Support for legal abortion highest in decades
New Maine laws protecting and expanding access to abortion care are already having a meaningful impact statewide, amid unprecedented threats to safe, legal abortion in other states and across the country. On the 47th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the state’s reproductive health care providers and advocates issued the following statements:
Andrea Irwin, Executive Director, Mabel Wadsworth Center
Abortion is not up for debate. We are outraged that politicians across the country have demonized abortion providers, shamed people who need abortion care, and actively worked to prevent people from getting reproductive health care. We are proud of Maine's progress and envision a future where we all have the ability to decide when and whether to parent. Your reproductive rights shouldn’t be based on your zip code.
Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund & Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
A record 77% of Americans support safe, legal abortion, but that hasn’t stopped the Trump-Pence Administration and politicians from doing everything in their power to restrict our rights and freedoms. No state in the country supports banning abortion but that hasn’t stopped politicians from packing the courts with ideological judges whose qualifications for life-time appointments have more to do with their passion for a political agenda than their judicial temperament or experience. The result? Our courts are no longer a reliable backstop for attacks against reproductive rights. But that won’t deter us. Momentum is on our side: states passed a record number of abortion protections last year and we will continue taking bold steps to protect our rights in 2020.
Alison Beyea, Executive Director, ACLU of Maine
For 47 years, Roe v. Wade has kept abortion legal in the U.S. But it hasn’t kept politicians around the country from pushing abortion out of reach for people struggling to make ends meet. We are grateful for Mainers who have rejected these attacks, and who are helping to make Maine a place where families can thrive and where each of us can shape our own future, however much money we make.
George A. Hill, President and CEO, Maine Family Planning
In the past year, we’ve taken great strides toward realizing the promise of Roe in Maine, with our new laws that make abortion care more meaningfully accessible to low-income and rural patients. We are fortunate that in Maine, the Reproductive Privacy Act protects the right to an abortion -- even if right-wing politicians succeed in weakening or overturning Roe. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded of the importance of electing leaders at every level of government who will fight to protect and expand reproductive freedom.
Destie Hohman Sprague, Executive Director, Maine Women’s Lobby
The anniversary of Roe v Wade is a day to acknowledge that the fight to ensure women’s bodily autonomy is not over. While Roe is a critical milestone, the anniversary is a chance to reflect on the successes of the past while we build a future where women’s reproductive choices are their own.
With the passage of LD 820, Maine law now requires public and private health insurance that covers prenatal and maternity care to also cover abortion care. Maine also passed a law allowing trained and qualified advanced practice clinicians like nurse practitioners to provide abortion care, ensuring more patients can receive care in their communities from providers they trust.
But even as Maine knocked down barriers to care, the Trump-Pence administration and emboldened extreme politicians ramped up their attacks nationwide. From the unlawful Domestic Gag Rule, to the unprecedented wave of extreme abortion bans that swept across the country in 2019, to the stacking of federal courts with judges hostile to basic reproductive rights and rated unanimously not qualified by the American Bar Association, the country is experiencing an all-out assault on safe, legal abortion.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in June Medical Services v. Gee, challenging a Louisiana abortion restriction nearly identical to one struck down in the court’s Whole Woman’s Health decision three years ago. If the court overturns its own precedent, it will jeopardize prior rulings protecting reproductive health care, including Roe v. Wade.
Earlier this month, more than 200 members of Congress submitted a brief asking the court to use the Louisiana case to overturn Roe v Wade --- which the court could do as early as June.
If Roe is weakened or overturned, abortion will be safe and legal in some states, including Maine, and completely inaccessible in others.
Support for legal abortion in the U.S. is the highest it has been in four decades.