Reproductive rights in Maine protected under Freedom of Choice Act

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:59 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - After the announcement of the leak from the US Supreme Court on their plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, thoughts of panic ran through many peoples’ minds.

“Once I was able to clear up the fact that this is the draft and not the actual ruling, that helped with some of my stress,” said Client and Community Advocate Aspen Ruhlin.

However, some are relieved the U-S could be one step closer to having the constitutional right to an abortion removed, like First Step Pregnancy Resources Center in Bangor which provides additional options of services to help women continue their pregnancy to full term.

“It’s time for it to end because we know with advances in science and technology that there’s no doubt that it’s a preborn baby that we’re talking about. And, we’re finding out more and more of the long term effects abortion has on women,” said Executive Director of First Step Pregnancy Resource Center Penni Hill.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, that would send the matter back to each state to make their own laws. Additional protection of reproductive rights were introduced in Maine in 1979 with The Freedom of Choice Act and was reaffirmed in 1993, which ensures a woman’s access to abortion services that would remain in effect even if there is a ruling to overturn Roe v Wade.

“We have fairly good protection from that. It could use strengthening. I mean, abortion access everywhere, it needs strengthening, but we are in a much better position than a lot of places. And, it would take a lot of work for anti-abortion people to overturn that legal access that we do have in Maine, in Maine, functionally, we aren’t really seeing much of a change to abortion access. What we may see happen is an influx of folks from out of state coming to Maine,” said Ruhlin.

Twenty-six states are certain or likely to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned, according to the pro-abortion rights think tank the Guttmacher Institute.

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