Governor Candidate: No Abortion Law Change, But Tell Parents

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski issued a statement Wednesday saying he would not attempt to change existing law in Connecticut concerning abortion if he's elected governor in November.

However, the Madison businessman said the state “should consider” legislation that would impose a parental notification requirement for minors under age 16, except in cases of rape or incest.

“This requirement is already in place for most medical procedures performed on minors and abortion should be no exception,” Stefanowski said.

Under current Connecticut law, patients under 16 can obtain an abortion after receiving counseling and that counseling must include a discussion about the possibility of consulting the parents.

Even though Connecticut codified the Roe v. Wade decision in 1990, the future of abortion procedures is now less clear in the U.S. after a draft Supreme Court opinion suggested the court is poised to overturn the case. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, who is seeking re-election, and Democratic activists have raised questions about Stefanowski's level of support for abortion rights, including whether he would have signed a new state law that expands the types of health care providers that can perform the procedure and attempts to protect abortion providers and out-of-state patients from anti-abortion laws in other states.

“Any candidate for governor (has) got to speak up and let us know where you stand,” Lamont said earlier this week. “What have I heard from the Republican candidate for governor? Crickets.”

Stefanowski's running mate, state Rep. Laura Devlin, R-Fairfield, was among six Republicans in the Connecticut House of Representatives that joined 80 Democrats in supporting the latest legislation.

Stefanowski noted in his statement Wednesday that regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, abortion will remain legal in Connecticut.

“Further, under no circumstances will I as governor attempt to change the existing law,” he said, without specifically mentioning the new state law. “A woman's right to choose has been, is, and will remain codified in Connecticut State Law, including Connecticut's ban on late term abortions — except in the case where the mother's health is at risk.”

Under Connecticut law, “the decision to terminate a pregnancy prior to the viability of the fetus shall be solely that of the pregnant woman in consultation with her physician." After the fetus is viable, the law states that no abortion can be performed unless it's to preserve the woman’s life or health.

Stefanowski, meanwhile, called on Lamont on Wednesday to clarify his position on a Democratic bill proposed in Washington that would enshrine into federal law the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision while also expanding protections, including ending bans earlier than 24 weeks.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz accused Stefanowski of “deceiving voters" in his statement.