House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross talks about legislation to protect abortion rights in Maine during a news conference in January. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Anti-abortion flyers and chalk messages were left over the weekend outside the Portland home and neighborhood of Maine House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, who has been one of the leading champions of recent legislation to expand access to abortion.

Portland Police spokesman Brad Nadeau confirmed that officers were called to the Democratic lawmaker’s home at 9 a.m. Saturday, but he could not provide any specific details, saying the investigation is active.

The messages were publicized not by Ross but by abortion-rights groups, who issued a statement on Monday condemning them.

“That anti-abortion activists are targeting a Black woman in a position of leadership at her home is as unsurprising as it is despicable,” said Dr. Connie Adler, board chair of Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights. “The cost of leadership ought not to be intimidation and attacks. We stand with Speaker Talbot Ross and her courageous work to make Maine a safer and more just home for all.”

The flyers included language referring to Ross as a “baby killer” and “lower than child moelesters (sic) and rapists,” according to images provided by abortion rights groups. It also said “a special place in hell is reserved for such evil people.” The chalk on the sidewalk in front of her home read “abortion kills shame.”

Ross is the sponsor of L.D. 1619, a bill from Gov. Janet Mills to expand abortion access beyond 24 weeks, generally considered the point of fetal viability, with a doctor’s approval. Advocates have said the bill was needed to ensure that women in Maine are not forced to continue pregnancies following last year’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the long-held right to an abortion set by Roe v. Wade.


Opponents, however, have argued that the measure would make Maine’s laws the most unrestrictive of any state.

The organizations that signed the statement condemning the messages at Ross’ home were: EqualityMaine, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights (GRR!), Mabel Wadsworth Center, Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, ACLU of Maine, Maine Equal Justice, Maine Family Planning, Maine Women’s Lobby, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.

“Maine’s abortion providers collectively extend our unreserved support for Speaker Talbot Ross and her colleagues. We will work with them to take all necessary precautions to protect legislators from further harassment. We see this cowardly attempt for what it is: an effort to intimidate and demean the speaker of the House,” their statement read.

L.D. 1619 was subjected to hours and hours of emotional testimony at a public hearing this spring from both supporters and opponents. Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition to the bill and last week tried to delay a vote in the House. It passed narrowly, 74-72, after Ross held the vote open for more than a half hour. The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.

Ross was presiding over the House again on Monday as the Legislature winds up its work this session.

“These hateful attacks and tactics of intimidation have no place in Maine politics,” her spokesperson, Mary-Erin Casale, said.

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