Today, Planned Parenthood Action Fund announced its endorsement of Sara Gideon to protect the health and rights of the people of Maine. This announcement is part of the Action Fund’s continued endorsement of federal candidates committed to reproductive health and rights around the country. From judicial nominations to abortion access to funding reproductive health programs, Congress makes critical decisions that directly impact Planned Parenthood health center patients every day and having strong leaders representing Maine is critical to protecting these basic rights.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, Acting President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“We were once encouraged by Senator Collins’s support of reproductive rights, yet she has abandoned not only the people of Maine, but women across the country. From her decisive vote to confirm Kavanaugh to her refusal to stop Republican attacks on our health and rights. It’s clear that she has turned her back on those she should be championing. Notably, Senator Collins has stood by as this administration continues to stack our federal court system with judges who oppose safe, legal abortion and advances policies that allow discrimination.
As Maine Speaker of the House, Sara Gideon has been an outspoken leader for the women, LGBTQ communities, and people of color of Maine, and for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is thrilled to endorse Sara Gideon for the U.S. Senate. It’s time the people of Maine had a champion in the Senate once again.”
Statement from Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President, Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund:
“In 2020, there are two distinct stories to tell about Maine and the rights and freedoms voters want protected. One is the leadership of Sara Gideon who fought to make sure that people can make personal medical decisions without politicians, insurance companies, and special interests’ interference. As a former Planned Parenthood patient, she knows what it means to be able to get the care you need from a trusted provider and how hurtful it is to see your provider attacked by extremist politicians. She’s listened to patients and providers and held onto those stories as she fought for them at the State House.
The other story is the instrumental role Susan Collins played in securing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and her complacency as the courts are packed with judges more interested in a political agenda than the protection of our basic rights. It’s the impact of her actions, which have been felt across the country as state after state passed abortion bans, and most profoundly, it’s her silence in this moment. Susan Collins is no longer the champion Maine people can count on to safeguard our rights and freedoms.”
As a legislator and Speaker of the Maine House, Sara Gideon has been a stalwart advocate for better, more affordable health care including sexual and reproductive health care and safe, legal abortion. She championed Medicaid expansion, protections for people with preexisting conditions and fought to remove barriers to abortion for those struggling financially. In 2019, the state of Maine, under Gideon’s leadership, did more to protect women’s rights and freedoms than that state has done in the past decades.
Since Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the US Supreme Court, an outcome that both the left and the right credit Susan Collins, twenty-six abortion bans passed in seventeen states. The Supreme Court allowed a harmful Kentucky law to take effect that forces providers to ignore the wishes of their patients when seeking an abortion and announced that it will hear June Medical Services v. Gee in March. This case is nearly identical to a Texas law the court struck down three years ago prior to the appointments of Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. If the court upholds the Louisiana law in defiance of its own precedent, it could dramatically weaken or overturn protections in prior cases. More than 200 members of Congress submitted a brief asking the court to use the case to overturn Roe v. Wade. Just last week, the Supreme Court also announced that it will review two cases challenging the protections for birth control coverage in the Affordable Care Act.
In 2018, the American people sent more women and women of color to Congress than ever before and flipped the House of Representatives to a clear pro-reproductive health majority. In 2020, there is a clear opportunity to change the make-up of the Senate and have a full Congress that will protect people’s health and rights.