Texas senator Wendy Davis’ new memoir, Forgetting To Be Afraid, was released to the general public this past Tuesday. In the book, the now famous senator reveals that she’s had two abortions in her lifetime. Davis and her then-husband decided to terminate one pregnancy 17 years ago after learning that, if the baby survived, she would most likely be in a permanent vegetative state. The baby, named Tate, was developing with a severe brain abnormality.


Next week we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Constitution Day in honor of the day in 1787 when our founding document was signed in Philadelphia.

In 2004, when Congress created Constitution Day, it also passed a law mandating that all publicly funded education institutions provide educational programming on the history of the U.S. Constitution on September 17th. However, many public schools across the nation are unaware of this federal requirement to observe Constitution Day and there are few resources available to help teachers develop requisite lesson plans.


This week the Obama administration announced that, yet again, desperately needed immigration reform will be delayed. This is truly terrible news for the thousands of families currently unable to reunite with their loved ones, and the millions of people across our country that have been forced to live in the shadows.


Two major wins were scored for abortion access last week. On Friday, a federal judge in Austin blocked the portion of Texas’s HB2 that would require all abortion clinics to meet the building, equipment, and staffing standards of a hospital surgery center. And on Sunday, a federal judge temporarily blocked a new abortion law in Louisiana that would require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. This good news rounds off a month of good news in the world of reproductive rights.


Last week, in the wake of the tragic killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the renewed national debate about racialized policing, the Bangor Daily News editorialized on the discriminatory nature or our criminal justice system.

While racial disparities are ubiquitous throughout our broken justice system, this article chose to focus on the following five areas:

1. Police Shootings


In 2007, Maine became the first state in the country to formally reject the proposed national ID card program, REAL ID.


Last month, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced a new version of the USA Freedom Act, an important first step toward reining in government surveillance powers and reclaiming your privacy.

As Neema wrote over on the national blog:


A new study led by Dr. Danielle Bessett, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, has found that many in the U.S. are ignorant about basic facts related to abortion. Out of the 569 people Bessett polled, only 13 percent were able to correctly answer four or five of the survey questions, out of six total. Bessett conducted the survey to investigate the hypothesis that a person’s knowledge about abortion and reproductive health can be shaped by where the state fits on the political spectrum, i.e., the red-versus-blue divide.

August 26 is Women's Equality Day, commemorating the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote 94 years ago. Unfortunately, we are still a long way from full equality for every woman. The mainstream conversation about women's rights over the last century has at best left behind, and at worst ignored, intersectional identities (women of color, transgender women, poor women, immigrant women, etc.). For example, we often see the data that women who work full time earn, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar men earned.


Many schools in Maine are getting ready to open their doors this week for the start of a new year, and here at the ACLU of Maine we’re getting ready to open our resources up to students, teachers, and educators interested in learning more about civil liberties and civil rights.


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