This year’s election is a crucial one for Maine and it’s more important than ever to cast your vote to protect the issues you care about. An issue that has become increasingly important since the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June is abortion. Our current governor, Janet Mills, has been outspoken over her position to keep abortion legal if elected for a second term. Other candidates have not.
Paul LePage, Mills’ strongest opponent in the gubernatorial race and Maine’s former governor before Mills, has continued to show that throughout his campaign he does not want to share his stance on abortion and has continuously tried to deflect questions about the topic. During a debate between the two on Oct. 4, 2022, LePage was asked about this issue.
A Washington Post article with a full transcript of the debate shows how LePage avoids the questions and answers in an indirect way.
His response clearly states his ignorance on the importance of abortion and how he does not understand how his lack of knowledge on these issues could hurt many Mainers.
Mills on the other hand, chose to respond to the same question.
“As long as I’m governor, the right to reproductive health care will never be considered dispensable. My veto pen will stand in the way of any effort to undermine, roll back or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine,” Mills said.
It’s important that Maine has elected officials who care and will fight for reproductive rights. Besides the gubernatorial race, there are many more important elections across that state that will impact whether abortion restrictions will be put into law.
Maine’s other big race is in the 2nd congressional district race between Representative Jared Golden and Bruce Poliquin. Golden released a statement after Roe v. Wade was overturned.
“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a grave mistake… Today’s decision should remind us just how important it is to fight for state legislative majorities that will safeguard the right of a woman to make private decisions about her body,” Golden said.
While Golden’s stance on a woman’s right to choose is clear, Poliquin has a history of anti-abortion actions. According to the Bangor Daily News, in 2014 he voted for a federal ban on most abortions after 20 weeks and filled out a survey saying he would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Since then, Poliquin has neglected to give a clear stance on his views on abortion.
Although these are Maine’s two biggest races for this upcoming election it’s important to also look at more local elections as well. The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund has put out a comprehensive list that includes key state legislative races and each candidate’s stance on abortion. That state legislation is the last barrier to allowing anti-abortion laws to come into law which is why it’s more important than ever to know where your elected officials stand on reproductive freedom.
The district 8 race, which includes some of Orono, Old Town and Bangor, is between Mike Tipping and Eric Rojo. According to the Planned Parenthood Maine Action fund site, Tipping has passed monumental legislation in Maine with his work with the Maine People’s Alliance, and has shown strong support for a woman’s right to choose and is working to pass important issues to support families like paid family leave.
Rojo on the other hand has no statehouse experience, has shared questionable and dangerous policies on social media and volunteered to work for South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who defended her state’s anti-abortion ban.
As we draw closer and closer to election day it’s more important than ever to educate ourselves on where the candidates we are voting for stand on major issues that will affect Mainers. We need elected officials in Maine that understand abortion laws, can give solidified answers and will take action on making sure the reproductive freedoms of Maine women are protected.