Graphic by Liv Schanck

Mills new proposed abortion expansion bill is monumental in fight for reproductive freedom 

Earlier this month, Maine Governor Janet Mills introduced the LD 1619 bill. The bill, if passed, will expand reproductive rights and increase access to abortion for Maine women by, among other things, allowing for abortions later in pregnancy.  

The bill has strong support among House and Senate members, many of them co-sponsors on the bill. With this support, the bill will hopefully pass and set a precedent for other states with strengthening abortion rights.

There are many different reasons why women seek abortions. Increasing the time they have to make these (oftentimes very challenging) decisions shows that their state supports and values their choice of what they can do with their own body. 

But not all Maine politicians see the importance of this bill — some House and Senate Republicans oppose the bill. 

“Isn’t it fitting, right, that we as pro-life folks within the Legislature are here talking about how to save the lives of children that the state is going to take responsibility for, and is failing, and resulting in dead children, and they’re upstairs talking about how to expand abortion and kill more fetuses,” said Trey Stewart, Senate minority leader. 

First of all, the term “pro-life” is misleading and infers that people who support a woman’s decision to have an abortion are against human life. Furthermore, in many cases abortions are needed to save the life of a woman, so using “pro-life” terminology refers to protecting the unborn child over the mother.  

When Stewart refers to how he wants to save the lives of children, he is discussing child welfare. This is of course important; however, what is the root cause of child welfare is people having children when they are not prepared, financially or otherwise, to take adequate care of them. If we offer more opportunities to women to make thoughtful decisions about their choice to have a child or not, it will decrease the need for child welfare altogether. 

Unfortunately, many other states across the country have leaders that share the feelings of Stewart and some Maine Republicans. After the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, 12 states have banned abortion with no exception for cases of rape or incest.

Many more have drastically decreased the number of weeks that is allowed to have an abortion. For example, in Georgia, abortion is banned six weeks after pregnancy, which is before many women even know they are pregnant

Anti-abortion groups across the country will continue to fight to restrict abortion access everywhere, and we must fight back. We are fortunate to live in a state where we have leaders that will protect a woman’s right to choose, but women in other states do not have such luck. To protect abortion rights, we must continue to elect state and federal officials that support a woman’s right to choose as well.

Donating to Planned Parenthood and other local organizations in the states that are being affected can also be a huge help for these women. Helpful links for supporting women in states where abortion has been banned can be found here.