Maine’s political and religious leaders expressed a range of reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the constitutional right to abortions.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins: “The threshold question of whether abortion is legal needs to be consistent at a national level. States can account for regional differences with regulations like parental notification requirements, but the basic right needs to be the same for all American women.

“The Supreme Court has abandoned a fifty-year precedent at a time that the country is desperate for stability. This ill-considered action will further divide the country at a moment when, more than ever in modern times, we need the Court to show both consistency and restraint. Throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative. It is a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to political chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government.

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon.

“Earlier this year, Senator Murkowski and I introduced the Reproductive Choice Act to codify the abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade and affirmed by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I am also working with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) on a bipartisan bill that would codify Roe, Casey, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and Griswold v. Connecticut. Our legislation would enshrine important abortion protections into law without undercutting statutes that have been in place for decades and without eliminating basic conscience protections that are relied upon by health care providers who have religious objections to performing abortions.

“Our goal with this legislation is to do what the Court should have done — provide the consistency in our abortion laws that Americans have relied upon for 50 years.”


Gov. Janet Mills:  “This decision is a fundamental assault on women’s rights and on reproductive freedom that will do nothing to stop abortion. In fact, it will only make abortion less safe and jeopardize the lives of women across the nation. In Maine, I will defend the right to reproductive health care with everything I have, and I pledge to the people of Maine that, so long as I am Governor, my veto pen will stand in the way of any effort to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine.”

Former Gov. Paul LePage did not immediately respond to the ruling, although an aide re-issued his statement last month in response to the leaked draft ruling: “As the child of a severely dysfunctional family, with domestic abuse that left me homeless, I know my mother faced difficult decisions and I am glad she chose life.

The federal government has regularly prohibited taxpayer abortion funding, except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in danger; and I have supported that policy and would continue to do so. Maine state law already prohibits abortion after viability and our laws should keep pace with modern, medical technology. Late term abortions are extremely disturbing to most Maine people. The case before the U.S. Supreme Court is on state prohibitions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Governors receive Legislation on their desk from locally elected State Representatives and State Senators. In Maine, our local officials listen to the people. As Governor I have a proven history of supporting Life, including helping our most vulnerable women and children facing domestic abuse to our vulnerable senior citizens.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King: “Today’s decision to overturn nearly half a century of precedent upon precedent is a dangerous, blatantly political ruling that will rob millions of women the fundamental right to make decisions about their own health, safety, and lives. The right to a safe, legal abortion has been reaffirmed by the Court time and time again – but this new majority has decided to overwrite longstanding precedent to impose their own personal and religious views on women across the country. This ruling goes against the wishes of the majority of Americans, and lays a terrifying groundwork for this Court to unravel many other hard-earned civil rights in the years ahead.

“This decision is deeply infuriating, but it is unfortunately not a surprise. Beyond being telegraphed in the leaked decision earlier this year, this decision firmly aligns with the clear, decades-long conservative campaign to fill our nation’s court system with ideologically-driven judges who would vote to end abortion access. This goal was made explicit by former President Donald Trump, who promised to only appoint judges who would overturn Roe. This promise, along with each nominee’s clear hostility towards a woman’s right to choose, were among the main reasons that I voted against Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. For all the fear-mongering about so-called ‘judicial activism’ by some conservative lawmakers, their chosen judges clearly do not hesitate to overturn precedent, override popular sentiment, and overreach beyond the Court’s historic incremental approach.

“The impacts of this ruling will reverberate in communities throughout America – but fortunately, Maine women will not be denied this basic right thanks to protections in our state constitution and the leadership of Governor Mills. However, this does not change the fact that far too many across the country will not be so lucky, and will be penalized for the crime of living in the wrong state. This decision will make healthcare services more difficult to access for millions, and the lives of low-income Americans who cannot afford to travel to a state where abortion is legal will be unnecessarily put at risk. Let me be clear, this decision will not lead to the banning of abortion, no matter how earnestly its opponents and the majority of this court may desire it. What it will do is facilitate the banning of safe abortions, to the detriment of women in all corners of our country.


