This year Planned Parenthood of Northern New England will provide essential care to more than 12,000 Mainers. Women, men and young people turn to us every day for annual exams, birth control, cancer screenings and much more. They come to us knowing they can count on exceptional, nonjudgmental care.

Planned Parenthood is on the front lines of a rapidly changing health care system, whether reducing the transmission of communicable diseases, providing essential preventive care for people struggling with substance use disorders or helping people plan when to start a family. We are innovative and constantly searching for ways to improve and expand access to care.

For our patients, we are their lifeline. Planned Parenthood is often their only access to care, because our doors are open to all, regardless of ability to pay. At our four Maine health centers we will provide close to $4.5 million in free or discounted care this year.

Given our important role in the state’s health care system, it’s no surprise that 1 in 5 Mainers has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in their lifetime for care. We are incredibly proud to serve them and the community.

That’s why Shawn Moody’s agenda to target Planned Parenthood makes no sense.

If he gets elected as Maine’s next governor:

He has promised to target Planned Parenthood and interfere with our patients’ access to care, telling a right-wing organization, “I don’t understand Planned Parenthood.

 He has committed to supporting forced delays, biased counseling and medically inaccurate information for women who have made the decision to end a pregnancy.

He has adopted the platform of an anti-abortion organization that supports allowing protesters to harass our patients, forcing practitioners to compromise their medical ethics when counseling women on abortion, and most recently opposed a bill to provide information about birth control to women struggling with opioid addiction.

Let’s be clear: Shawn Moody’s agenda is out of step with Maine people and Maine values.

In contrast, when Janet Mills visited the Portland Planned Parenthood health center this May (an invitation extended to all gubernatorial candidates), she listened to our practitioners and patients. She spoke about the importance of expanding access to reproductive health care in rural and medically underserved areas. She understood how scary it is for patients to see politicians target Planned Parenthood and was clear that if elected governor, she wouldn’t let the extreme views of a few come between patients and their trusted health care provider.

She was clear in her support of expanding access to health care and protecting the rights of Maine people to make their own decisions about their futures. She understands that Maine people want better, more affordable access to health care. She is steadfast in her commitment to implementing the voter-approved referendum to expand access to Medicaid for 70,000 Mainers. She supports insurance protections that will keep junk policies out of the state and ensure that people with pre-existing conditions have affordable options.

Maine Political Report

As someone who grew up in rural Maine and as the mother of five grown daughters, Janet Mills knows that no matter where you live, you deserve access to comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care. She’s seen how far we have come since she came of age in Farmington, and understands the work that lies ahead of us.

Maine’s next governor will decide whether we move forward, expanding access to health care and protecting the rights of Maine people, or move backward, adopting an agenda aimed at putting politicians in the exam room between patients and their health care providers.

The choice is clear.

Mainers want a governor who knows politicians shouldn’t be meddling in women’s health care decisions and will be a champion for women’s rights and sexual and reproductive health care.

Nearly three-quarters of Maine voters support Planned Parenthood and the services we provide, and 67 percent oppose measures that target our organization and try to end government reimbursements for services provided. About the same number, 70 percent, do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision affirming the right to a safe and legal abortion.

Yet despite the strong support for reproductive rights and abortion rights, the threats from Washington continue, which is why it’s critical that Maine’s next governor works to increase access to quality, affordable sexual and reproductive health care, not limit it.

Janet Mills will be that governor. The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund PAC proudly endorses her candidacy.