Politicians focus on shaming, judging people needing abortion instead of COVID recovery
In the midst of a global public health pandemic, some Maine Republican legislators have made their priorities clear, introducing an unprecedented number of bills trying to take away reproductive health care or shame people who need an abortion.
With at least eight potential anti-reproductive health bills introduced this session, this is by far the most the legislature has seen in recent memory and a spurious distraction from the critical work Maine’s elected leaders are needed to do for the health and well-being of the electorate.
“These are unprecedented times and people are hurting and Maine’s leaders should be focused on addressing the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases and the related economic crisis and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. It’s shocking that these politicians have instead decided that shaming and judging people who need an abortion is what the people of Maine want,” said Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “People who need an abortion deserve support and accurate medical information, not shame and judgment. And in the middle of a public health pandemic, lawmakers should be focused on passing policies that make it easier for people to get the care they need, not taking away health care.”
The pandemic is exacerbating existing public health crises and disparities and further political attacks disproportionately impact those who already face barriers to health care: people of color, immigrants, women, the LGBTQ community, people struggling financially, people with disabilities, and people who live in rural communities (most Mainers).
While the language of the bills is not yet available, bill titles suggest anti-reproductive health leaders will be pushing medically inaccurate misinformation and lies, forced delays for abortion care, unnecessary medical procedures, insurance coverage denial of care, and restrictions on minors’ ability to obtain care.
A record 77% of Americans support safe, legal abortion and a recent Maine poll found that no matter respondents’ personal feelings about abortion, they want the experience of getting an abortion to be supportive (83%), affordable (79%), available in your community (79%), without added burdens (76%), and covered by insurance (70%).