On 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Governor Mills Calls for Passage of Reproductive Rights Amendment to Maine Constitution

In testimony submitted to the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary, Governor Janet Mills today called for the passage of a Reproductive Rights Amendment that would enshrine the right to reproductive autonomy in the Maine Constitution.

The Governor’s testimony comes on the 51st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision establishing a U.S. Constitutional right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. In 2022, the Court overturned Roe in a ruling Governor Mills called a “fundamental assault on women’s rights.”

Later this morning, the Standing Committee on Judiciary will hold a public hearing on LD 780 Resolution, Proposing An Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Maine To Protect Personal Reproductive Autonomy. If passed with two thirds support from the Maine Legislature, voters would be asked to ratify language making clear that personal reproductive autonomy is a constitutional right in Maine.

“In the year since Roe v. Wade was overturned, more than a dozen states have enacted extreme bans on abortion. As a result, in America today, nearly one-third of women no longer have access to abortion. While it is easy to believe that these attacks on reproductive rights only exist beyond our state’s borders, there have been bills in this 131st Legislature to restrict reproductive rights by forcing ultrasounds, by mandating biased counseling, by taking away insurance coverage for abortion for low-income people, and by restricting access to abortion for rural women. We turned back these attempts to undermine reproductive rights in Maine and, instead, we have preserved and expanded reproductive freedom in Maine,” Governor Mills wrote in her testimony.

“However, no matter how strong our laws may be, they are subject to everchanging political tides and can be repealed. That is why, without any such federal protection, it is critical that Maine people be assured that reproductive autonomy be protected to the greatest extent possible in the state – through an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Maine. Indeed, many of us would argue that Maine’s Constitution already protects reproductive rights, but the language of L.D. 780 would remove any debate,” the Governor continued. “This action is needed now more than ever. That is why I support enshrining the right to reproductive autonomy in the Maine Constitution and urge you pass L.D. 780, so that Maine people can make their own decisions about their own fundamental rights.”

Under Governor Mills' leadership, Maine has not only protected but expanded access to critical reproductive health services. The Governor, in collaboration with the Legislature, has enacted laws that prevent protestors from blocking health clinics, that require public and private insurance coverage (PDF) of abortion services, and that made those services available to people in rural and urban areas of Maine. Last year, the Governor signed into law a series of bills to protect access to abortion, including legislation that puts the decision about whether to have an abortion later in pregnancy in the hands of women and their doctors – not politicians or lawyers, ensuring that patients can get care they need, when they need it

Governor Mills full testimony in support of LD 780 is attached (PDF).