We are the Portland chapter of Solidarity Sundays, a nationwide feminist activist group. We’re writing to express our grave concerns about health care and reproductive rights in this country. The recent American Health Care Act vote left many of us fearful for our families and other vulnerable Mainers.

In the news article “Collins: Senate to start ‘from scratch’ on health care overhaul” (May 3), you reported that Sen. Susan Collins is taking the time to draft a bill that will (in her words) “do it right” and, among other things, not defund Planned Parenthood, and we thank her. We ask her to work to expand access to affordable health care, including essential benefits.

The benefits of quality affordable health care are obvious to us – we are parents with children whose lives have been saved by it. One of our children received a heart transplant at Boston Children’s Hospital, and at the most stressful time of their lives, his parents didn’t have to worry about losing his health care.

One of our children, born two months prematurely, recovered for five weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. Many of us have had pregnancies or cesarean-section births that could cause us to lose our insurance coverage. Our numbers include working mothers, for whom reliable reproductive and health care, including maternity care, means being able to go back to work to provide for our families and contribute to Maine’s economy as we choose.

We believe there should be no specter of losing coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Sen. Collins should continue to show her support of women’s reproductive rights and commitment to what’s best for Mainers by rejecting the AHCA and ensuring continued – and expanded – care and coverage. Our whole state benefits when Mainers have access to affordable health care.

Emily Connelly