“While there is no clear or easy path to reverse this decision, I will continue doing everything in my power to protect this fundamental right. I will pursue any possible compromise and will not rest until women across the nation can once again make this personal decision with the input of loved ones and medical professionals – not the government.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District: “Today’s catastrophic ruling is the culmination of a decades-long effort by Republican extremists to install anti-choice justices on a High Court that routinely overrules Congress and the public’s will with impunity. Enabled by Senate Republicans, this shamefully partisan Supreme Court has decided against the more than 70% of Americans who want Roe v. Wade upheld.

“Government control of reproduction is downright totalitarian. It is never in the best interest of society for politicians to decide when a person must give birth. Today’s ruling is rooted in ideological zealotry, not the common good. As a direct result of this decision, women will now be jailed for seeking abortion care while others will die because of pregnancy complications and unsafe self-abortion treatments.

“Adding insult to injury, Justice Alito and his colleagues in the majority have demonstrated a crushing ignorance about the historical rights of women under our Constitution – women were unenfranchised and regarded as property when our nation was founded. We should not strive to return to that dark era. Six radical justices, appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote, have destroyed nearly 50 years of established legal precedent upon which tens of millions of people in this country have relied. In Roe’s place, the justices’ personal beliefs will impose unimaginable suffering for women and families across the country and worsen America’s already abysmal generational poverty crisis.”

“During its long history, the United States Supreme Court has overturned prior rulings at an average rate of approximately once per year. A few instances are high-profile cases, while most are more obscure rulings. All are considered in the strict context of their constitutionality.

Ed Thelander, Republican House candidate for Maine’s 1st Congressional District: “During its long history, the United States Supreme Court has overturned prior rulings at an average rate of approximately once per year. A few instances are high-profile cases, while most are more obscure rulings. All are considered in the strict context of their constitutionality.


“I respect the sanctity of life, just as I will respect the rights and opinions of all the people of Maine’s First Congressional District. Regardless of one’s position on whether there is a right to life or a right to abortion, this ruling merely corrects a prior decision that was, in the view of many, flawed legal reasoning.

“With this decision, the Supreme Court puts the regulation of abortion back in the hands of State Legislatures, as the Founders intended. What the nation needs most now is to move forward in the spirit of compassion, trust and support – Support for women grappling with this life-changing decision, compassion toward our fellow citizens, and trust in this unique form of government as designed by our Founders.”

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden. D-2nd District: “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a grave mistake. The majority opinion is wrong on principle and it is wrong on the merits, tossing aside decades of established precedent. In many parts of the country, there will be serious and harmful consequences for millions of women.

“Here in Maine, the reproductive healthcare decisions of women remain protected under current state law. 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. And while the odds of success may be long, I believe Congress should work to find ways to protect women’s rights to the greatest extent possible by codifying as much of the Roe and Casey frameworks as possible within the constraints of our narrow majorities, even if we are unable to preserve the entire pre-Dobbs status quo.”

Former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican candidate in 2nd Congressional District: “My wife tragically died while our son was still in diapers. I understand how fragile and precious life really is. That is why I have always supported life. The U.S. Supreme Court has returned decisions about abortion to the state government level where I agree they should remain.

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey: “Even with the knowledge that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the longstanding precedent in Roe v. Wade, I still find myself gutted by this reality. Today’s decision, coupled with the Court’s decision in Carson v. Makin, is the culmination of years of work by the religious right to use personally held beliefs to control public life, and now, literally what control women have over their bodies. It also signals the extremity of the values represented in the majority of the Supreme Court and its casual willingness to undermine any respect for precedent in achieving its desired ends. That said, I want to be clear: despite this decision, abortion remains legal in Maine. But now we have been reminded that this right is vulnerable and requires vigorous protection. Maine policymakers are now the last line of defense of this right. I promise that as Attorney General, I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure unfettered access to abortion services.”


