January 31

Another View: In Maine, across U.S., many standing up for abortion rights

A columnist overlooks the broad-based opposition to measures that would erode a woman’s right to choose.

By Samaa Abdurraqib

M.D. Harmon suggests that the country has shifted away from supporting a woman’s right to choose to end her pregnancy, and that, instead, the U.S. is trending toward anti-choice attitudes (“As Roe v. Wade anniversary nears, continent drifts away from pro-abortion cause,” Jan. 17).

about the author

Samaa Abdurraqib is a reproductive freedom organizer for the ACLU of Maine in Portland.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. All around the country, we see evidence of an active and vibrant pro-choice movement.

In 2011, voters in Mississippi – a state with some of the harshest restrictions on abortion care – voted to reject a bill that would have granted legal rights to fertilized eggs. In 2013, people in New Mexico demonstrated the strength of their convictions by voting to reject a ballot measure that would have outlawed abortion after 20 weeks.

Also in 2013, 5,000 Texan supporters showed up to the statehouse to protest HB 2 – the same bill that inspired state Sen. Wendy Davis’ 11-hour filibuster.

These are not isolated incidents. In the past year, we have seen voters reject measures that would interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own decision about pregnancy and abortion across the nation.

Here in Maine, we’ve proven that we respect and cherish a woman’s right to make decisions about her health care. Last session, all three anti-choice bills introduced in the Legislature were defeated. Mainers have a long and strong tradition of understanding that a woman’s choice to continue or end a pregnancy should be left up to the woman, her family and her doctor.

Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. The landmark 1973 ruling affirms a fundamental principle of our democracy: protection against governmental intrusion into our “zone of privacy.” Across the nation, we are showing up and making it clear that the government has no business interfering with a woman’s decision about whether or not continuing a pregnancy is right for her.

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