Contractual rights to reproductive healthcare and related benefits

Information from the UConn-AAUP Committee
Gender and Sexuality in the Academic Profession

At the December 2, 2022, Executive Committee meeting, the Committee approved the renaming of the Committee on Women in the Academic Profession to the Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Academic Profession. Also at that meeting, the Committee approved the following information from the Committee on Gender and Sexuality in the Academic Profession be distributed to the members.

In response to the Dobbs decision by the Supreme Court and nationwide attacks on reproductive freedom, the UConn-AAUP Gender and Sexuality in Higher Education Committee has gathered the following information to help UConn-AAUP members exercise contractual rights to reproductive healthcare and related benefits, and to educate themselves about reproductive justice.  

What support does the union offer members who seek abortions or guidance on related issues? 

The UConn-AAUP can work with you to ensure your contractual rights are maintained when you have sought medical care in matters relating to reproductive health, including abortion, pregnancy, and fertility, which may affect working life, such as issues with schedules and leaves, and instances of discrimination or adverse working conditions.

The union will maintain confidentiality on all queries.

Is abortion covered in my healthcare plan?      

Yes. According to the Benefits Unit of the State Comptroller’s Office:

Summary of Medical Coverage, p19: “Covered care related to complications of pregnancy includes surgery and interruptions of pregnancy. Therapeutic abortions are covered as an unlimited benefit. Non-therapeutic abortions in cases of rape, incest or fetal malformation are also covered as an unlimited benefit. One elective abortion per covered person per Calendar Year is covered, subject to the benefit limits listed in the Summary of Medical Coverage.”

Does my plan cover birth control and other reproductive health services, such as fertility treatments?  

UConn’s reproductive health benefits are extensive. To check on coverage:  Login/Register on to view your health plan benefits. Or call the number on your insurance card.

On select ‘Medical’ under ‘My Plans’ (upper-left corner)

Click ‘Find Benefits’

Applicable search terms include but are not limited to: abortion (therapeutic, elective), infertility, in vitro fertilization, reproductive surgery, contraceptives, prenatal, obstetrics/maternity, sex reassignment surgery, family planning, well woman exam.

What are my rights under the contract relating to family medical leave, privacy, work schedules, and other issues related to reproductive justice? 

From the State of Connecticut’s Reproductive Rights resource page:

“Abortion in Connecticut is confidential. Unless specifically authorized by Connecticut or federal law, health care providers are not allowed to disclose your information to anyone other than you unless you give them permission. This includes your medical records and any information about appointments or procedures.”

FMLA, Medical Leave, Appendix B, Disability Insurance

Periods of incapacity related to pregnancy, including pregnancies that do not result in live births, are covered under CTFMLA and FMLA. Pregnant employees as well as employees caring for family members who are pregnant are eligible for medical or caretaker leave. These programs are “job-protected leaves,” in which employers maintain contributions to health benefits, not paid leaves.

Members of the UConn-AAUP bargaining unit should refer to Appendix B in the contract to learn their paid leave eligibility and benefits. **Note** Appendix B guidelines apply only to “tenured and tenure-track faculty[;] and non-tenure track bargaining unit members who are on multi-year appointments or annual appointment with at least three (3) years of service in a non-tenure track position.”

Absences for short-term illness and caregiver leave, and for members of the bargaining unit that are on temporary appointments will be administered at the school or departmental level.

Employees enrolled in the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP) are automatically provided disability insurance and can apply for this benefit in the event of incapacity due to pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion. **Note** elimination period for Prudential’s disability insurance policy is 180 days (6 months).

Leave Administrator for UConn-AAUP bargaining unit

Megan Stimson
Telephone: (860) 486-0408
Fax: (860) 486-0406

UConn Personal Illness Leave Policy (HR Policy)
UConn Faculty Medical Leave Guidelines (HR Policy)
Know Your Rights: The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (Article)
Employee Rights Under Family Medical Leave Act (U.S. Department of Labor)
“Miscarriage leave is covered under FMLA, why aren’t employees taking the time?” (Article)
What kind of “serious health condition” must I or my family member have for me to take FMLA? (Article)

Where can I learn about reproductive healthcare providers in Connecticut? Abortion providers and care
The Women’s Centers (independent abortion clinic in Hartford CT)
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England

Where can I find information about abortion access if I am out-of-state?
National Network of Abortion Funds

What groups can I contact to advocate for reproductive justice and the right to abortion, by volunteering, organizing, and donating?   

National Organizations:

Abortion Care Network
National Abortion Federation
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
National Network of Abortion Funds
The Brigid Alliance

Regional Organizations:

The Women’s Centers (independent abortion clinic in Hartford CT)
Planned Parenthood of Southern New England
REACH Fund (Connecticut Abortion Fund)

UConn Storrs 

Women’s Center 

What are good sources for learning about reproductive justice?

This list is by no means comprehensive, but here are some good places to begin.. Many are Courtesy of Rutgers-AAUP.

Reading guide on the history of the reproductive justice movement here.  Also see this useful overview: How to Show Up for Abortion Access.

Learn how activists have built many safe ways and networks of support for accessing abortion.   Read about longtime leadership by Black and brown people in abortion access.

Sister Song: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective explains reproductive justice. The loss of access to abortions affects people differently based on their race, economic background, gender, and many other factors.  Framing abortion access as a “women’s-only issue” does not illustrate the full scope of the impact of the Supreme Court decision. There are specific barriers for trans, gender non-conforming, and non-binary folks for accessing reproductive services.  An important aspect of fighting for reproductive justice is using inclusive language