As Supreme Court Decides Future of Roe v. Wade, Speaker Fecteau Expresses Support for Reproductive Healthcare Access for All.
AUGUSTA, ME and WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, a network of state legislators working to advance reproductive health, rights, and justice organized an amicus brief in support of legal abortion in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court case likely to decide the future of reproductive freedom in the United States. The brief, signed by 897 state legislators, including Speaker Ryan Fecteau of Biddeford, represents the strongest showing ever recorded of state legislators supporting legal abortion nationwide.
The Mississippi law at the heart of the case banned abortion services after 15 weeks of pregnancy — well before the 24-week precedent established by Roe v. Wade. Despite multiple lower courts’ rulings that the law was blatantly unconstitutional, the Supreme Court agreed to hold oral arguments to determine whether all pre-viability abortion bans are constitutional. In their amicus brief, state legislators argue that the Court’s failure to uphold the rule of law and precedent would result in disastrous consequences for women seeking abortions, as well as for their families.
“Texas is showing us what a world without Roe looks like — one where wealthier people can travel to get reproductive care while poorer people are stripped of their rights. We can’t let that happen. I am proud to join hundreds of lawmakers in this fight.” said Speaker Ryan Fecteau. “Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block Texas’s S.B. 8, the draconian law that ends almost all abortion access in the state of Texas. In failing to stand by its own legal precedent, the Court has opened the floodgates for a total rollback of Roe v. Wade in this country. Mainers overwhelmingly stand behind a woman’s right to make healthcare decisions with her doctor. We believe every person should be able to make decisions about pregnancy and parenting and be able to carry and deliver a pregnancy free from fear and government control.”
Arguments in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization will come on the heels of Texas enacting a law that effectively bans all abortions in the state after six weeks of pregnancy and emboldens any citizen to surveil and harass virtually anyone under vigilante claims of noncompliance. The Texas law is just one of nearly 600 abortion restriction bills introduced in 2021—the worst year for state legislative attacks on abortion since the Roe decision. In Maine, six bills to restrict a woman’s right to choose were presented in 2021. None were passed. Many more restrictions are expected, as several state officials have indicated they are looking to mimic the Texas law in their own states.
“State legislators are the first line of defense against policies that deliberately roll back progress on abortion rights and reproductive health across the country, and the overwhelming majority of the public agrees we must protect Roe v. Wade,” said Jennifer Driver, Senior Director of Reproductive Rights at SiX. “With this amicus brief, nearly 900 legislators are sending the Supreme Court a clear message: we cannot go back. You must uphold 50 years of legal abortion in all 50 states.”
Public sentiment is overwhelmingly in favor of keeping Roe, according to a recent Data for Progress poll, with 60% in favor and 23% against. By a 2–1 margin, voters also strongly disapprove of allowing citizens to sue individuals they suspect of helping someone get an abortion—the cornerstone of the Texas bill.