South Portland council stands for safe reproductive health care

Thousands attended a protest Friday, June 24, in Portland, hours after the US Supreme Court overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade case and returned the power to the states to decide abortion laws. Rose Lundy/The Maine Monitor

SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland city councilors stand in support of safe reproductive health care.

At the June 21 city council meeting, Councilor Jocelyn Leighton put forward a statement of support for safe and legal access to reproductive health. The issue had been postponed twice since being put up for council consideration and action on May 17. It was also delayed at the meeting on June 7.

The issue states that the city council supports safe and accessible health care for all people, especially reproductive health. The council will work to preserve safe and affordable access to health care for all people, especially those in the community who will be disproportionately impacted by possible Supreme Court decisions.

“I do appreciate where this is coming from, and I agree right now, especially the right to reproductive health is something that needs defending, it needs supporting, so I am in support,” said councilor Misha Pride.

Although no residents commented during the public statement portion of the meeting, councilors agreed that the issue needed the council’s support.

“I will support this,” said councilor Katherine Lewis. “I think the biggest thing for me is safe and affordable access to health care for all people, which is not something that all people have. It is not always safe and is definitely not affordable for a lot of people, so to the extent that we can keep this in mind as we’re making city policy when it’s relevant, I think that would be a good thing.”

On Friday, June 24, the Supreme Court made a historic decision, 5-4, and overturned Roe v. Wade. This declares that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The decision will now transform women’s reproductive health in the United States.

The landmark ruling established the constitutional right to abortion in the United States in 1973. States will determine abortion rights unless Congress acts. Already several states have or will pass laws that ban abortions.

Governor Janet Mills issued a statement on Friday after hearing the news.

According to the report that under Gov. Mills’ leadership, Maine has protected and expanded access to critical reproductive health care services: “The governor, in collaboration with the Legislature, enacted a law allowing physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to perform abortions. She also signed legislation to require private and public insurance providers to cover abortion care.

“This decision is a fundamental assault on women’s rights and on reproductive freedom that will do nothing to stop abortion. In fact, it will only make abortion less safe and jeopardize the lives of women across the nation. In Maine, I will defend the right to reproductive health care with everything I have, and I pledge to the people of Maine that, so long as I am governor, my veto pen will stand in the way of any effort to undermine, roll back, or outright eliminate the right to safe and abortion legal in Maine.”

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