LETTER: Fiorello Fact Check | Greenwich Free Press
Submitted by Jen Barro
I read with interest Republican State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello’s thoughts on the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe, published recently in the Greenwich Free Press. Her comments on abortion rights during the 2020 League of Women Voters debate boiled down to suggesting that her husband should talk about birds and bees with their son, so I was hoping for something more substantial this time- this. But Fiorello got the facts wrong.
Fiorello begins by misrepresenting a 2021 bill (SB 835) that prohibits the deceptive practices of pregnancy clinics that pose as full-service reproductive care centers but do not actually provide or refer clients for reproductive care. abortion or emergency contraception. She claims that these centers are targeted and prevented from providing “emotional and spiritual support to women and girls” when in fact they are only prevented from misleading patients.
Fiorello incorrectly claims that the recent abortion bill (HB 5414) “absolutely increases the risks for women”. This bill allows advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), midwives, and physician assistants to provide first trimester medications and vacuum aspiration abortions. Fourteen other states allow this practice and it is endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Fiorello is misinformed here given that there is data, including a study of 11,000 women comparing abortions performed by physicians and non-physician clinicians, which found that complication rates in both groups were low and that some trained non-physicians can provide this care safely. Increasing the number of trained abortion providers can help reduce wait times and better ensure that abortion services are available earlier in pregnancy when procedures are less complicated.
Fiorello gives us the impression her vote isn’t an outlier by saying “many” of her fellow Democrats voted no with her on HB 5414 – the bill expanding the pool of skilled abortion providers and protecting Connecticut abortion providers against out-of-state legal services action. In truth, only 14 of the 97 House Democrats voted no, and notably 7 of his fellow Republicans voted yes.
Second, she misleads us with “the majority of Americans struggle with the grave moral complexities of abortion…” The reality is recent. Reuters poll, taken ahead of the Supreme Court ruling, found “about 71% of Americans — including majorities of Democrats and Republicans — say decisions about terminating a pregnancy should be left to a woman and her doctor, rather than regulated by the government”. A Fox News Poll as of last fall, 65% opposed canceling Roe.
Her adamant call to “work together to protect the health of all women and girls in Connecticut” falls flat when you examine her mind-boggling record of NO votes on postpartum assistance (HB 6687), doula training standards (HB 5500), breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace (HB 5158), coverage of screening for susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer (SB 358), expansion of mental health services for students (SB 1), domestic violence education (HB 5355), child sexual abuse risk screening (HB 6399), and child food insecurity protection (HB 6229). She’s been busy saying no for two years.
Fiorello concludes with the foolish assertion that abortion is not a political issue. The only mechanism we have to protect our reproductive rights is to elect state and federal candidates whom we trust to pass legislation codifying our rights and to affirm the judges who will enforce those laws. Fiorello’s extreme rhetoric and history of not voting on vital bills reveals she’s no champion for reproductive rights – she doesn’t deserve re-election and she definitely shouldn’t be allowed to us mislead on this important issue.
Jennifer Barro, MD, resident of Greenwich