Developments like this one are often hailed as “meeting the moment.”

Indeed, Gov. Mills may have alluded to the phrase earlier this week when, announcing her participation in a new national coalition of Democratic governors focused on defending access to abortion, she said: “While we have strong abortion laws in Maine, this moment requires that states come together to stand for and safeguard reproductive freedom wherever and whenever possible.”

Mills is one of 20 governors involved in the collaboration, the Reproductive Freedom Alliance, designed to formalize shared approaches to policymaking, pool information, work together on budgeting strategies and reach some common ground on legal fights breaking out nationwide – up to and including an organized response to court decisions with national implications, or so says California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who led the launch of the effort after kicking it off on the West Coast with Washington and Oregon.

We need only glance at the recent and ongoing challenges to legality and access to be certain that opportunities to defend the right to abortion access will continue to present themselves.

Here’s a very live example.

Without Roe v. Wade, the outcome of a Texas lawsuit has the potential to affect the availability of medication abortion in every single state. 


A group of doctors opposed to abortion are challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone (by now 20 years old), one of two medications that are used in more than half of all American abortions. Mifepristone has been used by nearly 5 million women in the U.S. since its approval in 2000 and is safer than Tylenol or Viagra.

The Texas case is likely to be decided later this month by a judge appointed by President Donald Trump. We reported late last summer that Maine women have shown an even stronger preference than women in other states for medication abortion.

Ambiguity created by the Dobbs decision has led to exorbitant opportunism by anti-abortion lawmakers – as well as rampant uncertainty. 

Application of abortion restrictions not yet one year old has been riddled with doubt, and uncertainty by medical practitioners has led to troubling outcomes. 

In Florida, to give a different kind of example, although that state offers an exception to its 15-week ban on abortion in the case of fatal fetal abnormality, the law there says nothing about how to interpret fetal viability. 

According to Autumn Katz, interim director of litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights, such a landscape “terrifies” physicians, so much so that they are “likely to err on the side of questioning whether the conditions are fully met.”


State law alone will not be enough to fend off some of the barriers to safe and legal abortion, a fact the governors who have agreed to work closely together seem to keenly understand. 

The uneven regulatory picture is prompting women to travel from state to state to seek the care they need where it is still legal, which makes it important to have at least one group of states (a number approaching half) more interconnected – for both residents of those states and for women who may find themselves forced to travel there for health care.

It’s also the case that no matter where one falls on the question of abortion, this creative and proactive state-level cooperation shows initiative and a willingness to work together and should be, in spirit, regarded as a welcome addition to political and public life. 

In this particular form, it will lead to more information about how the post-Roe world is unfolding, better understanding of the dangers it poses to people’s health and more coordinated responses to increasingly coordinated opposition. We applaud Gov. Mills for being a part of it.

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