Maine Republican Party Chair Demi Kouzounas: “This decision empowers states to determine their own laws on this controversial topic, and Mainers have weighed in time and time again.

I’m pro-life, but I know that there may be some who are upset and some who are excited right now. I certainly understand that reaction given the nature of this topic, though it appears that this ruling will have little impact in Maine. During my decades in Maine health care, it has been clear that Mainers care deeply about one another regardless of political differences and will continue to do so. Right now, Maine Republicans will focus on winning in November so we can solve the immediate problems at hand affecting all of us, including out of control gas prices, ridiculous grocery costs, and record inflation.”

Maine Democratic Party Chair Drew Gattine: “Now that the Supreme Court has officially overturned Roe v. Wade and millions of women across the country are about to lose their freedom to have an abortion, one thing is clear: the future of abortion in Maine is on the ballot this November. We are fortunate in Maine to currently have a Governor in Janet Mills who is a passionate defender of abortion rights and a Democratically controlled legislature that will steadfastly protect those rights. However, with Roe gone—in part because of Susan Collins’ votes for Brett Kavanaugh and other virulently anti-choice justices—Governor Mills and her Democratic colleagues in the legislature are the only thing keeping abortion safe and legal in our state. Paul LePage and other anti-abortion Republicans on the ballot this November present the greatest threat to abortion rights in recent Maine history. We must re-elect Governor Mills and our Democratic majorities this November in order to protect the rights, safety, and future of not just Maine women but all Maine people.”

Bishop Robert Deeley of Maine’s Catholic Diocese: “Today’s decision reaffirms the truth that every life is sacred, and it promotes protection for women and children from the grave injustice of abortion. We welcome the possibility of saving the lives of countless unborn children as well as sparing many women and families from pain.

“The Diocese of Portland will continue to accompany any woman, regardless of faith, who is experiencing difficulties in pregnancy through our various Catholic agencies in Maine, including pregnancy help centers and parish-based initiatives like Walking with Moms in Need. As well, we will support and assist those who have been involved in an abortion through our Project Rachel program. God is merciful, and it is of paramount importance that people who experience distress grow in understanding of this truth and are guided on a path to emotional and spiritual healing.

Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash:  “Unfortunately, today’s devastating decision made by a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to restrict the right to an abortion and erode almost 50 years of precedent does not come as a shock. However, that doesn’t make this reality any easier to swallow nor does it do much to alleviate the fear that millions of Mainers and Americans are experiencing.


“The right to decide if and when to start a family is fundamental to who we are as Americans and our freedom. It’s a deeply personal decision that should not be made by politicians or justices. In the wake of this decision, please know that Maine Senate Democrats will fight back against efforts to undermine abortion rights and stand united for reproductive freedom.”

Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic: “There are those of us who remember a time before Roe v. Wade — when people were forced to go underground and put their lives on the line to access an abortion. Far too many of us know far too well that banning abortion doesn’t stop people from getting abortions, it just stops people from getting safe abortions. This ruling from the Supreme Court is unconscionable. Rather than protecting the sanctity of life, it will only endanger the lives of everyday people. I vowed in my youth to fight for the right to access abortion care, and it’s clear this fight is far from over. I join with countless people across our state when I say, despite this decision handed down to us from Washington, Maine will not go back.”

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick: “Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right. No health care decision is made easier or better by having a politician or judge get in the way. What the Supreme Court has done today will hurt people across our country, but especially those who are already marginalized — people of color, people from low-income households, and people trying to survive domestic abuse. I’m proud that our Legislature has done so much in the past few years to ensure Mainers have access to quality reproductive health care, regardless of how much money they make or where they live. Maine lawmakers will continue to do all we can to protect this right, even as those who sit on the highest court of the land fail us.”

This story will be updated.

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