They were loud. They were angry. And afraid.

“Fear, honestly,” Amanda Pickens of Topsham said by way of explaining why she showed up to rally for abortion rights on Sunday in Portland, two days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, stripping women’s constitutional protection for abortion.

Amanda Pickens of Topsham sends a message to Sen. Susan Collins during the protest Sunday in Portland’s Monument Square. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

“I just got out of high school. I’m staying in Maine for two years luckily for college,” Pickens said. “I’ve never in my life had to rethink where I want to go to college on the basis of my rights being taken away from me. … Taking away rights from 50 percent of people in this country is domestic terrorizing taking place.”

In the afternoon heat, an estimated crowd of 300 people demonstrated in Monument Square at the rally organized by the Maine chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

The speakers included several women who shared their experiences of having had an abortion.

Katherine Blodgett of South Portland, a social worker, said she became pregnant at age 15. If she had not had access to abortion when she was a teenager, her life would have been entirely different, she said.


“I may not have had the ability to go to college. I may not have had the ability to pursue the goals of becoming an independent woman and a functioning member of this society. … I stand before you now, terrified of the future without access to safe, affordable abortions. Forcing young women into motherhood is harmful and dangerous to both mother and child,” Blodgett said to boisterous cheers from the crowd.

Another speaker, a young woman who identified herself only as Sarah of Portland, shouted to the crowd: “I am grateful for my abortion!”

In 2015, when a test showed she was pregnant, “my heart sank,” said Sarah, who when asked later declined to give her last name to a reporter. “I’ve always wanted kids. But I knew I could not bring one into this world the way I was living my life.”

At that time she could not stop drinking. “I was using drugs,” she said. “I was in an unstable, toxic relationship. I was unemployed, and unemployable, as was my partner.”

She was able to make an appointment and get a safe, legal abortion. Later, she got sober. Now she has “amazing children of my own. I am in a loving, stable, supportive relationship.”

Rose Dubois of the Maine Democratic Socialists of America said the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade means that lives will be ruined and some women will die.

Other speakers rallied the crowd to join efforts to organize to create a powerful working class to make a fairer democracy, one that doesn’t take away abortion rights, but one that protects the rights of women, people of color, low-income, LGBTQ communities and other minorities.

After the hourlong rally, the crowd made their presence known. They formed a long line and marched downtown, chanting, “My body! My choice!”

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