Maine lawmakers in the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary are hearing five anti-abortion bills today: LDs 494, 771, 1197, 1249, and 1614. This legislation is part of a nationwide strategy designed to block access in all 50 states, and shame and ostracize patients and providers.
Collectively, these bills are based on discredited and anti-scientific ideas, jeopardize healthcare providers’ First Amendment rights, and amount to state-backed coercion of and interference in some of the most personal decisions Maine’s people will make. The government should never have the authority to force a person to remain pregnant against their will.
Statement from ACLU of Maine Policy Director Meagan Sway:
“These anti-abortion, anti-science bills are part of a nationwide strategy to entirely ban access to abortion care in all 50 states. Decisions about pregnancy are deeply personal and must remain between patients and their healthcare providers, not politicians. Maine lawmakers have a long history of protecting individual liberties, and we urge them to uphold that tradition by opposing these extreme proposals designed to control people's bodies and futures. All people in Maine should be able to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves without legal threats or judgment, including the decision get an abortion.”
Statement from Lucy Hull, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR!):
"Collectively, these proposals convey an alarming distrust for sexual and reproductive healthcare providers and school-based staff. They address problems that either do not exist or are already dealt with appropriately under longstanding Maine law. As elders, we support full reproductive freedom for all, including Maine's young people, and trust abortion providers to facilitate informed decision making and safety."
Statement from Abbie Strout-Bentes, Director of Education and Community Engagement, Mabel Wadsworth Center:
“We stand in opposition to the numerous bills being presented today aimed at restricting access to abortion care in our state. They are part of an overall strategy to ban abortion nationwide and will roll back important changes that have made access to abortion more equitable in Maine. The decision about whether, when, or how to become a parent is one of the most important life decisions we make. Each of us should be free to make the decisions that are best for our lives and our families. We hope Maine leaders will see these bills for what they are: an attack on reproductive freedom.”
Statement from Francine Garland, Executive Director, Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence:
“We hear nearly universal support for victims of violence to have access to what they need to heal from the harm they have endured at the hands of abusive intimate partners. Typically, people think of that harm as broken bones, bruises, and psychological trauma. We ask you to consider that forced pregnancy is another form of abuse and that being able to terminate a pregnancy may be an essential component of healing. We cannot be both supportive of survivors' rights to be free from domestic abuse and violence and in opposition to their right to determine whether or not to terminate a pregnancy and their ability to access the care they need.”
Statement from George Hill, President & CEO, Maine Family Planning:
“Anti-abortion legislation has far-reaching consequences, affecting not just those seeking abortion care but also those who rely on reproductive healthcare services more broadly. It is critical that we stand together against these efforts to stigmatize and restrict access to abortion, and to advocate for policies that support people’s right to make healthcare decisions that are right for their bodies, their families, and their individual life circumstances. Abortion bans and restrictions are rooted in white supremacy and domination culture, not evidence-based medicine and best practices in health care delivery. Maine Family Planning strongly denounces the anti-abortion legislation introduced this session, and will continue to fight for the rights of Maine people to control their reproductive lives, as we have for more than 50 years.”
Statement from Destie Destie Hohman Sprague, Executive Director, Maine Women’s Lobby:
“Reproductive access is the cornerstone of gender equity and bodily autonomy. These proposals to make abortion access more complicated and slower simply serve to undermine the rights we have worked so hard for."
Statement from Nicole Clegg, Acting CEO, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England / Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund:
“These bills are deeply unpopular and dangerous. From forcing medical professionals to mislead or coerce patients to taking away access in rural areas, these policies are part of an ill-conceived national agenda to erode our basic rights and freedoms, bill by bill, state by state.
Abortion is a safe and legal component of comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare, and the bills heard in committee today demonstrate how harmful it is when politically motivated actors attempt to legislate healthcare with no understanding of medical science or patient needs.
Let’s be clear. Legislators opposed to abortion will not stop until our reproductive freedom is completely taken away, even here in Maine. Instead of focusing on policies that will improve the lives of Mainers, lawmakers are fixated on making it as hard as possible for someone to end a pregnancy. This is what is at the top of their agendas.
A majority of Mainers and a majority of Americans want abortion to remain safe and accessible. These political stunts demonstrate how wildly out of touch certain politicians are with Maine values."