Why's abortion the main thing for Maine Democrats?

Why's abortion the main thing for Maine Democrats?

Why's abortion the main thing for Maine Democrats?

Conservatives in Maine are wondering why their legislature is devoting so much time to expanding abortion when so many other issues demand attention.

According to Maine's already loose laws, abortions are legal there up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy. But Mike McClellan of the Christian Civic League of Maine says there is an all-out effort to expand the practice.

McClellan, Mike (Christian Civic League of Maine) McClellan

"There's five bills that are for or trying to limit abortion, and then there are actually four constitutional amendments, given Roe v. Wade going down," McClellan relays. "Our governor and some of our Democratic legislators are trying to put abortion rights into our constitution."

According to state health data, Governor Janet Mills' (D) biggest suggested change of permitting abortion through six months of pregnancy, if the mother's health is in danger, would apply to only a scant share of abortions in Maine. Just over 97% of abortions there in 2021 came by the 15th week of gestation, and none at all came during or after week 20.

A baby after that point could be delivered by Cesarean section in most instances without endangering the mother.

McClellan says Democrats do have the votes to push through smaller changes in the state, but Republicans hold enough votes to block the two-thirds majorities needed to pass a more sweeping constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, he wonders why liberal Democrats want to spend so much time on the abortion issue.

"If I was being political, I would basically say … why aren't they dealing with energy? Why aren't they dealing with housing? Why aren't they dealing with the homeless population? I could list infrastructure -- many things that in Maine right now are tough," submits McClellan. "People are really struggling. They must not have the answers to those things, because their first big salvo this year was about abortion."

This move for abortion is reportedly somewhat of a reversal from Mills' stance on the campaign trail, when she called the state's viability standard sufficient. When asked at an October gubernatorial debate whether she would seek to remove it, the governor said she would not.