Over 1,000 folks amassed in Portland Friday in help of abortion rights, chanting “my physique, my selection” and “abortion is healthcare” as they marched from Lincoln Park to Portland Metropolis Corridor.
The occasion got here solely hours after the Supreme Courtroom introduced it could overturn abortion precedent set by Roe v. Wade. The anger and outrage of that call was current within the crowd. So was the will to do every part doable to guard abortion rights in Maine.
Talking at Portland Metropolis Corridor after the march, Gov. Janet Mills known as the choice a “devastating” opinion that was a “basic assault on ladies’s rights.”
Mills stated she remembered a time in Maine when abortion was unlawful and ladies’s reproductive rights weren’t almost as protected as they’re immediately.
“It was when an abortion, should you might get one, concerned a clandestine association, a harmful association, in some again alley in Boston or New York Metropolis,” Mills stated. “It was a time when ladies’s well being was a secondary concern.”
She stated that day’s choice would once more put quite a few ladies in precarious conditions, not stopping abortions however solely making them much less secure.
Echoing her assertion earlier within the day, Mills stated she would struggle any efforts to undermine abortion rights so long as she was governor. She known as for attendees to reply on the poll field in November by electing pro-choice candidates.
“We should react to this devastating opinion, this radical, extremist choice, with out violence, however with our vote,” Mills stated. “Make no mistake about it: Roe v. Wade is on the poll this November.”
Maine Speaker of the Home Rep. Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford and Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, additionally spoke as did medical professionals.
“Right this moment’s ruling isn’t a shock … the results of the selections coming from this Supreme Courtroom are devastating,” stated Dr. Julia McDonald, a household drugs doctor who vowed to by no means cease performing abortions. “Our bodily autonomy, our liberty, our freedom are on the road.”
She stated the choice was particularly devastating to folks of shade in addition to these extra more likely to stay in poverty or have well being dangers.
Organized by the Deliberate Parenthood Motion Fund, The We Received’t Go Again Rally + March for Reproductive Freedom started at about 5:30 pm. MC’d by native musician Viva, it drew folks of all ages. However the largest group was younger women and men who got here from throughout Portland and past.
The Supreme Courtroom introduced Friday morning that it dominated in a 5-4 choice in Dobbs v. Jackson Ladies’s Well being Group that abortion was not a constitutionally-protected proper, overturning a precedent set by Roe v. Wade in 1973 and permitting states the choice to control the observe nonetheless they please.
Some states banned abortion shortly after the announcement, whereas others are anticipated to cross new legal guidelines doing so.
Maine has among the strongest abortion rights legal guidelines within the nation, although that might change if Republicans take management of the Maine Legislature within the upcoming election.
Some attendees acknowledged that Maine was in a greater place than many others within the nation. Nonetheless, they wished to return out in power in help of abortion rights on a day during which hundreds of thousands misplaced that proper.
“Now we have the privilege of getting laws in place to guard ourselves,” stated Abby King, 17, of Yarmouth. “However different folks in different elements of the nation don’t have the identical rights as us proper now.”
A number of introduced do-it-yourself indicators, together with offended and generally specific messages leveled on the Supreme Courtroom in addition to Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Clockwise from left: At the least 1,000 folks protest on the steps of Portland Metropolis Corridor on Friday, June 24, 2022, after the U.S. Supreme courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade. Protestors known as for common abortion entry; Maine Gov. Janet Mills addresses a big crowd on the steps of Portland Metropolis Corridor on Friday, June 24, 2022, after the U.S. Supreme courtroom overturned Roe v. Wade. Mills and protestors known as for common abortion entry; Individuals protesting the choice overturning Roe v. Wade collect on the steps of Portland Metropolis Corridor on Friday. Credit score: Troy R. Bennett / BDN
Collins voted to verify two of the justices who voted for the overturn, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Nevertheless, she voted towards appointing Amy Coney Barrett, who additionally voted to take action.
Many indicators referenced the lengthy historical past of abortion rights and the 49 years since Roe v. Wade was determined in 1973.
Although the gang skewed youthful, some who attended — like Mills — might keep in mind a time earlier than Roe v. Wade, the place abortion rights weren’t assured nationwide. That features Diane Warming, 72, of Portland.
Warming obtained pregnant whereas dwelling in Ohio within the early Nineteen Seventies. On the time, abortion was unlawful there, because it was in many of the United States earlier than the Roe choice.
The process put her within the hospital, she stated, and positioned her life at-risk. Now, she fears that such unlawful procedures are going to proliferate once more in states the place abortion is made unlawful.
Many known as for reform of the courtroom. Nate Adams, 40, of Portland, stated that President Joe Biden ought to broaden the courtroom with 4 new justices in order that it may be extra according to public opinion.
“Progressive and even centrist folks have to get some illustration on the courtroom,” Adams stated. “In order that we will get a barely extra sane choice than we obtained immediately.”
For Terri Coakley of Portland the shortage of help system for girls who can have abortion entry taken from them is what’s most outrageous.
“There’s no socialized healthcare. There’s no paid parental go away. And the Supreme Courtroom is mainly telling ladies that they’re now pressured to be pregnant,” Coakley stated.
Lisa Margulies, 39, of South Portland simply had twins again in October. She stated the ruling reminded her of what she had gone by way of in her being pregnant and dropped at thoughts those that could be topic to it unwillingly. She introduced a do-it-yourself signal that stated “twin mothers for selection,” written on the again of the cardboard from a Pampers diaper container.
“My being pregnant was actually tough,” Margulies stated. “I’m fortunate to have these twins, however I can’t think about making anybody undergo that excessive ache and issue.”
For a lot of attendees and audio system, their opposition and outrage was not simply on the proscribing of abortion itself, however the door it might open to overturning different earlier Supreme Courtroom selections, together with these defending contraception, same-sex marriage and consensual sexual exercise.
“It’s the primary of many dominoes, and that’s the scariest factor,” stated Emily Holtzclaw, 41. “It’s chipping away at freedoms repeatedly.”
Fury on the ruling was strongly current in the course of the protest, coming throughout in robust and generally specific language by audio system at Portland Metropolis Corridor.
Many made calls to show that anger into motion by way of the poll field for races on the state and municipal stage.
“We’re livid at our highest courtroom … the struggle right here and in each local people is extremely necessary,” stated Portland Metropolis Councilor April Fournier.
She went on to emphasise the significance of native races, saying that immediately’s metropolis councilors and college board members develop into tomorrow’s legislators and governors.
Others emphasised that the protestors have been in solidarity with others across the nation.
“We’re not alone. We be a part of two-thirds of Individuals who consider in a constitutional proper to privateness,” stated Ross, who additionally led a chant of “Maine received’t return.”
The gang responded with chants of “November 8.”
“Now we have to ensure that we work longer and tougher with extra intention to not allow them to divide us,” Ross stated.
Ross additionally inspired protesters to help native abortion funds.
A counter protest could possibly be heard from Metropolis Corridor, although it wasn’t instantly clear how massive the scope was.