AUGUSTA, Maine — The Supreme Court docket’s Friday transfer to overturn Roe v. Wade was a prime purpose of the conservative authorized motion for almost 50 years. Whereas Maine Republicans have grown extra stridently anti-abortion in recent times, their response was muted.
Maine has lengthy polled as one of many states most favorable to abortion rights. In 1994, Republican Gov. John McKernan labored with allies in each events to codify federal protections that are actually stripped. Lately, Roe and a smaller however lingering stage of bipartisan settlement have stored the abortion from top-tier Augusta debates.
With management of abortion now within the fingers of states after the election-year resolution, Republicans are exhibiting some shyness. Anti-abortion standard-bearers are obscure on new limits they’d help. Insiders need to maintain the concentrate on financial points which have positioned Republicans for beneficial properties right here and nationally in November.
After the Roe resolution, Maine Republican Social gathering Chair Demi Kouzounas launched an announcement noting a private anti-abortion stance however noting “some who’re upset and a few who’re excited proper now” and saying her occasion’s focus is on the financial system.
Behind the scenes about an hour after the ruling got here down, the occasion emailed a memo to candidates urging them to remain on monitor and saying Democrats would “attempt to flip the problem to abortion to allow them to use it to drive up fundraising and vitality and distract the media.”
“I’d remind you that [the abortion] debate has been occurring for a very long time and will definitely proceed, however proper now, the voters we have to win are targeted on the financial system, file inflation, and out-of-control gasoline and grocery costs,” Jason Savage, the occasion’s government director, wrote.
It contrasted with an aggressive strategy from Democrats in command of Augusta. Gov. Janet Mills delivered a Friday morning assertion, then a self-shot video from her marketing campaign and a night speech at a Portland rally vowing to defend abortion rights. Susceptible U.S. Rep. Jared Golden of the 2nd District mentioned he would proceed work to enshrine Roe’s protections.
Their Republican opponents, former Gov. Paul LePage and former Rep. Bruce Poliquin, did little to construct on previous positions. Each have anti-abortion information, though the previous congressman has leaned on the problem greater than LePage up to now, successful a 2014 main for his seat over a pro-abortion rights candidate.
LePage’s marketing campaign solely pointed reporters again to a Might assertion on a leaked draft resolution, whereas Poliquin mentioned the choice rightly put abortion within the fingers of states. Nevertheless, he voted in 2015 for a nationwide ban on abortion in most circumstances after 20 weeks. Brent Littlefield, a strategist for each candidates, declined to elaborate extra on their stances.
Limits on Maine’s liberal set of abortion legal guidelines have been persistently thought-about within the Maine Legislature going again to the LePage years, however Republicans superior none of them after they held slim however full management of the State Home after the previous governor’s 2010 election.
That included a 2011 invoice for a 24-hour ready interval earlier than abortions that was opposed by 9 Senate Republicans and one other 17 within the Home, with most representing cities or suburbs from the Augusta space and south. A lot of these areas are locations that LePage should both win or stem losses in to offset seemingly robust southern Maine help for Mills.
Issues have polarized within the final decade. No Republicans backed a invoice signed into legislation by Mills mandating private and non-private insurance coverage protection of abortions. That was a special calculus than instituting new restrictions favored by social conservatives can be.
The evangelical Christian Civic League of Maine mentioned Roe’s overturning will “start a dialog” over abortion rights however has not but supplied a particular legislative agenda, whereas Democrats and their allies are underlining threats within the early post-Roe interval.
“Electing individuals who would need to take away entry to abortion and reproductive rights, that’s not the values of Maine folks and they also shouldn’t be serving in workplace,” Nicole Clegg, a spokesperson for Deliberate Parenthood of Northern New England, instructed reporters on Friday.
Amongst those that hailed the choice have been former state Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, who’s searching for to win his outdated seat in a November race with former Rep. Bettyann Sheats, D-Auburn. He’s anti-abortion however helps the ruling on broader authorized grounds, arguing rights not explicitly granted by the Structure are typically higher left to states.
Brakey mentioned the Legislature ought to repeal Medicaid funding for abortions, however he mentioned any limits ought to include helps together with simpler entry to contraceptives. He was skeptical of strict limits, noting Maine bans abortions after fetal viability and indicating considerations about how legal guidelines in conservative states might have an effect on ladies who’ve ectopic pregnancies.
“It’s one factor to advantage sign,” Brakey mentioned. “It’s one other factor once you put your advantage signaling into legislation with none thought on the way you truly craft issues to essentially stability all of the all of the issues concerned.”
BDN author Caitlin Andrews contributed to this report.