellow Democrats on their hospitality at the expense of Connecticut’s taxpayers, pro-abortion Governor Lamont lauded State Treasurer Erick Russell’s fledgling Safe Harbor law last year as a first step in the state’s commitment to abortion tourism. While the Hartford Courant reports Lamont wants to “take a look at the fiscal note of the proposed program before commenting,” it is clear that Connecticut’s pro-abortion lawmakers are likely to embrace yet another program to benefit some of their biggest donors: the state’s abortion providers.

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Abortion tourism as a phenomenon began in the years before Roe v. Wade, shortly after New York State had repealed its laws criminalizing abortion in 1970. More than 100,000 women had traveled to New York City for abortions by 1972, more than half of whom traveled over 500 miles. New York was the destination of choice for women seeking to procure abortions, as the state offered both abortions and pre- and post-abortion services to out-of-state residents.

New York’s current Governor Kathy Hochul is trying to replicate those days, pronouncing “Lady Liberty” here to welcome all abortion seekers to her state. Hochul knows that abortion tourism will bring a financial windfall to abortion providers in her state and the politicians who support them.

Hochul is not the only governor whose state is in the abortion-tourism business. California’s Governor Gavin Newsom purchased billboard advertisements in seven states with restrictive abortion bans to recruit women to come to California for their abortion services. Placed along the highways in Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Oklahoma, Newsom told the Washington Post that the billboards are meant to communicate to women that “We care, they matter, and we’re not going to turn our backs on them because they’re from another state.”    

In fact, the practice of state-sponsored abortions for out-of-state residents has become so ubiquitous that comedian Amy Schumer produced a skit touting the practice in Colorado. Wearing a cowboy hat, Schumer stood with the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, promising that “Whatever experience you’re looking for, you can find it here—in Colorado. But we’re more than just beautiful wilderness. We also have bustling town centers and access to all the services you need... All as legal as a fresh cup of cocoa is refreshing.” Highlighting the women who successfully traveled to the state to kill their unborn children, the Schumer skit was widely derided by pro-life organizations and individuals.

Schumer's skit suggests the practice has become normalized, making it easy to forget the casualties of abortion tourism, namely, the thousands of unborn children who were aborted and the women whose lives were destroyed by deciding to kill their own children. That is precisely what concerns the pro-life community in Connecticut. The Safe Harbor program would make all of Connecticut’s taxpayers complicit in financing the killing of unborn children. While a few state Republican lawmakers have timidly questioned the public financing of the program, their protests have focused more on the idea of paying for healthcare for those living outside the state than on paying for abortions. Democratic lawmakers claim that the impact to the state’s budget would be “nominal,” but Republican Representative Vin Candelora told reporters that “I have concerns…of us creating policies that are paying for people outside of the state of Connecticut to receive our services, when they’re not paying taxes in the state of Connecticut."

Connecticut State Treasurer Russell says that he has been in touch with other treasurers from across the United States to discuss forming a nationwide coalition among safe harbor states to provide financial assistance to abortion seekers. With the financial incentive coupled with a misguided commitment to “women’s rights” by the Democratic Party, it is likely that abortion tourism will expand—despite the protests of pro-life taxpayers forced to contribute their money to the continued killing of unborn children in their states.