I spent this past weekend in Downeast Maine, tabling at the 40th Annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival. I drove through Penobscot, Hancock, and Washington counties and arrived in the Machias area late Friday afternoon. The Wild Blueberry Festival is one of the most popular festival events in Washington County, with attendee estimates ranging from 15,000-22,000. This was the ACLU of Maine’s first time participating in the festival. This was also my first time Washington County. I was looking forward to the opportunity to meet both current and potential ACLU members and to talk about the work our organization has been doing across the state.
I set up our ACLU of Maine table early Saturday morning, and settled in just in time to watch the end of the 5-mile blueberry race. The festival proved to be an excellent opportunity to unveil some of our new public education materials on reproductive rights. I brought along some informational 8x10 sheets on the ACLU’s work nationwide on reproductive rights. I also brought materials that we created right here at the ACLU of Maine, including our new “Trust Maine Women” stickers and our new informational palm cards (click to print your own version).
I had a great time speaking with people I met at the festival, including four active ACLU members and one future member. In addition to these substantive conversations, I chatted with the numerous supporters who just stopped by to thank the ACLU of Maine for our presence at the festival and for the work we’ve done across Maine. I was particularly cheered by one passerby who said it was great to see that civil liberties work was “alive and well in the state of Maine.”
The people I spoke with were eager to learn more about the status of abortion access here in Maine. Some were pleasantly surprised to find out that Maine, unlike many other states, has a history of respecting women’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion. They were happy to learn that we have consistently defeated bad legislation designed to take away that right.
However, many were disheartened to hear that major economic disparities still exist in terms of abortion access in Maine. Abortion is one of the only medical procedures not covered by MaineCare. As a recent editorial in the Bangor Daily News states, “All women deserve access to good health care, and politicians shouldn’t be able to restrict their coverage because they are poor.”
Many of the people I spoke with agreed that it’s time for Maine to take a step forward in the fight for reproductive justice. It’s time to make sure that all women in Maine can get the reproductive care they need, regardless of the type of insurance they use.