RADIO ADDRESS: Governor Mills: I will defend the right to reproductive health care with everything I have.

June 24, 2022

This week, the United States Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.

You know, I know what it means to live in a world without Roe v. Wade.

I grew up in rural, western Maine, in Farmington in the 60s and 70s.

I loved growing up there, it is still my home today and a big part of who I am, but I have got to tell you – it was by no means a hotbed of women’s rights activism when I came of age.

That was a time when abortion was illegal, when women across Maine who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant and in need had nowhere to turn. It was when an abortion, if you could get one, involved a clandestine, dangerous arrangement in some back alley in Boston or New York.

It was a time when birth control was virtually impossible to obtain, especially in rural Maine where the local doctor or the pharmacist was likely to be your neighbor, and when the best method to avoid pregnancy, we were told, was to be “extremely careful.”

It was a time when women’s health was of secondary concern and it was simply impolite or out-of-line to discuss reproductive health.

We fought hard – for decades and decades – to make progress for women.

We fought alongside legislative Republican leaders like Sherry Huber and Joe Sewall and David Huber.

The history of this fight for women’s health care, well it’s a history I was proud to take part in – from co-founding the Maine Women’s

Lobby when it was clear that women’s voices were not being heard in Augusta.

To standing up to those who would harass, intimidate, and block women from going to a Planned Parenthood clinic.

To advocating for legislation to make safe abortion available as a choice to women across Maine, in rural or under-served areas, regardless of a person’s zip code, regardless of income.

We came a long way – until this week.

The struggle is far from over and we’ve got to keep fighting.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is a fundamental assault on women’s rights and on reproductive freedom that will do nothing to stop abortion. It will only make abortion less safe and jeopardize the lives of women across the nation.

In this state, I promise to defend the right to reproductive health care with everything I have, and I pledge to the people of Maine that, as long as I am Governor, my veto pen will stand in the way of any and all efforts to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine.

Because unlike the majority of the United States Supreme Court, I do not consider the rights of women to be dispensable.

I stand with the people of Maine — to honor their choices — including the choice for reproductive freedom and health.

This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.